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Electrical energy occupies the highest position in the energy hierarchy. It finds
innumerable uses in home, industry, agriculture and even in transport. The fact that
electricity can be transported practically, instantaneously, is almost pollution free at
the consumer level and that its use can be controlled easily make it very attractive
as compared to other forms of energy. The per capita consumption of electricity in
any country is an index of the standard of living of the people of that country. The
demand of electrical energy has increased rapidly in India, particularly during the
1970s. The electrical energy in our country is produced from various sources like
thermal (coal-based) plants, nuclear plants, hydel power, diesel plants, gas plants,
etc. The distribution of total power generation among various sources is shown
India’s Coal Reserves are estimated to be 206 billion tonnes. Present
consumption is about 450 million tonnes. The cost of coal for producing 1
unit of electricity (Cost of coal Rs 1000/MT) is Rs 0.75 and for Gas (Cost of
Gas Rs 6/SMC) is Rs 1.20.

Advantages of Coal Fuel

• Abundantly available in India
• Low cost
• Technology for Power Generation well developed.
• Easy to handle, transport, store and use
Shortcomings of Coal
• Low Calorific Value
• Large quantity to be Handled
• Produces pollutants, ash
• Disposal of ash is Problematic
• Reserves depleting fast
Even though the thermal power generation has its shortcomings, it accounts
for the maximum contribution to power generation as of today.

NTPC was constructed and designed by central water and electricity commission
and was handed over to NTPC in 1975. NTPC is the largest thermal power
generating company in India. It was incorporated with the objective of planning,
promoting and organizing an integrated development of thermal power in our
country. The total capacity of the NTPC Dadri plant is about 2637 MW, which
include the contribution of two plants, i.e. the thermal or coal-based plant and the
gas-based plant. The thermal plant has a capacity of 840 MW consisting of 4 units of
210 MW capacity each and 2 units of 490. The gas-based plant has a capacity of
about 817 MW.
The fuel used in case of the thermal plant maybe any of the following:
• LDO (light diesel oil)
• FO (furnace oil)
• Coal
The fuel for the gas-based plant is:
• Natural gas
• Diesel
NTPC Dadri is a unique plant because of its combination of two generation plants,
i.e. the thermal and the gas-based plants. It has been verified that the overall cost of
power generation is least for a thermal power plant. Although various non-
conventional sources of power generation with lesser pollution have come up in the
recent times, thermal power generation using coal proves to make the mark. Of
course, coal is available in limited quantities, but studies show that its reserves
would exist for a few years.
Two other thermal units of 490 MW capacity each are in the construction process,
which would supply power to the forthcoming Commonwealth Games 2010.


Thermal power plants convert the heat energy of coal into electrical energy. Coal is
burnt in a boiler which converts water into steam. The expansion of steam in turbine
produces mechanical power which drives the alternator. The coal handling plant
supplies coal to the boiler. The ash produced in the boiler is disposed off by the ash
handling plant. Air taken from the atmosphere by the action of forced or induced draft
fan is heated in the pre-heater (by the heat of flue gases) before being fed to the boiler.
The flue gases pass through dust collector, pre-heater and economizer before being
discharged to the atmosphere through the chimney. The boiler vaporizes water into
steam, the steam is further heated in the super heater and fed to the high pressure
turbine. The exhaust steam is condensed by the condenser and the condensate along
with makeup water is passed through economizer before being fed to the boiler.
The capacity of the thermal power plant at Dadri is 4*210 MW and 2*490 MW. The
fuel used for the thermal plant is bituminous coal of grade E and F, which accounts for
80% of the coal obtained from India. (Calorific value of grade E coal=3361 to 4200
kcal/kg, Calorific value of grade F=2401 to 3360 kcal/kg)
Type of coal- raw washed…
The thermal plant can be divided into specific modules as given below:
• Boiler and its auxiliaries
• Steam turbine and its auxiliaries
• Turbo-generator and its auxiliaries
• Switchyard
• HT, LT and DC system
• Coal handling plant
• Ash handling plant
• Circulating water

The plant can be viewed as below:


