NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                                JULY 2016

Market for Water used in Power Plants is Large and Fast Growing

Power plants extract and discharge more water than municipalities and industry combined. Water shortages and environmental regulations are opening a large market for many different technologies. The opportunities can be divided into three segments:

  • Water delivery
  • Water discharge
  • Water avoidance

Water Delivery:  The need to utilize alternative water sources presents a several billion dollar per year opportunity for:

  • Desalination:  A number of Chinese and Indian power plants have already incorporated desalinated water for cooling and boiler feedwater. Combined power and desalination plants already provide both municipal drinking water and power for many areas in the Middle East.
  • Use of treated municipal wastewater: Most power plants are within 100 miles of municipal wastewater plants.  With additional treatment this source is ideal for power plant needs.

Water discharge:  Zero liquid discharge (ZLD) is mandated for new power plants in China and is being evaluated for all new plants in water stressed regions.  In some areas, with plentiful water supply, ZLD has been chosen as a way to avoid delays in obtaining water discharge permits.

Regulations are tightening for plants which are discharging wastewater.  U.S. power plants have to meet new Emission Limit Guidelines (ELG).  The retrofit of scrubbers in the U.S., China and elsewhere has created new wastewater treatment challenges.

Water avoidance:   The steam plumes emanating from the stacks and cooling towers of plants are not only testimony to water loss but to inefficiency.  District heating is an alternative which can nearly double power plant efficiency. More modest efforts such as placement of the Blue Flint ethanol plant at one of the Great Rivers Energy power plants need to be explored.

Recirculated water for cooling towers results in a big reduction in water consumption versus once- through water.  The problem is the net water loss through evaporation. Dry cooling eliminates the water loss but requires considerable energy.  It is not practical in warm climates.

Initiatives to improve power plant efficiency have a direct effect on water consumption per unit of energy produced.  McIlvaine is conducting webinars on greater heat recovery from flue gas with more efficient air preheaters and the use of high temperature particulate removal to allow for the use of more efficient heat exchangers.

These opportunities need to be addressed on a plant by plant basis.  A number of Indian power plants have immediate needs. Adani Power has shut down five units of 660 MW capacity at the Tiroda plant in Maharashtra due to an acute water shortage. The 2100 MW coal-fired Farakka power station in West Bengal shut down its six turbines due to lack of water. The 1720 MW Raichur Thermal Power Station in Karnataka state has been hit by lack of water also. Since March 15, it has had to shut down several of its units indefinitely. The 1130 MW Parli power station in Maharashtra state has been shut down since July 2015 due to lack of water. NTPC's Solapur power plant is facing commissioning delays due in part to uncertainty over water supplies. In Karnataka's Krishna Basin, NTPC's Kudgi power plant and KPCL's Raichur power plant were affected by lack of water this summer.

Individual coal-fired power plant opportunities are tracked in two services:  42EI Utility Tracking System tracks all projects worldwide except China where projects are tracked in 42EIC Chinese Utility Plans.  Gas turbine projects are tracked in 59EI Gas Turbine and Combined Cycle Supplier Program.  Biomass, hydro and geothermal projects are tracked in N042 Renewable Energy World Markets.  The market opportunity is also addressed in a number of multi client market research reports Markets. End users are aided by the following services 44I Power Plant Air Quality DecisionsGas Turbine and Combined Cycle Decisions, Decision Guides.