Where is India's First lignite-based 500 MW Thermal Unit located?

BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.) on December 24, 2019, commissioned the first lignite-based 500 MW thermal unit of the 2*500 MW Neyveli New Thermal Power Project in Tamil Nadu.
Created On: Jan 6, 2020 16:16 IST
Modified On: Jan 21, 2020 17:11 IST
First lignite based power plant
First lignite based power plant

State-run BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.) on December 24, 2019, commissioned the first lignite-based 500 MW thermal unit of the 2*500 MW Neyveli New Thermal Power Project in Tamil Nadu. According to the company, it is also the highest rating pulverized lignite-fired thermal unit commissioned so far in the country. For the first time in the country, Once-Through and Tower Type Boiler design are adopted for a lignite-based thermal unit. The second unit of the project is also in an advanced stage of commissioning. 

This plant is located in the Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu and is owned by NLCIL (NLC India Ltd.).  NLC has placed orders regarding a Boiler, Turbine and Generator package or BTG package for the two units with BHEL. 

BHEL’s scope of work includes design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection, testing and commissioning along with associated civil works of BTG (Boiler, turbine, and generator) and associated auxiliaries along with electricals. 

The equipment for the project has been manufactured by the BHEL at Haridwar, Tiruchi, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Ranipet, and Bengaluru. The company’s Power Sector has undertaken the construction of this project in the Southern region at Chennai. 

What’s special in the lignite-based thermal unit?

Indian coal reserves originate from organic wood. This coal is created when a large number of the treasury in sediments, woods are burnt and decompose because of heat from below and pressure from above. This is the coal making phenomena and it takes centuries to form coal.

Types of Coal in Indian Coal Reserves:

  1. Anthracite
  2. Bituminous
  3. Lignite
  4. Peat

1- Anthracite: Premium quality of coal and contains 80%-95% Carbon content. It has the highest calorific value and ignites slowly with a blue flame. This coal is found in Jammu and Kashmir that too in very small quantity. China is the largest number of Anthracite producers in the world. Russia, the US, UK, Australia, etc. are some other producers after China. 

2- Bituminous: After Anthracite, this is the best quality of coal containing 60%-80% Carbon content with a low level of moisture too. It has a high calorific value. This coal is found in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh. 

3- Lignite: It is commonly known as ‘Brown Coal’ containing 40%-55% Carbon content. This quality of coal is an intermediate stage that happens when the woody matter turns into coal. It has a high moisture content thus it emits smoke when burnt. It is found in Rajasthan, Assam and Tamil Nadu. 

4- Peat: Worst quality of coal containing 40% Carbon content. It is the first stage of transformation from wood to coal. It has low calorific value and it burns the same as wood. 

Why Lignite is chosen? 

As the demand for energy is increasing and keeping in view the unavailability of coal deposits, transportation costs, problems faced in the transportation of coal from far off coal fields; the lignite deposits available in the country are the best available options economically. It is the best alternative to not only for the thermal power generation but also for the cement industries, textile industries, etc. 

Previously, BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.) has successfully delivered higher-rated units of 600MW, 660MW, 700MW, and 800MW thermal sets with a high degree of indigenization. Globally, the company has an installed base of over 1.85 lakh MW of power plant equipment. 

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