GE Technology Purifies Water at One of World's Largest Coal Power Plants

South Africa’s leading power provider, Eskom, will use GE’s innovative water and wastewater technology for the Kusile Power Plant, which, once fully operational, is expected to be one of the world’s largest coal-fired power plants. South Africa, at times known for often facing drought conditions, has limited freshwater supply, and GE’s technology will provide maximum water reuse for the plant.

Eskom’s coal-fired power plant is located in Nkangala district municipality within the Mpumalanga province. With water becoming an increasingly limited resource in South Africa, GE’s advanced water and wastewater equipment will filter approximately 250 million liters of water per day to be used in the power plant and will significantly reduce operating costs and increase efficiency.

“Reliable, continuous production of ultrapure water, treatment of wastewater and the ability to reuse water will be vitally important for the successful operation of our new Kusile Power Plant. We chose GE technology based on its extensive experience and ability to provide high quality water treatment options for power plants,” said Abram Masango, general manager of Eskom.

Under the terms of the contract, valued at over $40 million, GE will provide water treatment technology to engineering firm PD Naidoo and Associates (PDNA), the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, including boiler feed water treatment for ultrapure water, six condensate polishing plants and wastewater treatment.

“Under this EPC contract, PDNA will provide all engineering design, integration construction and monitoring functions to deliver this vital project to Eskom,” said Devan Govender, project director of PDNA Kusile Project.

The boiler feed water treatment will consist of ultrafiltration, cation exchange, degasification to remove carbon dioxide; anion exchange followed by a mixed bed polishing system and then a degasifier to remove oxygen. This system will produce ultrapure water suitable to feed a super critical boiler. In addition, GE is supplying six condensate polishing plant units, which will polish 1,760 tons per hour of condensate water. Finally, to treat the brine generated by the flue gas process, a two train evaporator and a crystallizer will convert brine to a dry salt suitable for disposal.

“As environmental regulations become more stringent so too does the need for more water conservation and reuse. Industry uses a great amount of water, and water is needed to generate energy,” said Jeff Connelly, vice president, engineered systems—water and process technologies for GE Power & Water. “Thus, power plants around the world including the Eskom Kusile Power Plant in South Africa have turned to GE’s innovative global water technologies to help meet their pressing water and wastewater needs.”

Eskom is a state-owned enterprise that generates approximately 95 percent of the electricity used in South Africa and approximately 47 percent of the electricity generated in Africa. Eskom generates, transmits and distributes electricity to industrial, mining, commercial, agricultural and residential customers and redistributors. Additional power stations and major power lines are being built to meet rising electricity demand in South Africa. Eskom will continue to focus on improving and strengthening its core business of electricity generation, transmission, trading and distribution.