Boiler is considered to be the core element of a thermal power plant. The
powdered coal and hot air mixture is passed onto the boiler, where the heat
energy of combustion of coal is used to generate steam from water. Boiler, a
closed system in which water under pressure is converted into steam, is one
of the major components of a thermal power plant. A boiler is always
designed to absorb maximum heat released in the process of combustion.
The heat is transferred to the boiler by all three modes of heat transfer, i.e.
conduction, convection and radiation. Boilers are classified into two types:
• Fire tube boiler
• Water tube boiler
• Electric boilers
The BHEL boiler units (6 in numbers) used at NTPC Dadri thermal plant is
of water tube type in which the products of combustion flows outside water
tubes and heat of combustion is passed onto water, giving steam. DM
(Demineralised) water is fed to boiler by the help of the BFP (Boiler Feed
Pump). BFP motor is the biggest capacity (3.5MW) motor of the plant. One
unit has three BFP motors. At a time only two motors are made to run and
one is on stand by. The 6.6 KV supply from HT switchgear is given to BFP
A typical water tube boiler is shown below:

The water tube boiler of the NTPC Dadri thermal plant has the
following main parts:
• Boiler furnace
• Economiser
• Boiler drum
• CC pump
• Waterwalls
• Primary convection superheater
• Secondary radiation superheater
• Reheater
• Air preheater

The complete boiler unit is divided into 2 passes, first pass being the furnace area
and the second including convection superheater and economizer.
The boiler furnace is the area where the pulverized coal is input and burners are
fired for its combustion. The furnace consists of primary and secondary
combustion zones, primary being near to the burners. The flue gases produced
move to the second pass.
The BFP or boiler feed pump feeds water to the economizer, where it is heated up
due to the flue gases heat. This hot water is then fed to the boiler drum. The hot
water is then pumped down through pipes by the circulating pump or cc pump.
The water enter bottom header and then comes up through waterwalls
surrounding the furnace. This water again goes to the drum, where water and
steam get separated. The steam from drum moves to the 2 nd pass convection type
superheater where it converts from wet steam to superheated steam due to flue
gases heat.
The superheated steam moves to radiation type superheater in 1 st pass where it is
further heated by radiation from furnace. This steam is then sent to the steam
turbine. In between the various steam turbine stages, the partly expanded steam is
sent back to boiler area in the reheater, where it is reheated by radiation principle
and then again sent back to turbine. This is done to prevent the damage, partly
expanded steam can do to the turbine blades.
There is another system of tubes to preheat the atmospheric air by flue gases
which is then input to furnace called air preheater.
The overview of the whole system of the boiler and its auxiliaries can be shown
as below

A view of the furnace arc is shown below:

Combustion Reactions (Carbon)

• Main reactions
2C + O2 = 2CO + 3950 BTU/lb (Deficit air)
C + O2 = CO2 +14093 BTU/lb
Secondary reactions
2CO + O2 = 2CO2 + 4347BTU/lb C + CO2
= 2CO -7.25MJ/kg
• Carbon reaction
2C + O2 =2CO[Eco =60kJ/mol]
C + O2 =CO2[Eco2 =140kJ/mol]
reaction at 1200oC
4C + 3O2 =2CO + 2CO2 (Ratio 1:1)
Reaction at 1700oC
3C + 2O2 = 2CO +CO2 (Ratio 2:1)
It is desirable to supply combustion air at lower temperature regime in
• Hydrogen reaction
2H2 + O2 = 2H2O +61095 BTU/lb
• Sulphur reaction
S + O2 = SO2 + 3980 BTU/lb (undesirable)

A steam turbine is a mechanical device that extracts thermal energy from

pressurized steam, and converts it into useful mechanical work.
The two types of steam turbines are:
• Impulse turbine
• Reaction turbine
• An impulse turbine uses the impact force of the steam jet on the
blades to turn the shaft. Steam expands as it passes through the
nozzles, where its pressure drops and its velocity increases. As the
steam flows through the moving blades, its pressure remains the same,
but its velocity decreases. The steam does not expand as it flows
through the moving blades.

• In the reaction turbine, the rotor blades themselves are arranged to

form convergent nozzles. This type of turbine makes use of the
reaction force produced as the steam accelerates through the nozzles
formed by the rotor.

