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Showing posts with label power tariff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label power tariff. Show all posts

Friday, August 31, 2012

Indian black out and aftermath

The largest power outage that affected 650 million people in India recently was a major news around the world. Power outage is common in many countries including industrialized countries during the times of natural disasters such as cyclones, typhoons and flooding. But the power outage that happened in India was purely man-made. It was not just an accident but a culmination of series of failures as the result of many years of negligence, incompetency and wrong policies. Supplying an uninterrupted power for a democratic country like India with 1.2 billion people with 5-8% annual economic growth, mostly run by Governments of various political parties in various states is by no means an easy task. While one can understand the complexities of the problems involved in power generation and distribution, there are certain fundamental rules that can be followed to avoid such recurrence. The supply and demand gap for power in India is increasing at an accelerated rate due to economic growth but the power generation and distribution capacity do not match this growth. Most of the power infrastructures in India are owned by Governments who control the power generation, distribution, operation and maintenance, financing power projects, supplying power generation equipments, supplying consumables, supplying fuel, transportation of fuel and revenue collection. The entire system is based on the policy of ‘socialistic democracy’, after the independence from the British, though economic liberalization and globalization is relatively a new phenomenon in India. Since every department of power infrastructure is controlled by Government, there is a lack of accountability and competition. Many private companies and foreign companies do not participate in tendering process because it is a futile exercise. Some smart multinational companies set up their manufacturing facilities in India, often in collaboration with Governments in order to get an entry into one of the largest market in the world. Indigenous Coal is the dominant fuel widely used for power generation though the quality of coal is very low, with ash content as high as 30%.The calorific value of such coal hardly exceeds 3000 kcal/kg, which means more quantity of coal is required than any other fuel to generate same amount of power. Such coal generates not only low power but also generates huge amount of ‘fly ash’ (the ash content is the coal comes out as fly ash) causing pollution and waste disposal problems. Large piles of fly ash and age old cooling towers with a large pool of stagnant water are common sights in many power plants in India. Such low cost coal does not make any economic sense when considering the amount of fly ash disposal cost and environmental damages. Thanks to research institutions that have developed methods to utilize fly ash in production of Portland cement. The indigenous low grade coal is the fuel of choice by Indian power industries, though many plants have started importing coal recently from Indonesia and South Africa. Indigenous low grade coal and cooling water from rivers and underground sources are two major pollutants in India. Water is allocated for power plants at the cost of agriculture. There is a shortage of drinking water in many cities as well as irrigation water for agriculture. Since most of the power infrastructures are owned by Governments there is a tendency to adopt populace policies such as power subsidies, free water and power for farmers, low power tariffs etc, making such projects economically unviable in the long run. Most of the State Electricity boards in India are running at a loss and such accumulated losses amount to staggering figures. The Central electricity authority regulates the power tariff. They calculate the cost of power generation based on specific fuel and fix the power tariff that companies can charge their consumers even before the plant is set up. Most of such tariffs are based on their past experience using indigenous low grade coal and transport cost which are often impractical. Such low power tariffs are not remunerative for private companies and many foreign companies do not invest in large capital intensive power projects in India for the same reason. The best option for the Governments to solve energy problems in India will be to open to foreign investments and allow latest technologies in power generation and distribution. It is up to the investing companies to decide the right type of fuel, right type of equipments, source and procurement, power technology to be adopted and finally the tariff. India has come a long way since independence and Governments should focus on Governing rather than managing and controlling infrastructure projects. The latest scam widely debated in Indian media is 'Coal scam’. It is time India moves away from fossil fuel and allow foreign investments and technologies in renewable energy projects freely without any interference. India needs large investments in building power and water infrastructures and it will be possible to attract foreign investment only by infusing confidence in investing companies. It is not just the size of the market that is to be attractive for investors but they also need a conducive, fair and friendly environment for such investment.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Solar panel to generate Hydrogen

