EghtesadOnline: Isfahan Power Plant in the eponymous central province will soon get treated wastewater for its cooling towers, managing director of the provincial electric company said.
"The plant’s wastewater unit project has registered a work-in-progress rate of 70% and on completion will help save at least 5 billion cubic meters of water annually," Saeed Mohseni was quoted as saying by IRNA.
It will help increase the farming sector's water share in the central plateau which has been grappling with water paucity for long.
According to the official, the facility will treat effluents produced in nearby cities, namely Khomeini Shahr and Dorcheh, in two phases, Financial Tribune reported.
The plant has been given permits for building a 320-megawatt unit with hybrid cooling tower, for which a contract will be signed with MAPNA Group, Iran’s top engineering and energy company, based on the engineering, procurement and construction management framework.
Hybrid cooling towers represent a combination of wet and dry cooling while upholding stringent environmental standards.
According to Mohseni, Isfahan Power Plant was designed to use wet cooling towers, the water for which was supplied from Zayanderoud River (now dried up). The plant now must meet its water demand via wastewater treatment.
"The power plant faces serious challenges in generating electricity because river levels continue to recede," he said.
Years of sustainable power production notwithstanding, the plant’s output cannot be predicted accurately and electricity is produced in proportion to the amount of water received.”
Mandatory Wastewater Use
According to Energy Ministry news portal, as per a May directive issued by the ministry, it is mandatory for all thermal power plants to use reclaimed wastewater (instead of potable water) in their cooling towers.
Elaborating on long-term plans to replace water from wells, lakes and rivers in power plants with reclaimed wastewater, he said that the first treated wastewater project to supply water to cooling towers is being piloted in Hamadan’s Shahid Mofateh Thermal Power Plant.
Hamedan Regional Water Company and Bakhtar Regional Electricity Company, a subsidiary of government-affiliated Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir), signed a $5 million contract in 2015 according to which the former receives 15 million cubic meters of water a year.
Curbing water consumption is a compulsion, more so because Iran is grappling with disappearing underground water tables.
Ramin thermal power plant in Ahvaz in southwest Khuzestan Province will also be supplied treated wastewater for cooling towers.
A total of 123 thermal power plants are operational with the capacity to produce 65gigawatts.
UNESCO 2017 World Water Development Report says once treated, wastewater could be instrumental in meeting growing demand for water.
Environmentalists and experts say industries must soon shift to recycled water for heating and cooling instead of the scarce and costly potable water.
Reports say 216 wastewater treatment plants are operating in Iran with an annual output of 1.2 billion plus cubic meters of reclaimed wastewater.
Treated sewage mostly goes for agriculture (57%), and the rest is consumed in industries.