Thursday, August 26, 2010

EnergyLeaks in Sinop

Dear Colleagues,
It is quite difficult to get correct information on energy issues here in our country. Private companies do not wish to release negative information obviously. They wish to advise that they are profitable for their shareholders, environmentally friendly for the general public, prudent in spending, smart in their investment decisions.  On the other hand, public enterprises/ public institutions/ the ministry would like to picture the best available environment, tough in regulations, business friendly for the investors.

Are all these real ?? Not so much. Real world we live in is completely different. If you wish to criticize not so environmentally friendly activities of private as well as public owned/ operated thermal power plants, or dirty applications of deep sea discharge, lack of dust precipitators, pollution of air, water, sea, soil, then they you receive legal warning if it is not intimidation. Please do note that at this time, nobody gets intimidated. Never ever.
We feel that e-group/ internet environments, are a sort of "WikiLeaks" of the virtual world, sort of "EnergyLeaks" of the real world. We need to learn more about EIA reports, more about public enterprises, more about new investments with imported coal firing thermal power plants, their environmental impacts, new privatizations in distribution and electric generation plants, problems of existing power plants. This is not limited to renewable energy, not limited to thermal power plants but also problems in nuclear projects. Since leaks are not reliable, we make our own interpretations until we get sound public announcements.
Do you think that the Nuclear Power plant construction in Sinop Turkey by Koreans will be as fast as Russian plant in Akkuyu?? We don't think so. In Russian contract, Russians have no worry about payment. There is no risk in their Energy sales Agreement since we buy natural gas and hard coal. In case of any payment difficulty, they simply cut off gas in winter time. Anyhow it is our pure speculation that the Sinop Nuclear Power plant contract will wait for a while, until we shall have a dependable, secure, economically sound, politically reliable new government in power, which would be after 12th Sep referendum and even after 2011 general elections. All works are preliminary and all are on hold. A Nuclear power plant contract between South Korea and Turkey is not so easy to finalize.  
The ARP-1400, a third-generation Korean Nuclear model with 1400 MWe available for overseas projects, was developed by Doosan Heavy Industries based on System 80+ design of USA.  You may say that the US would not have a problem with South Koreans selling reactors to Turkey.   While Turkey has moved into good relations with Iran, it has also been blocked by France over European Union entry. US would welcome opportunity to balance Russian energy influence in Turkey with a South Korea project. Note that South Korea has tremendous credibility in Middle East right now having inked $20 billion multi-reactor deal with UAE last December for same design.
In any case South Koreans are fully dependent on USA Foreign Office in their decisions. In the end there should be no conflict of interest with Obama Administration. Without US foreign office approval, there will be no development in nuclear power plant construction in Sinop. US Foreign office has certain hesitation and reservations on strategic partnership and our joint security at our region.  We feel that US Foreign Office is ignorant and indifferent to Turkey, and to Turkish priorities.  Anyhow without firm commitment from our end, they will not release an approval. So please be sure that Koreans are not alone in decision making process for nuclear technology transfer to Turkey, their finance is directly dependent on their overseas institutions, and their nuclear technology is controlled by US nuclear technology licensors, all their overseas initiatives are controlled by the big brother. Hence if you read news that the draft contract is expected to be released by the end of 2010 that is not so reliable. If it would be after July 2011 general elections, that is reasonable. 
Do not be too optimistic. This is politics, and this is international relations. You can only rely on your own technology, if you can create one of your own.  Your comments are always welcome. With deepest regards
Haluk Direskeneli,
Ankara based Energy Analyst

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Vineyards on depleted ash dams

Dear Colleagues

Today I will try to review an untold evaluation of post operation utilization of already depleted ash dam fields near old existing thermal power plants. Ash dams are necessary for thermal power plants. Whether you fire either hard coal or low quality lignite, you generate lots of fly ash and bottom ash in the end. You have to dispose that ash by any means. If it is fly ash, you capture them through big capacity electrostatic precipitators (ESP) prior to entering high stacks, collect and then transfer to nearby cement plants to be added into cement production. Local price is around 18- 20 US Dollars per ton CIF delivery at cement plant. 
If it is bottom ash, then you mix it with available nearby water, and pump them all to nearby ash dam. Ash dam is a man made water dam. You circulate the water and transfer the bottom ash from thermal power plant to the dam. These ash dams are built by the contractor during thermal power plant construction and they are used during life cycle of the thermal power plant operation.

In the end, the thermal power plant ages, gets old, needs rehabilitation. At the same time your ash dam gets filled with incoming bottom ash. At first you insert some cement into the ash dam so that you cover the bottom of dam, to insulate the dam from infusion of unnecessary material to underwater resources. Then the upcoming bottom ash fills the ash dam, where ash goes down, water remains at top for water recirculation.
Finally your ash dam gets full, having no more bottom ash keeping capacity. If our thermal power plant is still in operation, at that time you have to build a new ash dam to keep the new bottom ash.
What happens after you fill the ash dam?? What can you do on depleted ash dam fields??
You put 1-2 meters of agricultural soil on top of depleted ash dam fields, and plant suitable trees. Ash lands especially volcanic ash lands are suitable for vineyards to grow good quality grapes for wine production. Ash dam is a men-made ash field for vineyards. That is the case everywhere. Some of the world famous vineyards of California are not only on volcanic ash fields but also on depleted ash dams, or on similar municipality refuse dump areas.
In Elbistan, administration raises pine trees. In Soma first ash dam, administration plants olive trees and produces excellent virgin olive oil. Yatagan ash dam capacity is almost complete. There are new depleted ash dam fields waiting for agricultural utilization.

Sugozu thermal power plant administration is planning to grow Cabernet Sauvignon grapes for nearby wine factory in future. Grapes are already planted around ash disposal land, however I do not feel that neither land and nor environment suitable for Cabernet Sauvignon production.
I would expect them to plant local grapes. Elbistan and Tufanbeyli are suitable for OkuzGozu grapes, Kangal for Bogazkere, Cayirhan is suitable for KalecikKarasi, Can Canakkale is suitable for local KaraLahna/ Çavuş/ Kuntra grapes. Soma is allocated for olive trees for sure and their virgin olive oil is extraordinary. Yatagan can follow Soma experience and Yatagan administration should plant olive trees on their almost depleted ash dam fields.

Thermal power plants are long term operations, you learn while you operate. All long term future strategies are to be considered. The plants are to be operated with long term programs. Privatization procedures are to enforce sufficient capacity ESPs, FGDs in full operation at all times, as well as post agricultural utilization of depleted ash dams near old thermal power plants.   With deepest regards

Haluk Direskeneli, Ankara based Energy Analyst
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