Electricity

Serbia to start trial operation of desulfurization unit at its biggest coal plant

Serbia trial operation desulfurization unit biggest coal plant

Photo: Emilija Jovanović / Ministry of Mining and Energy

Published

March 25, 2024

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Published:

March 25, 2024

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Flue gas desulfurization in thermal power plant Nikola Tesla A (TENT A) in Serbia is the biggest environmental project among all thermal power plants in Europe, Minister of Mining and Energy Dubravka Đedović Handanović said. She revealed that the unit would be put into trial operation by the end of March.

The TENT A coal plant is finally reining in air pollution. Minister of Mining and Energy of Serbia Dubravka Đedović Handanović visited a construction site within the thermal power plant in Obrenovac near Belgrade. The facility is part of state-owned power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije.

“Today we ascertained that the works on the construction of the flue gas desulfurization facility will be completed in several days, when the facility will be put into trial operation. This is the biggest environmental project in any thermal power plant in Europe, and the third-biggest in the world, and we put away almost EUR 215 million for it,” she said.

Desulfurization aligning TENT A with EU requirements

Đedović Handanović said the new system would cut sulfur dioxide emissions by ten times and lower the levels of particulate matter coming out of the smokestacks into the range determined by the European Union and national regulations. The air for citizens in Obrenovac, the surrounding villages and Belgrade itself will have much higher quality, she asserted.

“With projects like this we extend somewhat the ecological lifespan of thermal power plants, which is important in terms of baseload energy production. Until we build sufficient capacities from renewable energy sources or obtain some other kind of baseload energy, we will have to lean on thermal power plant capacities. In line with the highest environmental standards, of course,” the minister said.

Đedović Handanović pointed out that nuclear energy could begin to be utilized in 2039 at the earliest if preparations start right away. The construction could start in no less than six years, in her view.

A delegation from Japan will arrive in April

She noted that the project is being implemented with financial support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and that it is interested in participating in other projects in the energy sector.

“I expect a delegation from Japan in April to visit this facility with us. It will be a good basis for future cooperation with Japanese partners, given that they are interested in participating in the financing and construction of energy facilities in our country,” Đedović Handanović said.

Domestic institutes participated in digital segment

The minister is pleased that Serbian scientific institutes Mihajlo Pupin and Nikola Tesla took part in the segments of software, electronics and the digitalization of operations.

Đedović Handanović said that, because of the limestone preparation facility, gypsum would be obtained as a byproduct that can be used in the construction industry. “We want to support EPS to get a more significant role in circular economy and utilize big quantities of gypsum that will be produced here. In addition, a deashing project is underway, which will enable the utilization of ash, which is important for the construction of roads and other structures in the construction sector,” she said.

Japanese company Mitsubishi Power is the contractor. Desulfurization will be conducted at units A3 to A6 while TENT A1 and A2 are scheduled to be shut down by the end of 2027, almost six decades since commissioning. The project in Serbia’s largest thermal power plant began nearly seven years ago.

The other desulfurization system, under construction in TENT B, will be finished next year, according to the minister. SO2 emissions there will be 20 times lower than now, she added.

When it comes online, the share of thermal power plants that use the cutting edge technology will be above 50%, Đedović Handanović claimed. Mitsubishi Power earlier built a desulfurization unit at the Ugljevik coal plant in neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The first one was installed at the Kostolac B coal-fired power plant in Serbia. It got its operational permit in January of last year.

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