File image: Eskom. IOL.

JOHANNESBURG - World-renowned power generation firm, GE Power, announced on Tuesday that it has successfully completed tests for performance of Unit 1 of the Wet Flue Gas Desulphurisation Plant (WFGD) at Eskom’s Kusile newly built plant in Mpumalanga, the first air quality control system of its kind in Africa. 

GE’s scope in Kusile was the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of six turbine islands, air cooled condensers and wet flue gas desulphurisation plant (WFGD).  

During its performance tests, Kusile’s WFGD plant exceeded original performance commitments as it achieved 93 percent removal efficiency rate. The WFGD Plant is set to be the cleanest coal-fired power plant in Eskom’s fleet. 

Eskom’s acting chief executive, Phakamani Hadebe said in a statement that this technology was in line with current international practice.

"Kusile is the first power plant in Africa to implement clean fuel technology such as flue-gas desulphurization – a state-of-the-art technology used to remove oxides of Sulphur, such as Sulphur dioxide, from exhaust flue gases in power plants that burn coal or oil," Hadebe said.

"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 in a priority air shed area."

Lee Dawes, general manager at GE Steam Power business in Sub-Saharan Africa, said this WFGD system ensures the highest removal of Sulphur from the combustion process, ensuring that Kusile coal power plant will comply with the most stringent international standards and protect the communities around it.

“By bringing cleaner, affordable, reliable and efficient technology solutions to the Kusile Power plant, we have proven that coal can continue to play an essential role in meeting the country’s growing energy needs," Dawes said.

Nthabiseng Kubheka, GE's executive project director for Kusile's turbine islands and WFGD projects, said: "We are extremely proud of this milestone as our expert global and local engineering procurement and commissioning teams have worked tirelessly to ensure that the WFGD system installed on Kusile’s Unit 1 performs well above the set parameters."

Once in full operation, Kusile power plant will consist of six units delivering 800MW each for a total of 4,800 MW, enough power to meet the electricity needs of 3.5 million households in South Africa.

 - African News Agency (ANA)