Prime minister Narendra Modi’s determination to resolve India’s electricity problems represents good news for specialist engineering group Hayward Tyler, who this week announced being awarded a contract at NTPC’s super thermal plant in Korba, Chhattisgarh State.

Power Engineering International spoke to CEO, Ewan Lloyd-Baker, about the company’s 30-year association with the Indian power market.
Ewan Lloyd-Baker
The Indian power market from a conventional fossil power perspective is the third largest market in the world and a vital one for Hayward Tyler in terms of future growth opportunities. Lloyd-Baker says the extent of Modi’s plans look likely to see it surpass even China in terms of potential growth.

“India had been quiet over the last 18 months, partly due to political uncertainty prior to Modi being elected and a liquidity squeeze which meant big infrastructure projects were just not being invested in and there’s no doubt we are seeing a significant improvement post-election.”

“The confidence is evident for our customers and customers’ customers – the big boiler manufacturers and infrastructure players are committing funds. The encouraging thing on the back of a relatively small project won yesterday, is it shows an overall uptick in activity and it follows on another contract in March for an after-market order.”

The Hayward Tyler chief was referring to an aftermarket order for a value of over £0.5 million for spare motor and associated parts, announced midweek.

The group design, manufacture and service fluid-filled electric motors and pumps for performance-critical applications across the power market and has over 150 units installed at 26 of India’s largest thermal power stations that have a combined capacity of 31,500 MW, approximately 20 per cent of India’s coal-fired power generation.

While set against that impressive statistic, it appears small, Lloyd-Baker says the signs indicate plenty of business for such orders in the pipeline.

“I spoke to a number of colleagues at the POWER-GEN India and Central Asia exhibition in Delhi, the Indian power secretary was there along with the environment secretary and their speeches highlighted a desire for power for all – that’s over 260 million households 24/7. The only way they can do that is by building power stations and if you look at coal-based projects, they are going to form the backbone of that over the next 15 years.”

Another key motivation for the company in exhibiting at the POWER-GEN India conference was to showcase its capabilities in the nuclear space. A new nuclear treaty, which dealt with the area of liability, between India and the US is certain to encourage foreign investment in the country’s nuclear sector

“We are looking forward to the pipeline we’ve got and there seems to be a significant increase in the number of projects available to bid for over the next 12 to 24 months than there had been 12 months ago.”

Hayward Tyler has kept pace with the trend towards ever more modernized facilities, from the sub-critical to the ultra-super-critical, and its core expertise in boiler technology has proven adaptable to meeting the needs of larger, cleaner coal-fired power plants

It’s boiler circulating pump enables quicker boiler start up or increases the circulation or efficiency of the boiler once in operation. While a relatively small part of the overall boiler, it’s performance-critical as without it the boiler cannot activate.

“Our existing installed equipment market takes in South Africa, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and there it’s about extending the plant life and making sure the mean time between maintenance is as long as it can be for the plant operator.”

“The IGCC and synthetic gasification is making conventional power stations more efficient and that is where our motors and pumps are applied and we are doing that in conjunction with the likes of Alstom and BHEL.”

In Europe, one of the company’s main markets is Poland, whose government has announced it intends to modernize its existing fleet, rather than build new plant. However the failure to provide clear policy in other member states, such as the UK, has proven averse to investment planning.

“We won an order again recently in Poland at the 2.8 GW Kozenice plant so Europe is important but 75 per cent of new build fossil plant is going to be in China and India over the next 25 to 30 years.”

“Closer to home a frustration would be the failure to have a longer term energy policy mapped out. We are selling into power stations in India and China which admittedly can be built within five years but policies need to be determined – China has a five-year plan with, in effect, a10 -15-year planning horizon. It allows for proper discussions on when to invest and how to invest rather than just tying everything to the life of a political term.”
Barh II supercritical boiler project
Much publicity around the coal-fired sector in recent times has revolved around the prospect of dispensing with coal altogether. Several investment banks have publically announced decisions to no longer fund it, which indicates the strength of belief that the resource remains in the ground. Lloyd-Baker laments the lack of mature discussion on the subject.

“Often the whole debate tends to be very black or white. There is a grey area – if we no longer use coal-fired power generation we’ll have a period of time where we won’t have any electricity. So do you, the consumer and voter sign up to that? The argument is never quite framed in that way so the political side of it comes in and we are led to believe that we can have unlimited energy at a price we want to pay and that it’ll be good for the environment. Unfortunately we can’t do that overnight, we can’t do it in years, though we could possibly do it in decades. In the interim you have to have a balanced source of power.”

“We sell to companies building boilers into coal-fired power stations but if you look over the next 30 years, coal is declining as a percentage of the overall power mix but will be increasing in absolute terms. So the focus is on such technologies as carbon capture and storage which is still very nascent but is about making existing plant more efficient as well. We’re tying in with that trend but we are not wedding ourselves solely to coal, but also looking to gas and nuclear and closer to home, tidal.”

For more information on the company’s activities, including its work at Barh II supercritical boiler project (pictured above) see its case study page here.

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