By Mücella Ersoy
Chief Mining Engineer, Turkish Coal Enterprises (TKI)
Coal is Turkey’s most important domestic energy resource. Although the country has large reserves of low-grade lignite and some hard coal resources, its oil and natural gas resources are quite limited. In recent decades Turkey has relied less and less on its domestic resources, leading to concerns about the country’s energy security.
Turkey also has one of the fastest growing economies in the world due to a growing population and increasing industrialization. This has led to expanding energy demand, which increased by nearly a factor of six between 1970 and 2014.A,1,2 In 1970, the share of domestic resources in Turkey’s energy consumption was 77%. The high energy consumption rate, delays in realization of investments for domestic resources, and increasing imports of energy resources resulted in a reduction of 25% in the domestic share by 2014 (see Figure 1).
Coal’s share, including lignite, in Turkey’s total primary energy supply (TPES) decreased from 24% in 1970 to 13% in 2014. Since 1986, coal has accounted for more than 50% of domestic energy production (see Figure 1). In 2014, the TPES by fuel share (123,937 ktoe) was coal 29.1% (hard coal 16.3%, lignite 12.3%, asphaltite 0.3%, coke 0.2%), other solid fuels 4.9%, oil 26.2%, natural gas 32.4%, hydro 2.8%, geothermal 2.8%, wind 0.6%, solar 0.6%, biofuel 0.1%, and electricity 0.4%.
Turkey has one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Several recent energy strategy papers published in Turkey have focused on policies to reduce energy import dependency.3–5 A common theme among the papers is the importance of prioritizing the use of domestic resources, particularly lignite, for electricity generation. Several objectives were set that aim to reduce energy import dependency, including:
- Increasing domestic coal exploration
- Accelerating the installation of power plants using domestic lignite and clean coal technologies
- Maintaining the momentum of R&D on coal (particularly on coal gasification and liquid fuel production technologies)
- Improving investment incentives for coal-fired power plants
- Retrofitting existing coal-fired power plants
THE HISTORIC PRODUCTION, IMPORT, AND USE OF COAL
Hard coal reserves are concentrated in the Zonguldak Region on the western Black Sea with lignite reserves scattered throughout the country. Hard coal reserves were estimated at 1.3 Bt. As a result of increased exploration, lignite reserve estimates were increased from 8.3 Bt in 2005 to 15.7 Bt in 2015.B The largest lignite deposits are in Afsin-Elbistan, Konya-Karapinar, Eskisehir-Alpu, Afyon-Dinar, Manisa–Soma, Ankara-Cayirhan, and Kütahya-Tunçbilek, covering the Anatolian plateau from west to east (see Figure 2).
FIGURE 2. Coal basins and fields in Turkey6
Lignite gained prominence as a domestic energy resource in Turkey after the oil crisis in the 1970s. Lignite production increased from 14.5 Mt in 1980 to 42 Mt in 1986, principally to meet the demand of lignite-fired power plants installed during this period. Production reached a peak of 76.2 Mt in 2008 and then decreased. In 2014, 62.6 million tons of lignite were produced, which ranks Turkey as the fifth largest lignite producer country in the world.7 According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, lignite production decreased to 42 Mt tons in 2015.C,8 The decrease can be attributed to the closure of mines due to accidents and increasing operating costs. Hard coal production decreased from 4.6 Mt in 1970 to 2.2 Mt in 1995 and remains relatively unchanged with an annual production of around 2 Mt (see Figure 3).
FIGURE 3. Coal production and imports in Turkey (1970–2014)
In order for Turkey to meet domestic energy demand, it has been importing hard coal since the 1980s (30 Mt in 2014), mostly from Russia, Columbia, the U.S., South Africa, and Australia (see Figure 3). Hard coal is used for electricity generation, steelmaking, cement production, and heating, while lignite is mainly used for electricity generation and, on a minor scale, for heating and industrial purposes.
Reliance on imported coal has increased to meet the demands of new coal-fired power plants. Total coal consumption in 2014 was 97.2 Mt, of which 31.5 Mt was hard coal, 64.7 Mt lignite, 0.771 Mt asphaltite, and 0.347 Mt coke.
