CPC touts plant utilization rate

State-run CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC) yesterday said that it has achieved a cold energy utilization rate of 63.5 percent at its Taichung liquefied natural gas (LNG) complex, and would continue exploring business opportunities with firms interested in using the clean energy to further boost utilization.

The LNG utilization rate has exceeded the minimum requirement, 48 percent, stipulated by the environmental impact assessment (EIA) committee last year, plant director Liou Jiuun-chang (劉俊昌) said while briefing committee members at the Environmental Protection Administration yesterday.

He said that CPC has been able to profit from an investment deal involving Blue Ocean Industrial to harvest cold air separated from LNG since 2012, adding that the amount of cold air the plant supplies to Blue Ocean, 85 tonnes per hour, accounts for about 40 percent of the overall amount of base-load LNG produced at the plant.

In addition, 50 tonnes of boil-off gas are reliquefied every hour through compressors utilizing LNG before being stored in three tanks at the facility, which contributes about 23.5 percent of the overall amount.

The plant plans to further boost its LNG utilization rate in 2018, when three more storage tanks for boil-off gas are scheduled to be completed.

However, Liou said that aside from the aforementioned projects, the corporation has met with many challenges in obtaining more business deals to market LNG, as potential partners are concerned about low economic efficiency, such as possible leakage while transporting the fuel, as well as safety concerns that might cause their projects to be rejected by the EIA committee.

Questioned by the committee about the prospects of establishing an LNG power plant in the complex, Liou said that the scenario would be unlikely unless utility prices are raised to at least 2.6 times the current rates, as such a facility must conform to guidelines stipulated by the US National Fire Protection Association, meaning the design must be able to withstand low temperatures and be resilient against explosions, thus making it costly.

“CPC already has an LNG power plant at its Yongan LNG complex in Kaohsiung, which has proven to be economically inefficient,” he said, adding that the Yongan plant was introduced as a proof-of-concept facility to emulate Japan’s LNG power generation capacity.

“CPC has deficits and must be prudent about its investments in cold energy,” he said.

Following a review, the committee gave CPC a conditional pass for a report on its LNG utilization rate, adding that it is to include details on its annual utilization goals and how it determined the numbers.

Source URL: Taipei Times