LUMUT – For those stepping into the Sultan Azlan Shah Power Station in Manjung near here for the first time, the sight of the 200-meter high chimney will definitely awe them. Though chimneys are known to emit smoke but this power plant’s chimney only lets out steam, and filtered suphur and fly ash.
Upon entering the grounds of the power station, owned by TNB Janamanjung Sdn Bhd (TNBJ), it is mind boggling to see the sight of huge heaps of black coal covering at least quarter of the 325 hectare ground of the power station located along the coast. The easier analogy to describe the sheer size of the coal storage area is that it is equivalent to 27 football fields.
The coal mostly imported from Kalimantan, Indonesia is used to generate 3,100 Watts of electricity for the national grid through four of its power generating units – Manjung 1 (700 Watts), Manjung 2 (700 Watts) and Manjung 3 (700 Watts) that started operations in 2003 while the newest one Manjung 4 (1,000 Watts) that started operations in 2015. Another generating unit Manjung 5 costing RM6.5 billion under development is expected to contribute an additional 1000 Watts by the year end.
The sight of the ‘vast coal field’ may be a cause of concern for some as burning of coal contributes to environmental pollution. However, there is nothing to worry. The power plant, the biggest in Malaysia and the one that generates 20 percent of the total electricity generated in Peninsula has proven that coal can be used to generate clean electricity.
Six studies conducted in 2010, including the “Paleoseismology and Seismic Hazard Study” and “Study Of Ecology at Sultan Azlan Shah Power Station by TNB Research Sdn. Bhd. (TNBR) stands testament to this fact.
Even not many are aware that the technology adopted by TNBJ has set the industrial benchmark in clean electricity generation that is being emulated by other power generation companies in the region.
MORE OUTPUT, LESS BURNING
Unlike the first three units, the Manjung 4 utilises the ‘Ultra Super Critical’ environmental friendly technology, noted TNBJ’s Managing Director Datuk Shamsul Ahmad adding that Manjung 5 too would also utilise the same technology.
The ‘Ultra Super Critical ‘ technology enables clean burning of coal and the use of coal with low sulfur content.
“It creates high temperature and pressure, hence enabling high efficiency combustion at Manjung 4 compared with Manjung 1, 2 dan 3,” he said during the media visit to TNBJ recently.
The combustion temperature at Manjung 4 is around 600 degrees Celcius with the pressure reaching 270 bar, while at Manjung 1, 2,and 3 the combustion temperature reaches 540 degrees Celsius with the pressure being 165 bar.
This helps to reduce the use of coal at Manjung 4 compared with Manjung 1, 2, and 3. In other words, to create 1,000 MW, Manjung 4 burns around 10,000 metric tonnes of coal compared with 24,000 metric tonnes for Manjung 1, 2 dan 3 respectively to generate 2,100 MW in total.
“This is the most efficient power generation technology utilised in Malaysia and South East Asia at present. It also enables power generation in a safe and environmental friendly manner,” he said.
CONTRIBUTING TO THE ENVIRONMENT
Shamsul stressed that TNBJ has set the bar high in its daily operations, including in conforming with the strict environmental regulations set by the Department of Environment (DOE) and World Bank. The air, water, oil, noise and ash pollution are being monitored regularly.
“There are views that power generation causes environmental pollution. There may have been some truth in this before the advent of new technologies like what we have today.
The air quality is tested continuously to determine the particle density in the air at three locations – TNBJ’s grounds , Sekolah Menengah Teknik Seri Manjung (located 3 kilometers away) and the TNB Seri Manjung Distribution Station (located 5 kilometers away).
The treated water released into the sea is also monitored along with the burnt coal ash in the ash ponds.
“The coal ash are not discarded but instead sold to the cement industry. Many might not be aware that 30 percent of the cement used during the construction of Kuala Lumpur Twin Towers utilised the processed ash from here,” he said.
BENEFITING THE LOCALS
The Sultan Azlan Shah Power Station that is being developed in stages since 1999 has provided returns to the state of Perak and boosted the livelihood of the locals. The Sultan Azlan Shah Power Station has helped to drive growth at the Manjung District. Today the Manjung district boasts for various facilities that include private hospital, schools, malls, and shipping industry.
Shamsul also pointed out of the 566 employess at TNBJ, 52 percent are from Perak with 235 of them from Manjung itself.
“We have more than 200 registered suppliers with the contract worth more than RM85 million,” he said adding that TNBJ takes seriously its Corporate Social Responsibility by providing RM18 million to the state government since 2014 for education.- BERNAMA