COAL USE FOR POWER GENERATION IN TURKEY
Table 1 shows the current operating status of coal-fired power plants in Turkey. In July 2016, 64 units in total (only those having generation capacity >100 MW are counted) were operating, 10 of which (3115 MW) belong to the state-owned electricity generation company, EUAS.
TABLE 1. Coal-fired power plants in Turkey ( >100 MW, end of July 2016)a
Notes. a Total coal-fired installed capacity bESP: electrostatic smoke precipitator. cFGD: flue gas desulfurization. dData for public and privatized domestic coal-fired power plants are from EUAS. Other data are from M. Basaran.9 ePC: pulverized combustion; fCFB: circulating fluidized bed.
As a part of creating a competitive energy market in Turkey, the privatization of power plants has been ongoing for several decades. Since 2013, 24 units of EUAS-owned coal-fired power plants (totaling 4302 MW) have been privatized.
In 2015, coal, including lignite and asphaltite, generated 28.5% of Turkey’s electricity (259.7 GWh). The share of lignite in electricity generation peaked at 47% in 1986. Domestic lignite demand for electricity generation has decreased due to an increase in the number of power stations relying on imported natural gas. However, between 2004 and 2009, lignite’s share of electricity increased to 20.1%, by commissioning of new domestic lignite-fired power stations at Can (2 x 160 MW) in 2003 and Elbistan B (4 x 360 MW) in 2009. Several domestic lignite-fired power plants are also currently under construction. From 2009 to the end of 2015, no additional power plants were commissioned and, as a result, power from lignite decreased to 12%.10 However, this may change with Tufanbeyli (3 x 150 MW), Bolu-Göynük (2 x 135 MW), and Yunus Emre (1 x 145 MW) starting operation at the end of 2015 and in 2016 (see Figures 4 and 5).
FIGURE 4. Installed capacity by fuel type in MW (July 2016, total installed capacity ˜77,000 MW)
FIGURE 5. Domestic and imported coal share in electricity generation in Turkey (1970–2015)
The use of imported coal for coal-fired power plants since 2004 has increased in order to meet power demand in Turkey. Due to the low prices of imported coal in comparison to natural gas, imported coal-fired power plant investments in Turkey are attractive for investors. The use of imported coal reached almost an equal share with lignite in 2013 and a higher share (15%) than lignite in 2015.
CLEAN COAL TECHNOLOGIES IN TURKEY
Clean coal technologies have been developed and deployed globally to reduce the environmental impact of coal utilization over the past 30 to 40 years. Initially, the focus was to reduce emissions of particulates, SO2, NOx, and mercury. Focus has now moved to the development and operation of low and near-zero GHG emission technologies, such as CO2 capture and storage (CCS).11
Key Drivers for Clean Coal Technologies in Turkey
The key drivers for clean coal technologies in Turkey include:
- Increasing the use of existing domestic coal resources for energy security
- Developing domestic coal technologies to reduce high-technology import dependency
- Competing with imported energy resources, such as natural gas
- Efficient use of low-quality coal to protect the environment and combat climate change
Climate Change Policy Measures
Turkey is a party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement. It submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) within the context of the Paris Agreement with an aim to reduce emissions by 21% from the current business-as-usual level by 2030.
Harmonization of Turkish legislation with EU legislation in the coal sector is also underway. In 2010, the EU Directive on Large Combustion Plants (LCPD) was harmonized, under which emission limits for both new and existing plants were established and put into effect in Turkey. A twinning project was also initiated to harmonize Turkey’s policies with those of the EU Industrial Emission Directive (2010/75/EU). Accordingly, LCPD emission limits were included in the Turkish Industrial Pollution Prevention and Control Directive (IPPC) at the end of 2014 and the LCPD was repealed. New coal-fired power plants must now comply with the commitments of the amended IPPC directive. By the end of 2019 existing public and privatized old subcritical coal power plants must also comply. Therefore there is a need for investment to retrofit them to comply with the new emission limits.
Efficiency Improvements for New Coal-Based Power Plants
Turkish policies support efficiency improvements for new domestic lignite coal use. Circulating fluidized beds (CFBs) are preferred for lignite and asphaltite power plants, as they are more readily able to comply with the emission limits of the amended IPPC directive. Efficiency improvements have several benefits:12
- Prolonging the life of coal reserves and resources by reducing consumption
- Reducing emissions of CO2 and conventional emissions (1% efficiency improvement provides 2.5% CO2 emission reduction)
- Increasing a plant’s power output
- Potentially reducing operating costs
Currently, 49 pulverized coal including lignite power plants are operating. A total of 41 units, or 9.5 GW, are subcritical and were installed prior to the LCPD Directive (2010). The remaining eight units (4.7 GW) use supercritical steam conditions with thermal efficiencies of 41–42%, and are already meeting emission limits.
