Thailand's first supercritical power plant is major boost to country

New plant will add 50% to national capacity. Designers select Honeywell's Experion control platform for boiler and balance of plant.


A new supercritical coal-fired power plant currently under construction in Map ta Phut, Rayong, Thailand, will add 50% to the nation's generating capacity. When it comes on line in 2011, the 660 MW plant will be operated by Gheco-One Ltd, an independent power producer (IPP) affiliate of Glow Group, a Thailand-based group of companies that supply electricity and steam.

Honeywell Process Solutions has announced that its Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) has been selected to control operations for the new facility. This plant is typical of a new generation of coal-fired boilers that use supercritical designs to minimize environmental impact and reduce fuel consumption. Supercritical boilers produce power more efficiently than standard subcritical boilers because they operate with startup valves and waterwall pressure controls, as opposed to drum-level controls. However, because they operate at higher pressures and higher temperatures, a responsive and reliable control system is needed to protect against spurious boiler trips that can lead to safety incidents and equipment damage.

"Supply reliability and production efficiency are key objectives for Gheco-One because maintaining customer trust is paramount," said CI Choi, senior manager at Doosan Heavy Industries, the main project contractor. "We selected Experion for this project because it is a proven control platform used at hundreds of sites around the world with a strong track record for safety and reliability, and for improving production efficiency."

Honeywell says Experion is its flagship control and automation platform for process industries. It can improve overall plant safety, reliability, and efficiency by integrating with various subsystems such as process control, asset management, and safety systems. Through this integration, Experion provides the most-relevant information to the right people at the right time, and helps operators make better decisions in the control room. Gheco-One operators will use Experion to control the Map ta Phut facility's boiler operations, as well as the balance of the plant.

"Enhanced system efficiency is one of the biggest demands in plants today because it greatly impacts the overall business' bottom line," said H. Han, domestic business leader at Honeywell Korea. He adds that Experion can help reduce raw material costs with optimized control capabilities, which is critical to Gheco-One's objective of producing energy with minimal fuel consumption.

Also read Supercritical Control for a discussion of strategies for supercritical boilers.

-Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor,
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