Turkey: Eskişehir Alpu Coal Fields And 1080 New Thermal Power Plant – Analysis


According to the MTA 2011 report (by İlker Şengüler) and Eskişehir Anadolu University 2014 Academic Article (by Korhan Usta, Hatice Kutluk), there are two horizontal local lignite coal layers extending underground at depth from 250 to 450 meters in the Eskişehir-Alpu coal basin in the southwest-northeast direction with layer thicknesses range from 0.55 to 31.60 meters.

The amount of proven reserves is about 1.5 billion tons. The upper layer had an average ash content of 36%, sulfur content of 1.87%, moisture content of 36% and an average lower calorific value of 1950 kcal / kg.

In the lower horizontal layer, average ash content is 28%, sulfur content is 1.13%, humidity is 32% and average lower calorific value is 2150 kcal / kg.

It is apparent that Eskisehir-Alpu lignite which is the third biggest lignite basin of Turkey has very important economic value.

Eskişehir Alpu coal fields, currently belonging to Electricity Generation Inc. (EUAS) were covered in the scope of new privatization. With the provision of a 1080 MW power plant, the project will be handed over to the private group which will give the lowest electricity sales price in terms of UD cents per unit kw-hour.

According to the news of the local Dünya (World) newspaper on 28 September 2017 (by reporter Mehmet Kara), the tenderers who will participate in the tender by means of negotiations will compete with the commitment to sell electricity to the EUAŞ at the lowest price. The negotiation procedure shall be implemented by subtracting from the initial sale price and shall be concluded by an open auction to be made by the participation of the prequalified bidders whose bidding negotiation is continued, if deemed necessary by the tender commission.

The deadline for qualification for the privatization of the Eskişehir Alpu coalfields, with the condition of establishing a new 1080 MWe thermal power plant and the transfer of operating rights, was set as January 26, 2018.

Underground coal deposits will be mined, 1080 MWe capacity thermal power plant will be constructed nearby at mine mouth, coal will be enriched here, then  electricity will be produced, then will be sold to national grid, and treasury will give a purchase guarantee. At the privatization administration, the minimum sale price is expected to be around 5-6 US cents / kWh.

Eskişehir Alpu Coal fields privatization tender required TL 25 million in temporary bid bold for the interested parties for the transfer of operating rights.

According to the pre-investment project as developed by EÜAŞ earlier, approximately 116.8 hectares of 1,125 hectares of coal production area are planned, and about 30 hectares of coal stock areas are to be allocated. The thermal power plant will be constructed within the scope of the project with estimated value of US $ 1.8 billion. The total installed capacity is 3 X 360 MWe and the thermal power is 900 X 3 MWt. As the main fuel is the local coal of Eskişehir Alpu underground coal fields for the 1080 MWe Alpu Thermal Power Plant. Approximately 6.3 million tons of domestic coal (lignite) will be burned in the plant annually. When the plant goes into operation, a total of 1 million 950 thousand tons of coal waste will be generated, including 1.6 million tons of base ash and 350,000 tons of gypsum per year. The new plant will be supplied with coal from sector B, covering 1,787 hectares.

In Turkey, with low calorific value of domestic coal, there are thermal power plants with proven designs in long term operation, let us name them. Soma-B # 5-6, Seyitömer # 4, Kangal # 3, Afşin-B.

They are all very good at burning domestic coal, they all proved themselves in 20-30 years long operation. They solved the problem of domestic coal burning, but there may still be in need of new dust filters, and new FGD desulfurization.

Our investors investing in domestic coal have not told us about the results of their investments in China- Korea- Far East designs, plants where most of them bought from Far Eastern companies. We do not have details of their operations as explained in exhibitions in panels at conferences. There are no success stories told. There are no high efficiency, no high availability information. The leaked news are not good. Once a project is realized, the project operation results are generally shared with everyone in public.

There is nothing publicly disclosed about CFB (circulating fluidized bed) domestic coal investments in the last 10 years. There is a deep silence in new plants with most of the domestic coal-burning CFB technology. Nobody explains anything, on thermal power plant operations where billions of dollars are invested. There is no news made public, no information made available. Operation results are not explained, information is not given.

Our explanation is as follows, we have very wet, almost 50-55% water content- domestic coal containing moisture which can not be burned properly without preheating, dehumidification, dewatering systems. In extreme amounts, available wet lignite fuel can not be operated without using high amount of supplementary fuel oil, which means there is a hidden non-operation or failure problem.

New plants have continuous failure in coal feed and ash/ slug removal systems.

Continuous rehabilitation is being done. The systems are completely renewed. ESP Dust filters, FGD flue gas desulfurization systems are not working properly, they are often shut down. However, the plants still continue to work, and hence they pollute the environment.

Far Eastern companies are proposing ready-made (off the shelf) CFB designs, all-in-one solutions, with the cheapest financial packages of their exim banks. Domestic investors, who are influenced by very cheap prices, are convinced. China-Korea-Far East design CFB technology are not suitable for our indigenous coal reserves. Senior management decision makers who make this investment decision are aware of the situation. They keep silent until they retire, they do not make a sound.

The thermal power plant, which will be located at a distance of 40 km from the city center of Eskişehir, may become a real disaster for the Eskisehir city if the environmental equipment would be inadequate, if the project is not carried out under proper international strict tender conditions, if the contractor firm is not strictly regulated by international norms, standards, rules and regulations. An uncontrolled project that has left at the mercy of a Far Eastern contractor who will leave after 2-3 years from the installation of the plant is wrong. The main contractor of this project must be a competent local company that has been tested in the past with proven past references at the same or higher output capacities.

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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