The steam turbine follows a rankine cycle as shown below:

The steam turbine system includes three types of steam turbine, i.e., the high
pressure steam turbine, intermediate pressure steam turbine and finally the low
pressure steam turbine. These are shown as below:


Casing is the outer cover or shell of the turbine and have different design
specifications for the HP, IP and LP steam turbines.

The HP steam turbine rotor is machined from a single Cr-Mo-V steel forging
with integral discs.

The blades are the most costly element of the turbine. The blades fixed in
stationary part are called guide blades/nozzles and those fitted in moving
part are called rotating/working blades. The blades have three main parts:
• Aerofoil: working part
• Root: final end
• Shrouds: shroud are used to prevent steam leakage & to guide steam
to next set of moving blades.
The blades of a multi stage turbine are shown in the following figure:


Two main stop valves and two control valves are located symmetrically.
The main steam is admitted through the main steam inlet passing first through the
main stop valves and then the control valves. From the control valves the steam
passes to the turbine casing.
The turbine is also equipped with an emergency stop valve to cut off the steam
supply. The emergency stop valve (ESV) is actuated by servo motor controlled by
protection system. Control valves are actuated by governing system through servo
motors to regulate steam supply.

Bearings are usually forced lubricated and have provision for admission of jacking
oil. The two types of bearings are:
• Journal bearing---6no.s
• Thrust bearing ---1no.
The shaft is made in small parts due to forging limitations and other technological
and economic reasons. Therefore, coupling is required between any two shaft parts.
Thus rigid coupling is required. However, here flexible coupling cant be used due to
high torque. We require coupling between:
The primary function of barring gear is to rotate the turbo-generator rotors slowly
and continuously during startup and shutdown periods when changes in rotor
temperature occurs.


Turbo-generators are high speed machines having horizontal
configuration. The turbo-generator is coupled to the same shaft as the
steam turbine and it has the following specifications:
Type: 2 pole cylindrical steam turbine driven
Phase: 3 phase
MW rating: 210 MW
Rated Power factor: 0.85
MVA Rating: 247 MVA
Rated stator current: 8645 A
Rated speed: 3000 rpm
Rated frequency: 50 Hz
Terminal voltage: 16.5 KV
Efficiency: 98.55%
Double star connection
Stator winding cooling: directly water cooled
Stator core and rotor cooling: directly hydrogen cooled
The excitation system provides the necessary field current to the rotor
winding of the synchronous machine. The amount of excitation depends
on the power factor, speed of the machine and load current. Greater these
parameters, more is the excitation required. The excitation system may be
a rotating system or a static system. Rotating excitation system maybe of
following types:
• Conventional rotating machines
• High frequency excitation
• Brushless excitation system
• Reliability
• Sensitivity and fast response
• Stability
• Ability to meet abnormal conditions
• Monitoring and annunciation of parameters
• User friendliness

