Capacity enhancement of Bangladesh's power & energy sector: Khondkar Saleque Sufi

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Published on March 3, 2018
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15 Members Bangladesh Energy & Power Sector Officials recently completed Australian Government (DFAT) assisted Monash University administered four weeks long knowledge gathering and capacity enhancement program in Australia. The group participated in Workshops, seminars on coal mining, coal port management, coal supply chain management, coal-fired power generation technology and associated impacts, LNG processing, LNG supply chain management, Gas and Power transmission, distribution networks operation management, south Asian regional connectivity, Energy & Power trading etc. Noted academicians,
researchers, professionals from industries conducted the very interactive workshops and seminars. The group visited two large coal export ports in New Castle in NSW and Gladstone in Queensland, LNG plants in Gladstone, Coal-Fired Power Plants in Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Gladstone and Rockhampton, Queensland Participants actively interacted in every session and during a site visit. In four weeks the participants have exposed to Australian best practices in 9 cities of three states Victoria, NSW, and Queensland. Each of the confident looking participants left Australia better equipped with experience that would enable them in sharing knowledge among their fellow professionals. Bangladesh would definitely get benefitted from their exposure to state of the art modern technology in projects planning, contract negotiation skills, risks identifications, assessments and risks management, Coal and LNG supply chain management, fuel and energy pricing, gas and power transmission system management, health, safety and environment management.

Rationale Of The Program:

Bangladesh government has embarked on a program for achieving the national vision for middle-income country status by 2021 and developed economy by 2041. The bottom line of the vision is achieving sustainable energy security for stimulating economic development. The primary requirement is ensuring the sustainable supply of primary fuel and adopting a balanced fuel mix of domestic and imported fuel. In view of the limited own fuel government has adopted a program for importing coal and LNG from the global market. For this several power and mega projects have been taken up for implementation. Australia, on the other hand, is a primary fuel Coal and LNG rich country and has wide experience with modern state of the art technology. Three Bangladeshi Australians Dr. Qaumrul Alam, Dr. Firoz Alam and Engr Khondkar Saleque masterminded the capacity enhancement program for Bangladeshi Energy & Power Sector Officials. Bangladesh Government responded spontaneously. Some Australian organization like Santos, Australian Energy Regulator responded positively. DFAT representing Australian Government approved the program under Australian Fellowship Award Program. The capacity enhancement program kicked off with a group of senior Bangladesh Government Officials including State Minister Energy, Senior Officials of Power and Energy Sector visiting Australia in the first group. 6 more groups visited in the first phase and the program was rounded off with an event in Dhaka in mid-2017. The program achieved the objectives as many of the participants of the program are now placed in key positions of mega power and energy infrastructure projects. Officials are greatly benefitted from the program. Current program is the second phase which is expected to continue for two more years.

Program In Victoria:

The program was launched in Melbourne Victoria. Monash University hosted some workshop on Regional Connectivity South Asia, Coal Mining modern technology, Health, Safety and Environmental Aspects, Different Technologies of Coal-Fired Power Generation and Associated Impacts and Impacts management. One very specific workshop was on issues and challenges regional power trading in South Asia. The participant's on-site visit to Latrobe valley organized by CSIRO Australia was explained about the research on carbon capture technology from the flue gas of coal-fired plant. This visit also exposed the participants about different aspects of open pit mining of brown coal in Latrobe Valley.

Program In New Castle NSW:

Participants visited the modern technology using New Castle Coal Port. The team was provided with a guided visit to Port Warratha one the largest automated export coal terminal in the world. Port is not involved in buying and selling of coal. It acts on behalf of the seller for strong coal, blending if required and loading coal to ships that frequent its jetty. Rigorous quality control monitoring is done to ensure that the contracted coal quality is achieved. Monitoring is also done to ensure environmental impacts arising from coal transportation and shipment operations. The team saw for themselves how coal trains carrying black coals ( Steaming and Coking) from coal mines as far as 450 KMs transporting coal to port stack yards. The operation is remotely controlled. The bottom of each compartment of rail wagon open as the reach designated dumping points.Coal disposed of on the conveyors carry coal to designated stockyard wherefrom if needed two or three varieties of coal are blended for achieving the contract specifications of the buyers.

The port terminal can handle three large coal carrying vessels simultaneously. It can be Capesize, Panamax and Supramax vessels. Reclaimers claim designated coal for each ship and it usually takes 12 hours to load a Panamax and 18 hours to load a Capesize vessel. The port channel has 16.5 meters all season draft. During the visit, the Bangladeshi participants witnessed loading of two Panamax vessels.

Visit To CSIRO Research Centre:

The team visited CSIRO renewable energy research center in New Castle. The team was brief about Concentrated Solar Technology which is now at the advanced stage of research by CSIRO. Later the team was given a guided tour of the facility where sunlight is captured through purpose-built mirrors and Solar panels and stored. CSIRO expects soon their innovative works will go into commercial use.

Gladstone Experience :

The team visited Gladstone Coal export port, NRG owned Sub Critical Power Plant, Supercritical Power Plant of Stanwell In Rockhampton. The team also went on a river cruise around Curtis Island which has three large LNG terminals – GLNG, APLNG and QGC LNG processing plants and LNG export terminals. The team saw for themselves the minimum impacts on air and water from the environment-friendly operations of large coal ports ( RG Tanna and WICET Port), NRG Power plant, LNG Plants, Refinery and several industries in Gladstone. The place is not very far from UNESCO World Heritage –Great Barrier Reef.

John Abbott, Chancellor Central Queensland University in a power point presentation to the team explained the various technical aspects of coal-fired power general technology, risks, and challenges of operation of coal plants, environmental and social impacts management. He explained why coal would remain the fuel of choice in foreseeable future and why Renewable Energy ( Solar and Wind) cannot provide the base load on a reliable basis. Later the team was given a guided tour through NRG power plant and explained unit operations of the plant. The team was impressed viewing the ash management and water management of the plant. The emissions to the air and release of water to nearby stream were seen not causing any harm to anything at all. The team was impressed viewing for themselves how a subcritical technology using coal-fired power plant located in the heart of the town operates for over four decades without causing any problem to the community.

Professionals of Shell Australia in a presentation at CQU campus explained the design, construction, and operation of QGC LNG plant to the team. The Coal Seam Methane extracted from Coal Mines of Surat Basin after surface treatment for converting into pipeline quality gas is transported to Curtis island through 400 KM long high-pressure gas transmission pipeline. The gas is treated to remove CO2 and H20 being chilled using Conoco Philips Cascading technology for ultra cool (-161 degree Centigrade ) LNG. The 1/600 times super cooled squeezed liquid methane is temporarily stored in cryogenic vessels before pumping into a purpose built LNG ships for export. The experts of Shell Australia responded to various relevant questions of the team.

The team went on a guided river cruise when they were taken around RG Tanna and WICET Coal Port and three LNG Terminals. They witnessed loading of coal ships and LNG vessels. The channel has 16.5 meters all season draft which makes it ideal for plying of Coal Carriers and LNG Vessels.

Activities In Brisbane :

In the last phase of the program, the team participated in two workshops in Brisbane. Dr. Tapan Shaha, Bangladeshi Australian Professor of the University of Queensland ran a workshop on Power System of Australia especially the Power Transmission and Distribution system monitoring and management. Dr. Saha is leading a team of experts in the research of Renewable Energy ( Solar and Wind ) technology innovation and development. He also shared his views with the participants about the programs and challenges of Bangladesh Power sector and lessons that could be learned from Australian best practices.

Rod Duke, CEO of Santos GLNG operation, conducted a very useful seminar on LNG Processing and Trading in the Brisbane SCADA control Centre of SANTOS for its GLNG project operation. Rod, a Chemical Engineer explained to the group the technology of Coal Seam Methane Extraction, Surface treatment in gas gathering centers, Construction management of 400 KM Long gas transmission pipeline, Operation LNG Process plant inclusive of Conoco Philips Cascading technology, LNG Storage and Shipment and LNG pricing. His interactive session was extremely useful for the participants.

Later Rod took the team for a guided tour through different units of SCADA control center which remotely controls CSM extraction, surface treatment plants, Gas transmission System and LNG plants operation.

Conclusion :

Three to four weeks exposure cum experience gathering program could orient the Bangladeshi Participants from Power and Energy Ministry about different aspects of Coal Port, Coal-Fired Power plants design, Construction Management, and Operation. It also exposed the team to modern technology of LNG value chain and supply chain management. Above all the team had practical exposure to health safety and environment impacts management. Hope for future professionals involved in Energy and Power Mega Projects planning, development and Operation would be sent for hands-on practical training for longer durations. Bangladesh needs a significantly large contingent of trained professionals for managing energy and power projects development, operation and maintenance. DFAT in association with Monash University , RMIT , CQU and other Australian organizations is doing excellent works in supporting Bangladesh endeavor