Image of new built Bolu-Göynük (2 x 135 MW) lignite-fired power plant (Courtesy of Caner Sürmeli, Göynük Control Management, TKI)
Emission Control Technologies
The 1986 air quality directive established emission limits for SO2, NOx, and particulate matter (PM). As a result, new power plants were built with flue gas desulfurization (FGD). In addition, some older plants were retrofitted with FGD. Prior to 2010, NOx emission limits were met through the use of tangential burners in lignite-fired power plants.13 More stringent limits have resulted in the use of de-NOx technologies in new plants. Electrostatic smoke precipitators (ESP) are also used for mitigating PM emissions in all coal-fired power plants in Turkey (see Table 1).
250-kg/hr entrained bed gasifier
Coal upgrading includes coal washing, drying, and briquetting.11 In the last decade Turkey has increased its coal-washing capacity. State-owned coal-producing companies—TKI, EUAS, and Turkish Hard Coal Enterprises (TTK)—and their contractors have a total coal-washing capacity of 5780 tonnes/hr. A pilot-scale coal drying and enhancement (CDE) system was successfully designed, built, and tested at Afsin-Elbistan Power Plant. Tests have shown that the moisture in lignite has been reduced by 10% point and calorific value has been increased by 30%.14
Lignite Gasification Projects
Integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) is a promising technology based on its environmental performance, especially regarding the ability to carry out pre-combustion CO2 capture. IGCC plants also have very low SO2, NOx, PM, and mercury emissions. Although most IGCC studies have focused on bituminous coal, lignite has been successfully gasified.15
Turkey is involved in several R&D projects on lignite gasification, focused on investigating low-quality lignite gasification characteristics using different gasifiers. TKI and Hacettepe University in Ankara are part of the EU’s 7th FP project “Optimizing gasification of high-ash coal for electricity generation (OPTIMASH)” in collaboration with India, France, and Netherlands. That project aims to design, install, and test a 1-MWth IGCC plant in India using pressurized CFB technology operating at a pressure of 10 bar. Based on the success of this initial project, Turkey is considering funding a 10-MWth IGCC pilot plant.16
Other gasification projects include a pilot-scale (250 kg/hr) entrained-flow gasifier to produce methanol and a lab-scale (20 kg/hr) CFB gasifier in TKI’s Tunçbilek Area. A pilot-scale coal and biomass to liquids plant with 1.1-MWth capacity in TKI’s Soma Area and a lab-scale plasma-aided gasification facility are other ongoing projects.
CCS is also being investigated in Turkey. Several lignite gasification R&D projects have a CO2 capture component (e.g., liquid production from a coal and biomass blend project). There is also a project to assess CO2 storage potential in Turkey, as well as a modeling and prefeasibility study for injection of CO2 into an oil field.17,18
Turkish energy policies and strategies are driven by increasing energy demand and dependency on importing energy resources and technologies. Turkey has considerable low-quality lignite reserves. Continuing to use lignite will require clean coal technologies to comply with environmental regulations and climate change commitments.
The future of coal in Turkey will be driven by the domestic use of lignite. The Turkish government aims to continue to use lignite for power generation. This is evident in its commitment to further exploration, investment incentives, improving environmental regulations, and supporting research into more efficient use of lignite. In line with those goals, development and deployment of more efficient coal-fired power plants, and research on gasification and CCS, will continue to be pursued by the country.
The author wishes to thank Dr. İskender Gökalp for his valuable contributions to this article.
- A. The analysis in the article is based on the energy balance sheets of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MENR); all electricity generation data are from the Turkish Electricity Transmission Company (TEIAS) unless otherwise stated.
- B. The reserve classification system used in Turkey is exclusively based on the geological assessment; this means that not all of the reported reserve estimates are economically recoverable quantities.
- C. Production data for 1970–2014 are from MENR Energy Balance Sheets; 2015 production is taken from the provisional data from Turkish Statistical Institute.