The 16.5 KV output of the turbo-generator of each unit is fed to the
generator transformer which steps up the voltage to 220 KV. The three phase
220 KV lines are supplied to the input terminals of the 220 KV switchyard.
A current transformer is connected to each phase to measure the current
through it. The current transformer output current is fed to a relay in the
control room switchgear. If in any case the current becomes very high, then
the relay in the switchgear room operates and breaks the circuit.
After the current transformer, the 220 KV phases are connected to a series of
isolators and circuit breakers. The isolators are used to break the circuit in no
load conditions, whereas the circuit breakers can break the circuit in any
load condition. Thus the isolators and circuit breakers prevent high currents
in the lines, help in correcting line faults in localized points and also help in
controlling power flow direction. The circuit breakers used in the 220 KV
switchyard are SF6 type CB. In the end, each phase gets split into two
parallel paths with individual isolators. These two paths supply to the two
220 KV buses, one path for each bus. Thus by opening or closing the
isolators in the two paths, we can give supply to any of the two 220 KV
buses or both as desired. The 220 KV bus lines are connected to ICT
(Interconnected Transformer) which steps up this voltage to 400 KV (and
vice-versa in emergency power generation failure). The ICT 400 KV output
is fed to the 400 KV switchyard which has its own connections of isolators
and circuit breakers. The circuit breakers used here are of ABCB (Air blast
circuit breaker) type.
The 400 KV buses are connected to the Northern Power Grid and supplies
electricity to various areas.
At various points in the switchyard, lightning arrestors are connected for
passing on high lightning surges to ground and thus preventing the
switchyard components.
Wave traps are yet another important component of the switchyard which are
used for PLCC (Power Line Carrier Communication). The wave traps are
used for transmitting communication high frequency signals using the same
power lines which are used for electricity transmission.
A UAT or unit auxiliary transformer is also connected to the 16.5 KV output
of the turbo-generator. This transformer steps down the voltage to 6.6 KV
and supplies to the H.T. Switchgear and this supply is used to run the H.T.
machines in the plant, particularly motors and auxiliaries. This 6.6 KV
supply is also fed as input to the L.T. Switchgear room, where it is stepped
down further to 0.4 KV by an IST or incomer service transformer. This
supply is fed to L.T. switchgear and runs the smaller motors of the plant.
Thus in a normal situation, the power generated is also used up for running
the plant equipment. However in times of power generation failure, we do
need to have a power source to run the plant equipment.
Another transformer, the Station transformer is also connected to the 220
KV switchyard. When there are conditions of failure of power generation,
power is taken up from the Northern Power Grid and supplied back to the
400 KV switchyard. This voltage is then stepped down to 220 KV by ICT
and then this power is transmitted to the station transformer. The station
transformer steps down to 16.5 KV and supplies to UAT and further
equipment, till the plant generates power again.

Equipments commonly found in switchyard :
• Lightening arrestor
• Current transformer
• Voltage transformer
• Power transformers / I.C.T.
• Bus bar and clamp fittings
• Support structure
• Isolators
• Circuit Breaker
• Wave traps
• Earthing switch
Functions of various equipment :
* Transformers :
- Transforms the voltage levels from higher to lower level or vice
versa, keeping the power constant.
* Circuit breakers :
- Makes or automatically breaks the electrical circuits under loaded
* Isolators :
- Opens or closes the electrical circuits under No-load conditions.
* Instrument transformers :
- For stepping-down the electrical parameter (Voltage or Current) to
a lower and safe value for Metering and Protection logics.
* Earth switch :
- Used to connect the charged body to ground to discharge the
trapped charge to have a safe maintenance zone.

Lightning arrestors :
- Safe guards the equipment by discharging the high currents due to
* Overhead earth wire :
- Protects the O/H transmission line from Lightning strokes.
* Bus bar :
- Conductors to which a number of circuits are connected.
* Wave Traps/Line traps :
- Used in PLCC circuits for Communication and telemetering.
* Reactive Power control devices :
- Controls the reactive power imbalance in the grid by switching
ON/OFF the Shunt Reactors, Shunt Capacitors etc.
* Current Limiting Reactors :
- Limits the Short circuit currents in case of faulty conditions.
The H.T. system gets its supply from the UAT output of 6.6 KV. The H.T.
system is controlled from the H.T. switchgear room and runs all the H.T.
machines of the plant. The most important motor which runs on 6.6 KV
is the Boiler feed pump motor drive which helps in feeding water to the
The BFP motor drive has following specifications:
Manufacturer: BHEL
Squirrel cage induction motor
Rating: 3500 KW
Power supply: 6.6 KV, 3 phase, 50 Hz
Rated speed: 1500 rpm (syn)
No-load current: 80 A
Full-load current: 356.5 A
Similarly, there are many other drives which run on the H.T. voltage.
The L.T. system gets its supply of 400 V from the H.T. system through an
IST or incomer service transformer and runs all the smaller 400 V
One of the examples of an L.T. motor is stator water cooler motor drive
which is a very important motor as it runs the cooling system of stator
winding all throughout the day. It has the following specifications:
Phase: 3 phase
Rated speed: 2905 rpm
Rated voltage: 415 V
Efficiency: 88%
Rated KW: 11/15 KW
There are various electronic equipment in the plant which require dc
supply to run. For these systems battery charging is done. The various
batteries used for charging purposes are:
DDCMIS Battery, UPS Battery, ATRS Battery, FSSS Battery, etc.
The function of the coal handling plant is to supply proper size of coal in
uninterrupted manner to the boiler unit for combustion.
The source of coal for NTPC Dadri Thermal plant is Piparwar (Jharkhand),
1150 km from Dadri. The coal is transported by rail, where one system of
wagons and engine is known as a rake. The top open wagons have a capacity
of approximately 60 M.T. each. Thus the capacity of one rake is around 3400
M.T. The per day requirement of coal is 12000 M.T. and so 3-4 rakes are
required each day. The plant authorities have signed agreements with
Piparwar for coal and with Railways for transportation purpose. The
different types of wagons used for transportation are:
• Box-N type (with 3 windows on one side and top open)
• Box-C type (with 5 windows on one side and top open)
• BOBR (Bogie open bottom rapid discharge wagon)
These days we mostly have the Box-N type and BOBR type of wagons. For
unloading the Box-N type wagons, the process is either carried out manually
or by using wagon tippler, which tilts the wagon on one of its sides by an
angle of 120 degree to drop the coal down into a mesh iron structure used for
filtering out -200 mm size of coal and dropping it down on a conveyor belt.
Wagon tippler specifications:
Power: 75HP
Rated voltage: 415 V
Rated current: 102 A
Phase: 3 phase
Rpm: 1480 rpm
Frequency: 50 Hz
The unloading procedure for BOBR type includes moving the wagons on a
rail track having coal track hopper which is a mesh of iron allowing coal
particles of sizes -200 mm to filter out. A pressure is applied to open the
bottom plates to unload coal and it filters down to the conveyor belt. In both
cases, the belt finally takes the coal to the crusher house.


