NEWS RELEASE                                                                                           JANUARY 2014

Coal-fired Power Plants Will Spend Just Under $1 Trillion for Products and Services In 2014

Despite the popularity of alternatives, coal-fired power will continue to be the leading type of power generation in the near term. This year coal-fired power plants will spend $390 billion for new facilities and $579 billion for upgrades, repairs and replacements. This results in a total expenditure of $969 billion. Each of the thousands of projects and power plants which will be spending this money are identified in two McIlvaine publications, Utility Tracking System and Chinese Utility Plans. The reason that China is singled out separately is that its purchases will equal those of the other countries combined.

Expenditures for new power plants are made in advance of the date of start-up. So, by viewing the value of power plants starting up in 2017, one gains perspective on the 2014 outlays. Asia will dominate the market for new coal-fired power plants. 

New Coal-fired Boilers Starting Up in 2017

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All of these power plants will have expensive combustion systems including fans, furnaces, heat exchangers, coal handling and ash removal. Most units will be supercriticals. with high pressures and temperatures.

All will have elaborate water treatment and steam cycle systems. Most will have reverse osmosis membrane systems following several pre-treatment steps including electrodeionization or ion-exchange. Sophisticated valves and pumps will be needed to cope with the extreme conditions in the steam cycle. Wastewater systems are becoming increasingly complex to meet the discharge limits set by most countries.

Some units will use seawater on a once-through basis for cooling. Others will use cooling towers and recycle most of the water. This will require filtration and pumping expenditures. In the drought prone areas, dry cooling will be used. This will result in significant expenditures for fans.

Over 80 percent of the new units will incorporate both flue gas desulfurization and DeNOx. The complexity of the iteration between combustion goals and air pollution control goals will require extensive optimization, automation and control systems.

Expenditures at existing power plants will be close to $600 billion in 2014. This includes major environmental upgrades in the U.S., Eastern Europe and, particularly, China.

Expenditures at Existing Plants in 2014 Based On the 2013 Installed Base

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Western Europe will continue to move toward biomass co-firing and optimization of existing power plants to reduce CO2 emissions. A coal-fired boiler which is converted from subcritical to supercritical operation can reduce greenhouse gases by as much as 20 percent.

Ongoing environmental expenses include reagents such as lime, limestone and ammonia. A number of SCR systems in the U.S. and Europe have been in operation for many years. Catalyst is replaced every 3-5 years, but there are other expenditures which accelerate with age.   A minority of the installations use fabric filters for particulate control. New bags are required on a 4-5 year cycle. New belts are required for the gypsum dewatering on a 1-2 year cycle.

Water treatment chemical expenditures are significant. They are used to prevent scaling and corrosion and to enhance separation processes. Seals and packing in the pumps and valves must be replaced regularly due to the extreme conditions found in the steam cycle.

The political and regulatory road blocks to the construction of new coal-fired power plants are creating a very large market for products and services at existing power plants.

For more information on:

Utility Tracking System, click on:

Chinese Utility Plans, click on: