Bin Qasim Coal Fired Power plant of 1320 MW Gross power facing fuel shortage.


Pakistan set up three imported coal fired power plants.

1) Bin Qasim Coal Fired Power Plant (1320 MW)

2) Sahiwal Coal Fired Power Plant (1320 MW)

3) HUBCO Coal Fired Power Plant (1320 MW)

To understand the problem faced by imported coal fired power plants, first we need to understand type of coal.

Coal classification done on the basis of carbon content and hydrogen content.

                                                Carbon%                                Hydrogen%

Anthracite                             93 – 95                                   3.8 – 2.8

Bituminous                           80 – 91                                   5.6 – 4.25

Sub-Bituminous                    75 – 80                                   5.6 – 5.1

Lignite                                    60 – 75                                   5.7 – 5.0        

The moisture and oxygen contents of the fuels fall as the rank increases and the calorific value (Heating value) rises.

The Calorific value of lignite will decrease as moisture content increases.

As the age of coal increase its gain good properties, for example the age of light coal is around 20 million years while sub bituminous  coal age is around 60-100 million years.

For a lignite coal to convert in to sub bituminous coal around 80 millions years will be required roughly.

It is worth mentioning here that our Thar Coal is a lignite coal of low colorific value with high moisture content in it.

The Colorific value of sub bituminous coal is around 23000 KJ/kg while lignite (Thar Coal) have colorific value of 13500 KJ/kg (around)/

The three imported coal fired power plant boilers were designed on imported coal of sub bituminous quality and not on lignite local coal. These boilers are unable to burn the local coal.

Three imported coal when mill operate on imported coal needs around 25 million Tons of coal annually.

Let say coal cost is USD120/TON so annually we need more than 3 billion USD and for 25 years operation we need to import coal of around 75 billion USD for these. Three power plants is coal price remains at USD 120/Ton.

It is interesting to note down that Thar field as per data have 175 billion tons of coal but of low quality. This coal can be burn in the boilers of boiler designed for such coal (large furnace).

I could not conceive the idea who was behind promote the boiler designing on imported coal, while a cheap source of energy was available in country.

I can assume that for these three plants around 50 million tons per annum coal was required if boiler designed to burn lignite coal.

The exploration cost of coal at Thar is around 25-30 USD/Tons, if all cost including transportation will be included cost of coal will not go behind USD 80/Tons and Top of that the serving of 75 billion USD of the country.