Quest for Efficiency:
MAPNA launches combined cycle conversion campaign

MAPNA launches combined cycle conversion campaign

It is hard to imagine a world with no electricity. From personal gadgets like cellphones and laptops to home appliances such as washing machines, large-scale infrastructure such as the rail transportation network with its trains and signaling systems, hospitals with their complicated medical equipment and industrial complexes with their production lines; electricity drives our lives forward. Our social life and economic development would stifle without electric power.
According to the latest figures on Iran’s power sector, the aggregate nominal capacity of Iran’s power plants of all types -e.g. thermal, hydro, and renewable- is over 78 thousand megawatts. The actual power generation of these plants, that is, power generated in real conditions, approximates 60 thousand megawatts, which positions Iran at the 15th place in the global ranking in terms of power capacity. The significance of the number becomes clear if we know that in 1993, at the onset of MAPNA’s establishment, Iran’s nominal capacity was only 18 thousand megawatts. Interestingly, the main portion of this added capacity has been generated by domestic companies.
While the facts and figures are heartwarming, Iran’s power industry is not going to stop at this point. Besides the introduction of new technologies and shifting economic calculus, environmental concerns such as the necessity of enhanced & improved oil recovery (EOR/IOR) and reducing energy waste during the conversion process are factors which push the power sector, not only in Iran but also at the international level, towards a ceaseless quest for optimization of productivity rate in power generation; in other words, to obtain more power with lower cost and less pollution.
Of the 78 thousand megawatts of nominal power capacity that Iran is boasting, 60 percent belongs to simple cycle thermal power plants. What happens in simple cycle plants is that we burn the fuel, convert part of the generated heat into power, and discharge the remaining heat –the ‘exhaust’. But if we turn this simple cycle into a combined cycle, that is, instead of releasing the 500 °C exhaust into the air, retain it in the power plant and squeeze its energy in a second round, then, with minimal additional cost, we can add 14 thousand megawatts to Iran’s power capacity.
Converting simple cycle power plants into combined cycle plants is among the most efficient methods for increasing the productivity rate of thermal power plants. Say that we supplement two operating 159-MW gas turbines by adding a 160-MW steam turbine and set up a full combined cycle block. That way, we can increase the plant’s productivity rate from 34% to 50% with no need to burn additional fuel.
At first glance, combined cycle power plants may appear unattractive due to the higher cost and longer duration of their construction. But looking at their long-term benefits, i.e. higher productivity, availability and power generation, and lower pollution, it becomes obvious that combined cycle power plants are far more effective, both economically and environmentally.
Looking from domestic economy angle, there is another edge to combined cycle power plants: Iran’s power industry is virtually self-sufficient, able to manufacture steam turbines, HRSGs, generators, electric and control systems, construct advanced utilities, install power equipment, operate plants, provide services and procure spare parts. Thus, the conversion campaign can be a boost to Iran’s power industry.
As you are reading this, MAPNA Group engineers are constructing the steam portion in three of the thermal power plants owned by the company: Asaluyeh, Parand, and Tous. All the main equipment for these projects have been manufactured by MAPNA. Construction is also carried out in partnership between MAPNA Group subsidiaries and domestic subcontractors. MAPNA Group’s partnership with internationally renowned companies to manufacture F-class gas turbines, and also steam turbines with capacities between 5 and 850 MWs means that MAPNA owns the tools necessary for carrying out the mission to convert simple cycle power plants into combined cycle power plants and enhance the productivity and capacity of Iran’s power sector; a golden opportunity that helps the country to meet increasing demands of a growing economy for the next 4 to 5 years with no need to consume additional fuel.