An Evaluation Of New Soma Deniş Thermal Power Plant (2×255 MWe) – OpEd


As an investor venturing into the establishment of a cutting-edge thermal power plant utilizing Soma Deniş coal, we would meticulously opt for the time-tested and efficient Soma-B no-5-6 steam boilers, each boasting an impressive capacity of 165 MWe. Taking it a step further, we would elevate this fundamental design by integrating sizable E/P and FGD (Electrostatic Filter and Flue Gas Desulphurization) units, alongside advanced preheating units for coal dewatering. Our vision for the plant’s location would take it to the northeastern section of the mine, situated on untouched, arid treasury land, rather than amidst the northwest forest.

While acknowledging the absence of water in this chosen site, our strategic solution would entail establishing a comprehensive pipeline system to transport water from the nearby available water sources. Additionally, we would prioritize the construction of a state-of-the-art ash pond to ensure sustainable and eco-conscious disposal of waste materials.

However, let’s address the current reality. The power plant has been erected within the northwest forest, sandwiched between the Türkpiyale and Kayrakaltı villages, far from coal sources. Consequently, this has led to challenges in the coal transportation process, necessitating the use of trucks, which undoubtedly impacts overall efficiency. The mismatched CFB design, ill-suited for the high ash content and abundant water characteristics of this particular coal (with approximately 1000-1500 kcal per kg LHV), has resulted in an excessive reliance on fuel oil. Furthermore, the realization of a missing coal preheating unit came too late in the process, leading to its belated construction.

Despite the efforts to keep the power plant operational, it is now running under constrained conditions. Regrettably, the counsel from invited foreign experts has often proven irrelevant and impractical. Compounding the situation, the foreign contractor completed the project and departed, leaving local young engineers to grapple with critical issues, causing substantial operational setbacks.

In light of these challenges, the capacity mechanism and the addition of fuel oil have inadvertently contributed to the inefficiency of the new power plant.

Historically, Turkey has progressed in the field of coal technology with technical support and investments from foreign countries. Naturally, there can be variations in technological and industrial developments among nations. Some countries have invested in coal technologies earlier and are more advanced, while others may have less experience in this area.

However, technological advancements are continuously evolving, and every country can enhance its technological capabilities through original research and development efforts. Turkey, too, can work towards developing its own coal technologies and nurturing local experts. This process can be supported through research and development activities, contributions from universities, private sector support, and government investments.

Instead of comparing ourselves to other countries’ levels of advancement, we can assess our own potential and progress by devising appropriate strategies. By doing so, we can cultivate our own experts in coal technologies and enhance our technological independence.

Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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