It consists of layers or piles of fabric duck impregnated with rubber and

protected by rubber cover on both sides and edges.
Types of pulleys on which the belt conveyor moves:
• Main pulley
• Snap pulley
• Tail pulley
Types of rollers on which the belt conveyor moves:
• Impact roller
• Guide roller
• Return roller
Conveyor belt system specifications:
Belt width: 140 mm
Load carrying capacity: 1400 M.T. per hour
Grade: FR (fire retarded), EP( elastopolymer), 1240/4
Belt speed: 3-3.5 m/s
Troughing angle: 30-35 degrees
Safety devices for belt conveyors:
Sometimes, the belt is wet due to any reason, so it may not run due to
reduced friction. A switch senses this and prevents the belt conveyor from
choking. Sometimes, any accident may occur which requires the belt to stop.
In that case, the pull cords are pulled to break the circuit. This system
restarts only when the pull cords are reset. Weight is attached to belt
conveyor to maintain tension and prevent jerks of the belt at the time of
starting. It also increases the length of the belt which may be used during
any damage to the belt.
They are 2 in number and are attached to the conveyor 14A/14B. There
might be a possibility that coal has some iron parts in it. It is a box
containing iron coil wounded over the magnetic material. Electric current is
passed after operating it from the control unit. A very high magnetic flux
density of 700 wb/sq m is produced. This flux can attract the iron pieces of
30-50 kg.
They are provided near the conveyor 15A/15B to detect metal pieces. It has
2 plates having constant reluctance between them. Coal and belt are non-
metallic type, so it does’nt affect the reluctance, but as soon as any metal
part comes, the reluctance is affected and a change in voltage is sensed.
Hence, motor is tripped. The motor tripping gives current to the solenoid
which attracts the metal rod inside it and the sandbag marker provided just
after metal detector falls when metal is detected.
The crusher house inputs coal of sizes less than 200 mm from the wagon
tippler and coal track hopper through conveyor belt system. The purpose of
the crusher house is to refine the coal further to a size of -20 mm and send
them for storage in bunkers. The crusher house is made up of various stages
in which initially the coal from the conveyor belt is sent to grizzly feeders,
where the coal is passed onto a vibrating mesh surface, such that coal pieces
of sizes -20 mm or less get separated and are directly sent to coal bunkers for
storage through conveyor belts. The coal pieces of greater sizes are sent to
crushers for reducing them to -20 mm dimensions. This coal also moves to
the bunkers through conveyor belts.
Crusher house motor specifications:
Power: 400HP
Rated voltage: 415 V
Phase: 3 phase
Rpm: 1480 rpm
Frequency: 50 Hz


The coal from the crusher house moves to the bunkers for temporary storage.
There are 6 bunkers for each unit of the thermal plant, i.e. a total of 24
bunkers. The full coal carrying capacity of one bunker is enough for 24
hours of power production. The bunkers are of a height of 24m and have a
capacity of 750 M.T. each. The coal from the bunkers then moves to the coal
mill for further grinding.

