Update from our mission to Jakarta and Indonesia

Save the date for July 2023!

The ICSC has been working on capacity building for mercury reduction from the Indonesian coal fleet under a grant from the USDOS. In Phase 1 of the work mercury emissions from every coal-fired utility unit >100 MW in Indonesia were evaluated on a unit-by-unit basis.

It became evident that fewer than 15 units out of more than 100 are responsible for around 50% of the total mercury emissions from the whole sector, based on the remaining plant lifetime.

The data are now being used to inform stakeholders (government, regulators, and utilities) on cost-effective strategies for emissions reduction across the fleet. The report from Phase 1 is available to download here.

Phase 2 is proceeding, focussing on developing a ‘catalogue’ of options for mercury reduction at typical Indonesian coal plants. Information for this catalogue will be gathered via a call for proposals from technology providers; the plan is that some of these units will have the potential to form the basis of full-scale mercury reduction projects. This call for proposals will be issued in March 2023.

Our aim is therefore to create a series of options for cost-effective mercury emission reduction from coal utility plants in Indonesia, leveraging co-benefit effects as much as possible. The Indonesian Government has already indicated that they plan to use the catalogue to inform the Minamata Compliance strategy for the Indonesian coal fleet. The catalogue could include wide-ranging options, such as:

  • Fuel switching and blending
  • Biomass cofiring
  • Plant upgrading
  • Installation of pollution control technologies – low NOx burners, flue gas desulphurisation (FGD), selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and/or sorbent injection
  • Advanced multipollutant control systems, such as renewable activated carbon systems.

In preparation for producing the catalogue, the ICSC team visited Jakarta in January 2023 to talk to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the utilities themselves.

By far the largest sector represented at the events was utilities, which comprised around 70% of delegates. It was encouraging to see representation from many of the plants which were specifically named in the Phase 1 ranking report. Delegates were asked to provide insight into important issues relating to emission control and plant performance which would be pivotal in determining appropriate emission reduction strategies. Whilst the delegates in the room represented only a fraction of the entire Indonesian fleet, it was clear from the discussion that they were largely representative of the remainder of the coal capacity in Indonesia.

The main conclusions from this small survey were:

  • The majority of plants which have installed NOx controls have installed low NOx burners. There do not appear to be any SCR systems in place in Indonesia as yet.
  • A small number of plants have FGD systems planned but a significantly higher proportion of the plants represented at the event were either using low-sulphur coals or limestone injection
  • None of the plants reported any indication of preparing a mercury reduction strategy.

It was interesting to discover that almost all plants represented are either trialling cofiring biomass or are planning to do so soon. Biomass cofiring can be effective for offsetting many pollutant emissions and can result in lower emissions of mercury. This can be maximised by monitoring biomass and coal characteristics and matching blends accordingly. However, it can also introduce operating challenges for the plants (such as fuel clogging and corrosion). One plant reported that it was planning to fire both biomass and refuse-derived fuel and another is planning to trial ammonia cofiring. These changes to the fuel characteristics of a plant could have a significant impact on emissions, including mercury, and so this option will be featured in our catalogue report.

When asked about mercury emission reduction from the coal sector, the audience ranked lack of knowledge and experience of the issue as the greatest barrier to implementation, followed by the economic challenge and concerns over maintaining plant output. Capacity building in this area would therefore be timely and welcome.

The final workshop event is planned for 10-14 July, JW Marriott Hotel, Jakarta (TBC)

Our project in Indonesia will conclude by presenting the catalogue of emission reduction strategies to stakeholders at a final workshop event to take place in Jakarta in July 2023. Delegates at the January 2023 event voted on the topics they would like prioritised for this event and the responses were as follows, in order of importance:

  • Multipollutant control strategies
  • Emission monitoring and mass balance studies
  • Fuel cleaning, blending and switching
  • Case studies and international success stories
  • Ash and waste management
  • Plant flexibility/efficiency

The final workshop is being planned accordingly. Our next actions are:

  • The Call for Proposals – will be issued by the ICSC in March 2023. All interested stakeholders will be invited to respond with suggestions and proposals which may be included in our ‘Catalogue for mercury emission reduction from the Indonesian coal utility fleet’.
  • Selected experts will be invited to present their proposals at the event in Jakarta in July.
  • The workshop will be open to all international stakeholders with an interest in reducing mercury emissions from the coal utility sector in regions such as Southeast Asia.