- Republic of Turkey Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MENR). (n.d.). Yearly energy balance sheets of Turkey (1970–2014), www.eigm.gov.tr/en-US/Balance-Sheets
- Gökalp, İ., & Ersoy, M. (2009, October). Turkey sustainable coal techno-economic conditions. Proceedings of 11th Energy Congress, Izmir, Turkey.
- MENR. (2009, 21 May). Energy Market and Energy Security Strategy Paper [in Turkish], www.enerji.gov.tr/File/?path=ROOT%2F1%2FDocuments%2FBelge%2FArz_Guvenligi_Strateji_Belgesi.pdf
- Republic of Turkey Ministry of Development. (2014). The Tenth Development Plan (2014–2018), www.mod.gov.tr/Lists/RecentPublications/Attachments/75/The%20Tenth%20Development%20Plan%20(2014-2018).pdf
- MENR. (2015). The strategic plans of MENR (2015–2019) [in Turkish], sp.enerji.gov.tr/ETKB_2015_2019_Stratejik_Plani.pdf
- Şengüler, İ., Kara, İ., Bulut, Y., Yapıcı, E., Karabağ, E., Taka, M., Özdemir, M., & Dümenci, S. (2015). Coal exploration in Turkey: MTA projects and new discovered lignite fields. INERMA-2015, International Energy Raw Materials and Energy Summit, 1–3 October, İstanbul.
- International Energy Agency (IEA). (2015). Statistics “coal information,”, Part II, p. II.6.
- Turkish Statistical Institute. (2015). Table 1. Solid fuels quantity production, import, export, deliveries, stock exchanges, www.turkstat.gov.tr/PreHaberBultenleri.do?id=21561
- Basaran, M. (2013). Coal fired power plants in Turkey. Panel on Coal-Fired Power Plants and Investment Models. METU Alumni Association, 23 February, Ankara, Turkey.
- Turkish Electricity Transmission Company (TEIAS). (n.d.). Turkish electricity generation—Transmission statistics [1970–2014], www.teias.gov.tr/istatistikler.aspx and (2015-2016) www.teias.gov.tr/yukdagitim/kuruluguc.xls
- IEA Coal Industry Advisory Board. (2008). Clean coal technologies: Accelerating commercial and policy drivers for deployment, www.iea.org/ciab/papers/clean_coal_ciab_2008.pdf
- IEA Coal Industry Advisory Board. (2010). Power generation from coal: Measuring and reporting efficiency performance and CO2 emissions, www.iea.org/ciab/papers/power_generation_from_coal.pdf
- ünver, Ö., Tüzüner S., Başaran M., Ersoy, M., Ercan, N., Gürkan, M., & Gürkan, S. (2010). Clean coal technologies [in Turkish]. WEC/Turkish National Committee publication.
- Bilirgen, H., Bilirgen, F., & Karadut, M. (2015, May). Field performance tests of an innovative coal drying and enhancement system at Afsin-Elbistan Power Plant. Presented at 21st ICCI 2015, Istanbul, Turkey.
- Orhan, E.C., Gulcan, E., Gulsoy, O., Ergun,L., Can,.M., & Ersoy,.M. (2015). Strategies for modelling and simulation aided design of a coal washing plant for gasifier feed preparation. Presentation at 32nd Annual Pittsburgh Coal Conference, 5–8 October, Pittsburgh, U.S.
- Gökalp, İ., & Ersoy, M. (2012). OPTIMASH project: A technological option for electricity generation from Turkish lignites. World Energy Council Turkish National Committee, Proceedings of 12th Energy Congress, 14–16 November, Ankara.
- Ersoy, M. (2009, 27 October). Overview of CCS situation of Turkey. EU-European Technology Platform for Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants (ZEP) 16. Government Group Meeting, Brussels.
- Okandan, E., Karakece,Y., Cetin, H.,Topkaya, İ., Parlaktuna, M., Akin, S., Bulbul, S., Dalha, C., Anbar, S., Cetinkaya, C., Ermis, I., Yilmaz, M., Ustun, V., Yapan, K., Erten, A.T., Demiralin, Y., & Akalan, E. (2011). Assessment of CO2 storage potential in Turkey, modeling and a prefeasibility study for injection into an oil field. Energy Procedia, 4, 4849–4856.
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