Photovoltaic solar energy is becoming popular as a source of clean energy and an alternative to fossil fuels to combat climate change. Though the initial cost is expensive people have started realizing the potential of PV solar as a real alternative to grid power, especially when they can export surplus power to the grid and earn some revenue. It is a source of income for potential investors as the energy cost keeps rising steadily. The cost of solar panels, batteries and inverters are slowly coming down as the systems get more popular and more competition is created in the market. However, during cloudy days or when the solar hours are less, the power generation by solar panels is considerably low. Moreover, the ‘power in tariff ‘ system is not available in many countries especially in developing countries. Therefore, energy storage becomes an issue. Lead acid batteries serve as storage devices for smaller applications but it becomes expensive for lager systems. Operation and maintenance, replacement and waste disposal are some of the issues with battery storage. Generating Hydrogen onsite using solar power and storing Hydrogen under pressure in a tank is the best method of storing solar energy. The stored Hydrogen can be used to generate power using a Fuel cell as and when we need power. However, the amount of energy required to convert water into Hydrogen using Alkaline Electrolyzer or Solid Polymer Electrolyzer is still high, averaging 5-7 kwhrs/m3.When you calculate the economics of Hydrogen storage versus battery storage using a computer modeling for a stand alone system, it is clear that Hydrogen storage is more economical and also guarantees an uninterrupted power supply using a Fuel cell. One US company has developed a Carbon doped Titanium oxide nanopowder visible light photo catalyst to generates Hydrogen using sun’s light energy. The company claims that it consumes only one third of the power consumed by PEM Electrolyzer or half of an Alkaline Electrolyzer.It can be easily installed at roof tops and it can generate Hydrogen even at one third of sunlight because it can effectively use short UV light and blue wave length of suns light because these energetic wavelengths penetrate cloud cover more effectively than the rest of sunlight. A 2mm modular solar panel can be installed on roof top or installed in multi-acre field installations. Even during the absence of sunlight the company claims it can use grid power to generate Hydrogen using its hybrid integral (MMO) Mixed metal oxide Titanium anode as efficiently as PEM Electrolyzer. While a PEM electrolyzer generates about 1.3kg Hydrogen from a power input of 100Kwhrs, this model can generate about 2.5kg Hydrogen using MMO + TiO2 anode and about 3.8kg using TiO2 alone. (Based on higher heating value of Hydrogen at 39.4 kwhrs/kg).The panel consuming 26.7kwhr power at 1.0Volt DC current at Anode can generate 1.25kg Hydrogen with Electrolysis electrical efficiency at 148%. This will make Hydrogen fuel a commercial reality because it will consume only 21.36 kwhrs of Dc power to generate 1 Kg Hydrogen. The generated Hydrogen can generate about 15 Kw power using a Fuel cell. This is an elegant solution to generate and store power using sun’s light than Photovoltaic power.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Air-condition your premises with engine exhaust and solar hot water

Do you use a generator that runs on diesel or gas to power your business due to frequent power outage from the grid? Are you running an air-conditioner with the grid power? Then you must look for waste heat recovery system to improve your energy efficiency and save your fuel cost. You can also use roof top solar hot water to supplement waste heat recovery. The savings may be substantial and you may be able to recover your investment in a short period of time and also contribute for the reduction of greenhouse emissions. The diesel or gas engine converts only maximum 30% of fuel input in the form of thermal energy into mechanical energy to run your generator, and the balance heat is wasted in the form of greenhouse gas. You can recover this heat and increase the efficiency of the system. This means for the same amount of diesel used, you will get much higher output in the form of heating or cooling or in the form of additional electricity. The exhaust temperature from a gas engine is about 420C.You can also recover additional heat from jacket cooling. Let us assume that you have a natural gas fired engine to generate 100kw electricity for the premises. The efficiency of such spark ignited reciprocating gas engines are typically about 30%, which means a natural gas input of 1.145 mm Btu/hr. Let us assume the cost of piped natural gas at $10 per mm Btu; the fuel cost will be about $ 11.45/hr. The exhaust heat from the engine will be about 801,500 Btu/hr; with waste heat recovery efficiency at 75%, the heat recovery will be 601,125 Btu/hr.You can air-condition premises with an area of 35-40 square meters using this recovered waste heat. If you use grid power at the rate of $0.10/kwhr, to run the air conditioning system for the above area, you will be spending about 30,000kwhrs of electricity per month, costing about $ 3000 per month. By installing an absorption chiller to air-condition your premises using engine exhaust heat, you will be saving about $36,000 per year towards air-conditioning. The air-conditioning system may cost about $130,000, and with the above savings you will be able to get a return on your investment in less than 3 years. If you have a roof-top solar water heater then you can supplement it with your engine exhaust heat water so that the capacity of the air-conditioning can be increased. It is one of the best methods by which an energy efficiency of a fossil felled engine can be increased. If the capacity of the engine is much higher, there are other methods by which the efficiency can be increased. For example, the hot water from the exhaust system can be used to generate some extra power using an ORC, organic Rankin cycle. It is similar to a steam turbine. An organic liquid with low boiling point will be evaporated into vapor by a low heat source such as hot water from engine exhaust, which runs a turbine, generating some additional power and condensing back into the liquid, and then the cycle continues. You will be able to generate an additional electricity of about 15-18% making the total electrical efficiency of the system to 45-50%, which is similar to a Fuel cell system, but at a much lower cost. Heat recovery system with an absorption chilling and using low heat source to generate additional power using ORC, are best methods to improve energy efficiency of an existing system with little investment. The purpose of such integration is to increase the energy efficiency of the existing system, so that you will be getting more output of energy from the same input of fuel.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Beat the heat with Solar

