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FDCUI to invest P30-B in energy sector in MisOr

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The Filinvest Development Corp. Utilities, Inc. (FDCUI) will be investing P30 billion to the energy sector in Mindanao by putting up its own 405-MegaWatt circulating fluidized bed (CFB) coal-fired thermal power plant in an 84-hectare area within the Phividec Industrial Estate in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.

The plant, which will be in operation for the next 25 years, will source 80 percent of its coal requirement abroad and 20% from local coal mines, said Ana Margarita “Miren” Sanchez, FDCUI corporate communications manager.

Sanchez said that while FDCUI strongly believes in renewable sources of energy, it chose to invest in a coal-fired power plant “despite the many challenges from many groups” because (1) coal-fired power plant has short construction period; (2) it is the most feasible at present; and (3) coal is readily available.

“We cannot rely for a long time on fossil fuels. We should use renewable energy where there is available. But we should take advantage of what is available now, and that is coal. In the Philippines, technology to harness renewable sources of energy is still financially prohibitive and we cannot wait any longer to address the energy crisis in our country, especially here in Mindanao,” she said.

As of 2012, Mindanao had an energy shortfall of 92 MegaWatts, which is projected to increase to a shortfall of 121 MW by 2016 “even with committed utilities on board.”

The Misamis Oriental 3×135 MW CFB Coal-Fired Thermal Power Project, to be set up by FDCUI and FDC Misamis Power Corp., will be using the Rankine Cycle Thermal Plant with CFB combustion technology boiler for a more efficient use of coal.

The advantages of using CFB compared to the traditional coal-fired power plant like Steag’s is that CFB “doesn’t have to operate on very high temperature of 800 to 850 degrees to generate electricity.”

“High heat generates elements that can contribute to acid rain,” Sanchez said.

Also, the plant’s boiler is designed to allow limestone to be injected to capture sulphur and convert this into calcium sulphate.

“The system also effectively captures sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) at 95% efficiency rate, aside from eliminating fugitive coal dust,” she added.

Sanchez explained that the rankine cycle system was chosen because FDCUI is committed to protecting the integrity of the environment.

In the Rankine cycle system, also known as Rankine thermodynamic cycle, the steam is produced by the boiler, where water pumped into the boiler (“feedwater”) passes through a series of tubes to capture heat released by coal combustion and then boils under high pressure to become superheated steam. The superheated steam leaving the boiler then enters the steam turbine throttle, where it powers the turbine and connected generator to make electricity. After the steam expands through the turbine, it exits the back end of the turbine into the surface condenser, where it is cooled and condensed back to water. This condensate is then returned to the boiler through high-pressure feed pumps for reuse.

Heat from the condensing steam is normally rejected to cooling water circulated through the condenser which then goes to a surface water body, such as a river, or to an on-site cooling tower.

“As a plant, it will certainly generate CO2 and we don’t want to add to the CO2 in the atmosphere,” she stressed, adding that the system uses the “clean coal technology.”

“Clean coal technology is proven worldwide as safe and efficient,” she explained while showing pictures of CFB coal-fired power plant sitting right next to shopping malls in Taiwan and other places.

The first and second units of the plant are scheduled to start operation in 2016 while the third unit is scheduled in 2018.

As of press time, FDC Misamis Power Corp./FDCUI is in the process of finalizing electricity power purchase agreements (EPPAs) with several Mindanao electric cooperatives. (Bong D. Fabe)