The excess coal after the filling up of the coal bunkers is sent to the
stockyard through a system of conveyors. The stockyard has a capacity of
five lakh metric tones and can store crushed coal for 40 days. This is
advantageous in situations when the rakes are not delivered due to some
problem and we require coal for steady power generation. In such case, the
coal from the stockyard is taken up back through conveyors for power
generation, process called reclaiming.
The coal is pulverized into fine powder in the coal mills and reduces to a
size of 200-230 MESH (if we consider a 1*1 sq inches sieve plate having
200-230 cross lines, then the powdered coal which can pass through such a
mesh is of 200-230 MESH). The coal is powdered to increase the surface
area for its combustion and producing greater heat energy. PA fan sucks air
from atmosphere and send it to air-preheater to make it hot. Then this hot air
from the preheater is sent with high pressure to the coal mills, where it picks
up the fine coal powder with it and this mixture is then fed to the boiler
furnace. Another fan, the FD fan also takes up atmospheric air, heats it up in
the air-preheater and feeds this hot air to the windbox of the boiler for steady
combustion of coal. The FD fan air is also used to supply the air to scanner
fan and ignitor.
The overall boiler arrangement with its auxillaries is shown below:

Bowl Mill motor specifications:

PA fan motor specifications:
Asynchronous (Induction motor)
Phase: 3 phase
KW: 1250 KW
RPM: 1490rpm
Stator connection: Star
Stator current: 135.7 A
Stator voltage: 6600 V
Rotor connection: Squirrel cage
Power factor: 0.8
Efficiency: 93.4%
Rating: continuous
Insulation: F-class
Weight: 8975 kg
Make: BHEL
Year: 2001

FD fan motor specifications:

Asynchronous (Induction motor)
Phase: 3 phase
KW: 66 KW
RPM: 1490rpm
Stator connection: Star
Stator current: 135.7 A
Stator voltage: 6600 V
Rotor connection: Squirrel cage
Power factor: 0.8
Efficiency: 93.4%
Rating: continuous
Insulation: F-class
Weight: 8975 kg
Make: BHEL
Year: 2001

The overall flow diagram of coal is shown below:


After the complete combustion of coal ash is produced and is removed to ash
handling plant and is delivered to ash storage plant for disposal. For a 100%
of coal, there is 40% (32%fly ash+8%bottom ash) of ash.

For bottom ash there is wet type evacuation system, while for fly ash it is
dry type evacuation system.
The bottom ash is mixed with water to make slurry and this slurry is then
sent to the bottom ash hopper. There it takes the form of the clinkers. These
clinkers are sent to the ash clinker crusher mill (grinder) to make fine
powder, this fine ash powder is then sent to the hydrobin.
The fly ash is sent to the fly ash hopper then from there it is sucked in by
a vacuum system into the buffer hopper where it is collected in bags. The
remaining fly ash is separated from the flue gases by the ESP (Electrostatic
Precipitator). In ESP there are hammers (operated by motor) that make the
precipitated ash fall down. From the ESP it is sent to the SILO.
From hydrobin and SILO it is sent through the conveyors to the final
ash storage (ash mound).
The steam is sent to the condenser, there circulating water is used for the
cooling of steam and circulating water is made to flow in the tubes. Due
to the heat of steam this water gets hot. For the cooling of this hot water
cooling towers are used.
The cooling towers follow natural method of cooling and are of parabolic
shape. The parabolic shape increases the air speed which cools the
incoming water. They go to a height of about 117 m. There are 4 towers,
one for each unit.
NCPS, Dadri is thus seen to be a major power
generation plant with its thermal, gas-based and HVDC
power systems.
Currently NTPC has 4 units of 210 MW and 2 units of
490 MW and continuously making progresses. In this
way total power generation capacity of NCPS is 2637