By Oliver Kazunga
Government has applied for a US$310 million credit line from India towards rehabilitating Hwange Thermal Power Station to ensure efficient electricity generation capacity.
The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), a subsidiary of Zesa Holdings, said the thermal power plant had outlived its life span of 25 years and therefore there was need to carry out extensive life extension works of Units 1-6.
“The project is aimed at refurbishment and life extension of Hwange Power Station Units 1-6, increasing their expected life span by 20- 25 years.
“Scoping studies were done. An application for US$310 million line of credit to Government of India was made. ZPC awaits outcome of that funding application,” said the power utility on its website.
The project, which is yet to be granted a national project status, is estimated at US$450 million.
ZPC said the project was expected to take five years to complete.
“Procurement for stage I and stage II boiler/turbo-generator sets work plus part of Balance of Plant (BOP) is being processed – the scope is already defined.
“Plasma Ignition combustion technology is to be adopted as part of the life extension project,” said the power company.
“Plasma technology uses a plasmatron to ignite fuels, it will ignite pulverised fuel (ground coal) directly to minimise fuel oil (diesel) usage for boiler start up and flame stabilisation processes.”
Meanwhile, the thermal power plant is also undergoing some extension works through the addition of Units 7 and 8 after the Chinese government extended a US$1,4 billion loan facility through China Export and Import Bank recently.
It is believed that upon completion, the project will see the plant’s installed capacity improving to 1 520MW from 920MW.
During a recent tour of the project by the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring and Implementation of Government programmes Dr Joram Gumbo, ZPC project site manager Engineer Forbes Chanakira indicated that the project was 39,4 percent complete with US$290 million having been drawn down from the facility extended by the Chinese government.
Drawing down of resources from the facility began in 2018 and ZPC is working on the expansion project through a Chinese contractor, Sino Hydro.
The expansion works at Hwange entail the civil, mechanical and electrical works. Due to constant breakdowns induced by obsolete equipment, Hwange Thermal Power Station is generating below its existing installed capacity. The Chronicle