NTPC’s pollution-control plans gather pace, entail huge capex

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on July 16, 2019 Published on July 16, 2019

Power sector giant NTPC’s plans to install emission-control equipment at its 38 power plants (with combined capacity of 65,350 MW) could take up to four years to materialise, with an average expenditure of ₹50-70 lakh per MW, senior company officials said.

Though the capital outlay is huge from NTPC’s perspective, it also represents a good opportunity for pollution-control equipment suppliers.

At present, the adoption of flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD) technology, which controls pollution, is at various stages of implementation within the NTPC group.

Once installed, the FGD unit will facilitate 100 per cent flue-gas treatment, limiting the sulphur content to a maximum of 0.49 per cent in the flared gases.

Tech requirements

Senior NTPC officials told BusinessLine that pollution-control equipment based on technologies such as FGD, do not come cheap.

The equipment also require space, which the older plants of the company may not have.

Hence, these require some amount of retrofitting before the equipment based on the FGD technology could be installed, the officials said.

In newer facilities such as the one in Khargone, Madhya Pradesh, the FGD equipment will be deployed by 2021.

The equipment is being provided by a large Japanese company.

The quest to install FGD and other pollution-control equipment by NTPC and other power companies started way back on August 25, 2014 when the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest, issued a notification revising the targets for emissions control.

But the Ministry was overambitious in its targets, and therefore, it has taken over five years to implement the notification. Other countries have also attempted to control flue-gas pollution by innovative practices such as pumping it in geological reservoirs, but they have not moved beyond lab scale, the official said.

NTPC commissioned its first-ever FGD equipment at its 4,760-MW Vindhyachal power plant in 2017, at a cost of ₹210 crore.

Published on July 16, 2019
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