Power plant industry or also known as power generation is an important industry which as been considered as the backbone of the growth and functioning economy of a nation. Overall, the industry covers generation, transmission, distribution and sale of the generated electricity for the use of other industry and public users. It all began when electricity was produced for the purpose of electric lighting in the year of 1882. Due to the growth of economy and safety concerns of this industry during the 1880’s to 1890’s, it has lead to the regulation of the industry.
Once considered as an expensive and limited only to the rich and royalty, in this modern era it has been an essential aspect for normal operation of all elements in developing economy.
(The flow from generation, transmission and distribution)
Electricity, had been known a reaction of chemical reaction in an electrolytic cell since Alessandro Volta invent the voltaic pile in the 1800. The production of it still expensive and in 1831, Michael Faraday developed a machine that produce electricity from rotary motion.
But only after 50 years that the technology reach a commercially viable stage. There are two types in order to generate electricity which is thermal and hydroelectric generation.
Thermal power plant requires the combustion of fossil fuels like coal, oil, gas, wood and even through nuclear reaction. The way it works is that through the combustion of this fossil fuels in a boiler creates heat energy which then heated water change its liquid state to gas known as steam. The steam produce spins off a steam turbine that drives an electrical generator. After it passes through the turbine, the steam is condensed and recycle to where it was heated, the process is called Rankine Cycle.
(THERMAL GENERATION PROCESS)
This type of producing electric is considered as an alternative option for much more green and environment save to replace thermal combustion to the uses of a dam on a river to store water in a reservoir. From the reservoir, water been released through a turbine spinning it off which then activates a generator.
TENAGA NASIONAL BERHAD
In 1949 it was known as Central Electricity Board (CEB), but in 1965 it was renamed as National Electricity Board (NEB). The board was making a remarkable profit however due the fact that some of their loans became much heavier to be held due the need to expansion. The fourth Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad announced that it will be privatise and fully owned by the government. It was a move to met a goals set in the New Economic Policy (NEP) and in 4 May 1988 it was finalise the privatise of the NEB. In 1 September 1990, the Prime Minister officially proclaimed Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) as the heir successor of NEB.
( CBE & NEB) (TNB)
The generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity has been solely done by TNB, with their Thermal and hydroelectric generation in the Peninsular of Malaysia. But TNB had been planning to include the first nuclear power plant in Malaysia by the year of 2025 if the government ever wanting to include it as an acceptable energy option. The company not just as a power generation company but also open to consultancy services, architectural, civil and electrical engineering works and services, repair and maintenance services, fuel undertakes research and development, project management services and also offers higher education through their university, University Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN).
Through the use of coal in thermal combustion, it produces and releases mercury. Mercury is a natural element and can be found in coal. Mercury, a metal element, exist naturally most notably in the ocean. Atomic symbol is Hg, number 80 and weight 200.59, a heavy silvery white metal, liquid state in room temperature, a poor heat conductor but a fair conductor of electricity.
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), Chemical Safety Data Sheet (CSDS), Risk Phrases and Inspection & Compliance Service Card (ICS) can be refer to appendix 1.
ROUTE OF ENTRY
Over time, boilers will build up ash that form slag deposits on the boiler. The slag act as an insulation that protects the tube from the heat thus making the boiler efficiency during combustion decreases. It needs to be clean, during this time of process, workers are expose especially through inhalation of the ash or mercury vapour in the air during the cleaning process.
(CLEANING PROCESS OF A BOILER)
(ROUTE OF ENTRY)
TOXICOKINETICS OF MERCURY
The definition of toxicokinetics means the study of how a substance gets into a body and what happen to it in the body. In order to get an adequate data or information, the study rules out steps which is absorption, distribution, biotransformation or metabolism and excretion. The range of mercury contain in coal are between 0.12 to 0.28 µg/g. However, after combustion, in the form of ash, the mercury concentration is at 0.05 µ/g but the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for mercury are 0.025 mg/m?. Only 0.01 µ/g entered our body during inhalation which is far too low to have an acute effect to an individual. In terms of chronic effects, it does cause a lot of damage over time if the exposure time and frequency are prolonged. Upon entering, mercury vapour has great affinity for sulfhydryl groups and bonds to sulfur-containing amino acids throughout the body. The vapour transported to the brain, either dissolved in serum or adherent to red cell membranes. Excretion of mercury compound happen 90% being excreted in stool. But in the process of exhalation, only 3% is excreted, while the rest may continuously circulating in the body or even build up in lungs overtime if exposure continue and can inflict unwanted diseases. Below are the comparison of a healthy lung and a lung that has been expose to mercury over prolonged time.
Every factory of Coal based power plant releases mercury into the air from their smoke chamber, when this happen it will end up to mix with the atmosphere and in water. A problematic scenario when mercury vapour mix up with water vapour that forms at the atmosphere to produce rain, thus making the spreading of mercury much more wider to general public and even into our food chain especially fish in the ocean where from small organisms to larger creature are affected. Plants also be affected due to absorption of water through their roots which then been consumed by herbivores animal continuously to the predators until it reach us human where we consume fish, some herbivores animals and plants.
It is important that the exposure and frequency of exposure of the workers towards mercury are minimise under the PEL which is 0.025 µg/g for an 8 hour period. Ensuring their exposure can be reduce, there are few step that can be done in Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Risk Control (HIRARC) which follow the steps from elimination, substitution, isolation, engineering, administration and personnel protective gear.
Eliminate any thermal generation power plant by replacing it with more eco friendly power plant like windmill, solar power, tidal & wave power and hydroelectric which do not produce pollution as much as thermal power plant.
Instead of using coal, change to different type of material like oil and natural gas where it contains less mercury within the operations and safety and health limits.
The segregation of mercury related task from others by distance or physical barriers, warning signage made available as restricted area and barricade it. Only competent person have entry access.
The use of Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV), hopper to remove activated carbon contaminated with mercury, closed system sampling point, sampling points supplied with cover, regular inspection and testing of machinery especially the boiler, immediate repair when there is a breakdown or leakage and retesting after any repair work been done.
Mercury risk assessment, exposure monitoring, health surveillance of employee, mercury decontamination which is a proper way to coal dust or ashes, safe system of work which include permit and job hazard analysis, provide training classes and awareness among employees, warning signage in the plant especially the mercury related task area, proper practice of hygiene like washing hands properly before eating and remove contaminated working attire prior to leaving the area and providing sufficient facilities for employee to take care of their hygiene like a changing room and restroom.
PERSONNEL PROTECTIVE GEAR
Equip employee with protective clothing like a suit, coveralls, hoods, gloves and boots. Respiratory equipment which is self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), combination SCBA and supplied air respirator (SAR) and air purifying respirator. Suit installed with cooling system ice vest or air circulation. Head protection which is the helmet. Eye protection which is may incorporated with the respirator.
Although it is not common and possibly rare for mercury to cause any acute effects on individual, it surely do brings a lot of chronic effects especially to those who are expose to it every day. It is considered dangerous because the toxicity of mercury target specific organ of the human body which can cause a lot of suffering towards an individual.
Cite this essay
Power Plant Industry. (2019, Nov 25). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/power-plant-industry-essay