GE has announced the achievement of a major milestone in its contract with China Machinery Engineering Corp (CMEC) for Engro Powergen Thar (Pvt.) Limited’s Thar Block II power plant in Pakistan, with the delivery of critical equipment for boilers, including cyclones, water walls, tube sections, soot blowers and air preheaters.

GE signed a contract with CMEC to supply two 330 MW circulating fluidised bed (CFB) boilers for the project in May 2016. CFB boiler technology is particularly suited to high-moisture low-calorific value coals such as Pakistani Thar lignite.

Fang Yanshui, Vice President of CMEC, said: “The Thar Block II Power Plant is progressing ahead of planned timelines to deliver additional power to the national grid, using the rich coal reserves in Thar. This marks a landmark initiative for the country as it seeks to diversify energy sources to meet the growing demand for power. The installation of CFB boiler technology by GE will enable the plant to reliably generate power from Thar lignite coal, which highlights our commitment to deploy industry leading technology in the country.”

The cyclones that have been delivered are particularly important core components of CFB boilers and help to effectively recirculate flue gas to ensure the reliable, slow and complete combustion of difficult- to-burn fuels such as the high moisture lignite coal found in Thar. In addition, the technology helps to minimise the amount of nitrogen oxides released, while capturing sulphur oxides.

The Thar II power plant is expected to be commissioned in 2019, adding 660 MW of generating capacity to the grid. As the country’s first project firing Pakistani Thar lignite, the plant will help reduce the pressure on foreign exchange reserves, support Pakistan’s energy independence and promote the country’s goal under Vision 2025 to increase the percentage of indigenous sources of power generation to over 50%.

Pakistan’s Thar desert is estimated to have more than 175 billion tons of lignite coal.