Are you wondering how to beat the heat in this summer, especially with power outage and blackouts, when everybody turns on their airconditioners? The grid fails with overloading, when all the air conditioners are switched on simultaneously, in a city. The situation is worst, when the grid fails and nobody has got power. This can be detrimental for IT companies, call centers, hospitals, hotels, schools supermarkets, continuous process industries, and even homes. Why not use a hybrid chiller, that runs both with solar as well as with electricity or gas? It can also be used with diesel power generators with waste heat recovery system. It is economical, reliable and flexible, and it makes sense for business and industry. Air-conditioners are major power consumers in tropical countries, where power outages are common and frequent. It directly affects the production, sales and profitability of a business. Hybrid air- conditioners are not available off the shelves in stores, but should be specifically designed and installed to meet your specific requirements. It depends on the country, location, power situation, number of sunny days in a year and Government regulations. There are business and industries that will use a substantial power for their air-conditioners. It is absolutely essential to maintain a comfortable ambience for a good working environment and productivity. In order to reduce your energy bills, you can plan to install a hybrid chiller. At least part of the load can be shared by PV solar power and hot water that can be installed on your roof top. If you have a diesel or gas fired engine or standby power generator, the engine jacket and exhaust cooling water can be supplemented with hot water. Hybrid chiller uses both an absorption chiller as well as an electric chiller. It offers flexibility to optimize the utilization of your cooling plant. A combination of solar hot water, waste heat from engines and off-peak power tariffs are taken into account while designing the system in such a way, the customer get the best economic outcome. During peak hours when grid power is in great demand and costs more money, the system will use solar hot water and gas heated hot water to run the absorption chiller, while eclectic chiller will take advantage of off-peak electrical power with lowest tariff, during night times. Hybrid systems can be installed with least disruption to your existing activities so that there will be no production or man-hour loss. Hybrid chiller is ideal for business and industries located in countries where government assistance is available, for renewable energy projects, by way of subsidies, cabon credit or other incentives. We will be presenting a case study in my future articles for small hybrid chiller installations. Companies interested in exploring this opportunity may contact us by sending an email, with all relevant informations, so that we can suggest you a proposal with costing and feasibility study. I encourage business and industries whose energy monthly bills are high with substantial portion towards air-conditioning, to contact us by email at this website. You will also be eligible for carbon credit to the extend you save your greenhouse gas emission!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Power your home with sun and water

Is it really possible, to power your home, with just sun and water? It sounds very simple and a perfect solution, for our energy hungry world. It is true, and it is possible, to generate your own electricity, for all your home needs, without depending upon the grid power. Even when, there is no sun for a week! Let us see how, this is possible. Photovoltaic (PV) solar, is getting popular, and many Governments in developed countries, subsidies the cost of solar panels, and also buy surplus power, at a higher tariff, than the grid power tariff.Goverments are doing this, to encourage more and more people, to opt for solar energy, a cleaner form of energy. Currently, solar panels are set up on roof tops, and the solar energy is used to power your appliances, and the surplus power, exported to the grid. At times of shortage, the power from the grid is drawn, to meet your home requirements. When you import power from the grid, the energy meter revolves in clock wise direction. When you export power to the grid, the energy meter, runs in anti-clockwise direction, indicating the export of surplus power to the grid. At the end of the month, you calculate the net power exported or imported, and accordingly collect the revenue from the Government based on fixed tariff, or pay to the Government based on their bill. But there is a catch! Power distribution companies distribute power, to consumers, at variable tariff, such as peak power and off peak power. The tariffs are high, during peak periods, and lower at off-peak periods. Solar system generates more power when the sun is bright, and generates less power during cloudy times. One should be able to generate solar power when the sun is bright, use it during the peak period. But grid tariff is at peak normally during the daytime, between 9 and 5. And lower at night time, between 6pm to 6am. Therefore, one should be able to generate power during bright sun shine, and use it during peak period. That means you should be able to generate your required power during the daytime, and use them in the night, because you don’t use much power, during daytime. How to overcome this anomalous situation, and still to meet your hundred percent power requirement at home? We can offer you a system that will generate power, while the sun shines. This power will generate Hydrogen gas, from pure water, and store it under pressure. Stored Hydrogen is your stored energy. It is like your overhead water tank. You can pump water and store it in the overhead tank, and use it, whenever you need it. But, your solar generated electricity cannot be stored in this way. You can store it, in a battery bank. But, these lead acid batteries are heavy, it requires regular maintenance, you cannot draw stored power from the battery more than 80% of its stored capacity, and finally, batteries have certain life span, usually 3-5 years, when it has to be substituted, with new batteries. If you calculate, the economics of solar system for its whole life cycle of say 10-15 years, including all battery replacements and maintenance cost, the initial investment will be high. In spite of all these expenses, one cannot guarantee with uninterrupted supply of power, to your home. But, you can store Hydrogen gas, any quantity, without any loss. You can generate your own electricity, using this stored Hydrogen, as and when, you require. You can still export your surplus power to the grid, and also meet all your power needs, even during peak periods! The overall cost of the system is higher, than solar grid connects system but it will offer you, an uninterrupted power, throughout the year. You will be eligible for carbon credit, and your system will earn you money, as you relax at home, with no worries about mounting power bills! The cost of energy keeps rising, as the oil prices go up. You may even be able to generate and store more Hydrogen, to fuel you car, like Honda FCX.Hydrogen solution is the solution of the future. We can design, engineer and install a system to meet your specific needs. Of course, we need to study your specific requirement, and suitability of your location.