Fuel Oil Consumption in Iran
TEHRAN (NIORDC) __ These days, fuel oil is said to be the main culprit of air pollution; a fuel, which is considered as a cost-effective fuel in most developed countries, is known as a cause of pollution in Iran and is labeled differently every day.
According to ISNA, when crude oil enters the distillation tower, products such as petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas and jet fuel come out and a heavy product called fuel oil exits the end of the distillation tower. This petroleum product was used in power plants, locomotives and ships as fuel and is now consumed as a popular fuel in developed industrial countries. In fact, coal and fuel oil are the main fuels of the world"s power plants.
How much fuel oil is delivered to power plants?
Given that there is no natural gas in many parts of the world, the predominant fuel for power plants is coal or fuel oil. Countries such as the United States, Australia, Russia, China and India, which are known as developed countries, use fuel oil and coal in their power plants. But the question is why it is said that this petroleum product is pollutant in Iran?
At present, 190 million liters of petroleum products and gas are delivered to the country"s power plants on a daily basis, of which about 13 million liters are fuel oil; in cold seasons, like the current situation, this figure reaches 35 million liters, and in summer, this number may reach zero. This is only one sith of the 190 million liters of products distributed to power plants, and this is in a situation where, according to the officials, fuel oil is not distributed in metropolitan areas.
However, we see that metropolises, including Tehran, are very polluted; therefore, the main cause of pollution must be identified and then a solution be sought. To check this, it is necessary to pay attention to certain points. By visiting aqms.doe.ir, it can be inferred that the weather conditions of all the cities where fuel oil is currently consumed in their surrounding power plants are in a healthy and sometimes clean range. However, the situation in the metropolises, where not even a drop of fuel oil is consumed in their surrounding power plants, is very unhealthy.
The second point is the technology used in power plants. In the developed countries, decontamination and filtration equipment is installed on the chimneys of power plants, and this issue purifies and filters the exhaust gas from power plants and prevents the spread of pollution caused by coal and fuel oil in the environment. In Iran, because there is no such system, gas and diesel fuel are delivered to all power plants. Only in some cold seasons of the year, due to the shortage of gas and diesel, only in some power plants, which are far from metropolitan areas, fuel oil is distributed in a limited manner, which is not economically optimal, but due to the lack of up-to-date systems in the power plants, the country has to bear this economic loss, and if the country is to be managed economically, these power plants must be standardized.
Exports of 1.5 to 2 Million Liters of Fuel Oil per Month
According to energy experts, Iran"s high-sulfur fuel oil is easily sold to power plants around the world, but the problem is that those power plants are standard and reduce the emission of aerosols after desulfurization of combustion gases by filtration operations. However, fuel oil is still known as the main culprit of air pollution in Iran. Looking at the site of the air quality monitoring system, we can see that the sulfur dioxide index is below 100 and is in the clean range; this means that the problem of air pollution in Tehran is not just sulfur.
On the other hand, as officials have repeatedly stated, fuel oil is not burned in Tehran, and sulfur is in the clean range, and the problem is the presence of aerosols. Fuel oil is known as one of the most popular fuels in the world and Iran currently exports this petroleum product to other countries.
About 2.5 billion liters of fuel oil storage capacity available in Iran
The amount of Iranian fuel oil exports is 1.5 to 2 million liters per month. Of course, there has been talk about shipping not using fuel oil since last year, but it should be noted that the share of ship fuel in the world fuel oil market is very small and the main share of the fuel oil market is power plants.
Meanwhile, there are rumors about the lack of fuel oil storage capacity, which according to oil officials, this is not true, and in the current situation there are about 2.5 billion liters of empty storage capacity for storing fuel oil in the country while daily production is about 57 million liters; this means that if no fuel oil is sold from today to two months from now, the tanks will still have room to store the item.
What keeps filtration plan of power plants from being implemented?
In this regard, Sanaz Jafarzadeh, the head of the HSE department of Thermal Power Plant Holding, told ISNA about the measures that have been taken so far for implementing filtration of the power plants" emissions.
She said: "In the past year and a half, a research project was carried out jointly by the Ministry of Energy and the Thermal Power Plant Holding along with the Japan International Cooperation Agency to identify environmentally friendly technologies in the electricity industry that cover not only the manufacturing sector but also other sectors."
She stated that the various aspects of solving the problem of pollution were to be identified and it should be determined in what parts this project is technically justified and in general can be done. "It should be considered that not all power plants use fuel oil and only 14 power plants in the country use this petroleum product to generate electricity."
14 Power Plants can Consume Fuel Oil
The official further stated: "When these power plants use fuel oil, the issue of pollution and exceeding the standard parameters is raised, which is also due to the fact that the fuel oil from the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) goes to the power plants. This shipment right from the beginning has a sulfur contamination, and when a raw material is received with sulfur contamination, there will be contamination during combustion, and this makes the power plants not meet the standard limits."
Jafarzadeh, stating that one of their priorities in her company was to review solutions to this issue, and therefore they raised this issue with the Japanese team and various studies were conducted on this ground, said: "According to what was announced in the final report, the installation time for filtration in power plants has an economic justification when more than 72% of the operation time of power plants is consumed for burning fuel oil, and this is while the operation time of 14 power plants that use fuel oil is only one month or finally a month and a half in a year."
She added: "On the other hand, the fuel that has sulfur pollution, when leaving the power plants, the temperature decreases and causes cold corrosion, and the equipment of the power plant unit is damaged and corroded in the sulfuric acid path. In other words, when we operate power plants with fuel oil, we are constantly getting damaged."
The head of the HSE department of Thermal Power Plant Holding further state that the filtration equipment of power plants are of two categories, which are after-combustion and pre-combustion filtration; post-combustion equipment can be used in these power plants. Installation of filtration equipment do damage the power plant parts, but the type of contamination can be changed in some way. One type of this requires a significant amount of water. In the study, access to groundwater resources was investigated.
According to Jafarzadeh, considering that Iran is a semi-arid country, it was announced that there is no such water in the areas where these 14 power plants are located, for filtration equipment to be installed to prevent emission of pollutants, and finally it that was communicated to us that this is not possible, both economically and in terms of feasibility, technicality and performance, and this issue was also approved by the foreign experts.
She said that when this pollution is removed in refineries, the by-product left behind is some valuable sulfur compounds that can be sold as another product, adding: "But if filtration takes place in power plants in post-combustion mode, the product that is left is gypsum, which due to its large volume, will destroy the soil of every area it is accumulated."
According to Jafarzadeh, 9 refineries produce fuel oil and 14 power plants can consume it. There are also industries that can use fuel oil.
She stressed that consumers will not have a problem if the nine refineries are decontaminated, adding that the retirement plans of power plants that use fuel oil are on the agenda, and if development plans move towards a combined cycle, efficiency will also increase by about 60%, which will affect the emissions of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gases.
According to experts, with all the advantages and disadvantages of fuel oil, it seems that the issue of pollution these days in Tehran and metropolitan areas has little to do with the use of this petroleum product in power plants; because fuel oil is not used in any of the metropolitan power plants, and perhaps it is better for the authorities to work together to find the root of the problem and clean the black dust from the metropolitan sky.