Wednesday, 15 August 2012 02:31
By caribarena news
Antigua St. John's - Caribarena has received disturbing information regarding the operations of the Chinese Power Plant during Quarter Two of 2012 (April – June).
According to our information, APUA has been mixing the HFO (Bunker C) fuel used by the units at the Power Plant with LFO (Diesel).
The usage of HFO (Bunker C) during the quarter is 1,361,184.24 Ig, which was mixed with 6,488.53 Ig (ratio of 99.9% to 0.1%).
One of the advantages of burning HFO (Bunker C) is a significantly cheaper cost per gallon when compared to LFO (Diesel).
Caribarena has been reliably informed that the price of LFO (Diesel) at the end of June was $11.79/Ig, while the cost of HFO (Bunker C) was $9.69/Ig.
Our research indicates that there are two potential reasons why HFO/LFO mixing would take place.
The first is to reduce engine overheating. HFO needs to be pre-heated to between 104 – 127 degrees Celsius before being combusted in the engine.
LFO (diesel) does not need to be preheated in order to produce energy. As such, mixing the HFO and LFO would decrease the pre-heating requirements, and reduce the viscosity of the HFO.
This allows operators to maintain lower engine temperatures in the case that engines are experiencing overheating malfunctions.
The second reason is to reduce the level of sulfur in the HFO, and by extension, in the engine. High levels of sulfur can cause corrosive damage, as well as contaminating the air and causing Acid Rain.
When a power plant is being designed, the level of sulfur in the HFO is taken into account, and equipment is planned and installed to either handle high sulfur HFO or low sulfur HFO.
A need to reduce the level of sulfur in the engine indicates either incompetent planning or equipment failure at the power plant.
Caribarena is continuing the effort to ascertain exactly which issues are causing the operators at the WPP to mix HFO and LFO.
Furthermore, Caribarena has learned that the fuel efficiency of the power plant has also decreased significantly.
During quarter one, the fuel consumption of the WPP was 48.2 Ig/Mwh, while during quarter two the consumption increased to 52.29 Ig/Mwh.
In June, the WPP produced 6,206 MwH. Under the quarter one fuel consumption rate, this would require 299,129.2 Ig/Mwh.
Under the quarter two fuel consumption rate, over 324,511.74 Ig/Mwh would be needed to produce this energy, a difference of 25,382.54 Ig, or $246,000.00.
However, the most disturbing development was the availability of the Power Plant.
Caribarena has been reliably informed that for significant periods of time in May and June, only 1-2 engines were operating at the Chinese Power Plant.
This is the second time that 5 of the 6 engines have been reported down since they were confirmed to be down between April and May by APUA Electricity Division Manager Lyndon Francis.
Why are 4-5 engines down at the Wadadli Power Plant for a second time since their commissioning only 11 months ago?
Caribarena will continue to investigate the operations of the Chinese Power Plant and keep the public of Antigua and Barbuda informed.