Source: eKapija | Monday, 06.03.2017.| 14:17
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Reaching European environmental standards through new technology – TENT A to get new ash transport system worth EUR 45 million, tender for contractors by September 2017

The modernization of ash and slag transport in the Nikola Tesla Thermal Power Plant A (TENT A) entails full reconstruction of the system, along with the construction of new ash and slag silos, as well as the construction of a new ash pipeline for transporting the ash to the landfill. This will provide an adequate technological solution, increasing air, water and land protection and reaching European environmental standards.

As Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) explains in an interview for eKapija, the reconstruction of the ash transport system will prevent the scattering of ash by wind, pollution of underground waters and the river Sava and pollution of the surrounding land. It will also solve the issue of waste waters in the de-ashing system.

This will provide EPS with a reliable ash, slag and plaster deposit system for all TENT A units and improve the environmental protection conditions. On Tuesday, February 28, EPS signed a loan agreement worth EUR 45 million with the German development bank KfW for the purpose of the realization of this project. Minister of Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antic then signed Serbia's loan guarantee on March 1.

The repayment period is 12 years, and the grace period is five years.

– The verification of the state guarantee is in progress at the moment and the loan will come into effect only after the ratification at the National Assembly of Serbia. Following that, the conditions will be met for opening a tender for the contractor in line with KfW's rules. According to expectations, the tender might be opened by September 2017 – EPS says for eKapija.

The construction work phases and deadlines will be defined by an agreement with the contractor, and they entail the preparation of the project for the building permit, equipment, delivery and installation. EPS says that the framework period for the realization of the project is three years within the coming into effect of the agreement with the contractor.

Protection of air, underground waters, the Sava and land

Back in 2012, a system for collecting, transporting and depositing ash was installed in the Nikola Tesla Thermal Power Plant b (TENT B), costing EUR 32 million, of which EUR 28 million had been provided by EU donations through the European Agency for Reconstruction. The new technology reduces the scattering of ash, as it is now mixed with water at the ratio of 1:1 (it used to be 1:10), whereas the construction of a new ash deposit system prevented the scattering of ash from 400 hectares of the landfill and reduced the amount of water needed to transport ash ten times, thereby putting a permanent stop to pollution of underground waters.

Milorad Grcic, acting director of EPS, stated on the occasion of the signing of the loan agreement with KfW that the realization of a project important primarily to the environment was beginning. This will result in improved air quality due to the prevention of ash from TENT A being scattered by wind. Furthermore, according to him, the project will also prevent underground waters, the river Sava and land from being polluted.

Zvezdan Kalmer of the Center for Ecology and Sustainable Development (CEKOR) believes that the investment is good in principle and that there need to be investments in modernizing the technology. Nevertheless, he points out that, in order to achieve optimal results, the operation of the new system needs to be monitored in order to prevent bad experiences, such as those from Kostolac, where a similar system has been implemented. The system there features the same technology and the same principle of mixing ash and water, but practical result were below expectations, as the pipes tended to burst, leading to numerous accidents.

– This is a big investment and a long-term project, so the new system would have to function for maybe even 15-20 years in order to secure returns on investments. If the construction of a new thermal power plant and the expansion of energy capacities are being planned, it's certainly advisable to improve the technology and think one step ahead – Kalmer says in his interview for eKapija.

He points out that the modernization of the ash and slag transport system would certainly enhance the environmental aspect, but also reminds that further transition of the energy sector is needed.

The area covered by the Detailed Regulation Plan
– At the moment when a potential privatization of EPS is being considered, some bad effects of unbundling, that is, forming new companies, which then have too many subcontractors, are becoming visible. I believe that EPS lacks trained production professionals, and the new system will not reach its full effects if the mistakes made so far are not addressed, such as failure to spray coal or transporting coal in uncovered trucks and train cars – Kalmer concludes.

Expansion of ash deposit site by 150 hectares planned

On February 27, the Secretariat for Urban Planning and Construction of the City of Belgrade put the General Regulation Plan for the TENT A facilities, along with the ash deposit site in Obrenovac up for early public review, to take place from March 6 till 20, 2017.

The plan states that developed energy infrastructure and strategic needs of the Republic of Serbia in the field of energy demand that the functions and the complexes of TENT A in the area should remain dominant, which will lead to occupying new areas for the needs of expanding the current ash deposit site of TENT A, whose capacities are close to being filled. The planned zone for the expansion of the ash and slag deposit site is located northwest of the current site, which means that the purpose of a section of agricultural land and a part of the Mladost agricultural farm has been changed.

To the end of further development of TENT in the interest of the Republic of Serbia, Belgrade and Obrenovac, in line with the Law on Agricultural Land, the expansion of the TENT A ash deposit site by 150 hectares on state-owned agricultural land.

The planned purposes of areas for facilities with storage space and transport communications, ash and slag deposit site, business zone and utility and infrastructural areas, protective greenery and forests within the complex, as well as the wharf zone, have been proposed. Access roads and administrative features will also be built.

Marko Andrejic
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