Kusile power station’s systems on display


ABB recently invited the media to visit Eskom’s Kusile new-build power station to see the company’s products in use at the power station’s first generating unit.

Kusile, which is near the existing Kendal power station in the Nkangala district of Mpumalanga, will comprise six units, each rated at an 800 MW installed capacity for a total capacity of 4800 MW. Once completed, Kusile is expected to be the fourth-largest coal-fired power station in the world and, at 1355 ha, the largest in Africa by land area.

Kusile power station.

The first of six units has been completed and synchronised to the grid. The unit is currently undergoing rigorous testing before being handed over to Eskom’s generation department which will operate the unit, supplying an additional 800 MW to the national grid within the next few months.

According to Eskom’s planning schedule, Unit 2 should be completed later this year; Unit 3 in or about the middle of 2018; while Units 4, 5 and 6 are expected to be completed a year apart.

Present at the site were Ulrich Spiesshofer, ABB’s Group CEO; Simone Viazzo, ABB’s project director; Chose Cheou, Eskom’s divisional executive for corporate affairs and Sifiso Mazibuko, Eskom’s site manager for the Kusile power station.

Eskom congratulated ABB for the efficient and professional manner in which the company’s part of the project had been handled, stressing the importance of the partnership between the two companies, which is vital for such a large project.

Kusile will be the first power station in South Africa to install flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD) – a state-of-the-art technology used to remove oxides of sulphur, such as sulphur dioxide, from exhaust flue gases in power plants which burn coal or oil.

This technology is fitted as an atmospheric emission abatement technology, in line with current international practice, to ensure compliance with air-quality standards, especially since the power station is located in a priority air-shed area. The FGD plant is a totally integrated chemical plant using limestone as feedstock and producing gypsum as a by-product. Each supercritical tower boiler (highly efficient) will be about 115 m high. The air-cooled condensers (ACC) is constructed on and supported by 60 m high concrete columns.

Steam being released from the chimney of Kusile Unit 1.

The plant will use an air-cooling system to help conserve water. A total of 16 000 t of structural steel was used for the first unit’s boiler construction and it is expected that 115 400 t of structural steel will be used for all six units and the balance-of-plant.

ABB is responsible for the control and instrumentation (C&I), as well as for the balance of plant, all of which will be seamlessly integrated and operated from a single control platform: the company’s Ability Symphony Plus distributed control system (DCS).

The automation system is designed to ensure that the plant is operated in the most efficient way by improving awareness, response times and decision-making. It will achieve this by monitoring the performance of the steam turbines, feed water pumps, condensate pumps, forced drought fans, primary air fans and mills.

The company is also responsible for the design, manufacture, commissioning and testing of the DCS, the field instrumentation and condition-monitoring equipment.

The project requires 755 cubicles, 160 servers, 156 screens, nearly 15 000 pressure and temperature sensors, and over 700 km of cable.

The company has drawn on both local and international engineering resources and expertise to ensure that the project has been undertaken by suitably skilled and experienced experts.

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