Key Issues & Mandates

The philosophy of harmonizing People, Planet and Power has motivated NTPC to develop technologies for mitigating climate change due to power generation.

NETRA is engaged in the following key activities of research and technology development:

Development of pressure swing adsorption process for CO2 separation from flue gas

NETRA has developed a pressure swing adsorption (PSA) process through multi-institutional collaborative research for separation of CO2 from flue gas. PSA is a cyclic physical gas separation process where the CO2 is adsorbed on an adsorbent at higher pressure and then desorbed at lower pressure. The process is being developed as an alternative of the amine based absorption process which is cost and energy intensive.


CO2 utilization though conversion of CO2 to Bio-fuel

NETRA has taken the initiative for development of algae based process for mitigation of CO2 by converting it in to bio-fuel and other useful products though collaborative research. Some specific algae may contain up to 40% of lipids / bio-oil by weight. Algae may have lesser land footprint as algae generates 7-30 times more than conventional bio-oil plants. Both open pond and photo algal based process will be developed.

CO2 fixation by aqueous carbonation of fly ash

Allowing the reaction of waste material such as fly ash from a power plant with flue gas containing CO2 can lead to mineralization of calcium and oxide/silicate by converting them to carbonates. The calcium content in the fly ash at some NTPC stations is around 4 – 4.5%. This higher calcium content causes some operational problems such as scaling in pipes etc but can be advantageously used for mineralization reaction. Studies are being conducted to use this fly ash for reaction with plant flue gas. Besides utilization of CO2 it has other benefits such as neutralization of alkaline ash water with acidic gases, reduction in air pollution, lesser fugitive emissions, reduction in water and possibility of reduction in land required for ash disposal.

Developing Cement Free Green Concrete by converting Fly Ash into Geo-Polymers and Construction of Road

Development of Geopolymeric Cementitious Blocks through Utilization of Sea Sand and Sea Water for Potential Application at NTPC Simhadri

Study / Feasibility on Use of Bottom Ash as replacement to fine aggregates (Sand) in cement concrete.

Setting up og Light Weight aggregate Plant.

NETRA is committed to developing new technologies for better utilization & management of waste materials like effluent from power plant & municipal solid waste.

NETRA is engaged in the following key activities of research and technology development:

Total Waste Management for zero waste output from NTPC Townships

The municipal waste generation in India is growing at a rapid rate. At present, we generate around 65 million tonnes of MSW per annum, most of which goes to the landfill sites which generates methane and other greenhouse gases. NETRA is developing the solutions to have zero discharge of waste from NTPC Township by ensuring segregation of waste at source, converting the waste into energy and other useful products. The project will be taken up at pilot scale at first, and shall serve as a model to be replicated in different townships to have zero waste discharge.

Municipal Solid Waste Handling

NETRA is working towards finding the solutions to the problem of treatment of MSW by segregating the waste into Bio-degradable, Refuse Derive Fuel (RDF) / Waste Derived Fuel(WDF) and inert in centralized facilities so that the segregated components can find their respective uses. The RDF/WDF can be used as a fuel, the bio-degradable part can be converted to compost to be used in fertilizer industries, leaving inert which can be safely dumped into landfills without any adverse effects on the environment.

NETRA is also working on Plasma gasification for recovery of Energy from MSW due to its benefit that it can burn any waste with no harmful pollutants.

NETRA is exploring better technologies to generate power from new & renewable sources so that dependence on fossil fuels can be minimized and carbon emissions are reduced.

NETRA is engaged in the following key activities of research and technology development:

Solar Radiation Measurement Centre

One is at NTPC’s Greater NOIDA site and another is at NTPC’s existing power plant site based on remotely operated and monitored system.

Weather & Solar Radiation Measurement Centre

One Weather and Solar radiation measurement station in collaboration with DLR Germany and other Radiation measurement and analysis station are installed in house. Both stations are at NTPC’s Greater NOIDA site, and are based on remotely operated and monitored systems.


Solar Thermal HVAC System

It is integration of 2-axis tracking paraboloid concentrated solar thermal dishes with double effect Li-Br Vapour absorption technology for producing air conditioning.


Solar Thermal Cooking System

It is an all-weather Solar Thermal cooking solution for NTPC Dadri main plant canteen.  This system can cook in all three modes i.e boiling, frying and baking. This system aids in significant LPG saving.


Integrated Solar Thermal Hybrid System

NETRA is working towards Integration of Solar Thermal energy with Coal based conventional power plant for feed water heating at one of the NTPC stations

Indigenous CSP technologies

NETRA, along with a leading technical institute, is indigenously developing various CSP technologies (Heliostat, LFR, Thermal Energy Storage). A fully functional pilot plant shall be installed at NETRA.

Development of different types of bio-fuel to produce green and sustainable power.

Development and setting up of an integrated self powered bio-diesel plant [(1x24) kw and 110 litre/day Biodiesel] using plantations at NTPC Vindhyachal is being carried out.


Installation of Floating Solar PV Systems through development of indigenous floaters

In order to explore the options beyond conventional land based Solar PV plants, NTPC is venturing into the area of Floating PV systems, which could be installed in large reservoirs in NTPC plants. The first pilot system of 5kWp capacity has been successfully installed at NTPC Kayamkulam in Kerala on March ’16. The floating platform has been indigenously developed by NETRA, in collaboration with partner institute with an aim to reduce the cost of such systems. A scaled up system of 100 kWp based on learning from the pilot phase has been installed. MW scale installations are planned to be in execution in 2017.


Comparative studies of tracker based solar PV systems

NTPC so far has installed all conventional fixed ground mounted systems without tracking mechanism. Solar system with tracking mechanism generate more energy, but with additional cost and land requirement. It was therefore felt to carry out a techno- economics study of fixed and tracking based systems under identical conditions. To carry out the aforesaid studies a fixed, single axis tracker based & Dual axis tracker based PV systems (each of ~4.1 kWp capacity) have been installed at NETRA premise. A yearlong study has been started to be completed by July ’17 for an assessment of additional benefits of tracking systems.


Performance & Degradation studies in Solar PV plant

With large scale solar PV installation underway in a phased manner all over India and within NTPC as well, a need is being felt to create a framework for testing & performance assessment of Solar PV plants. In this direction NETRA has procured few outdoor testing instruments like portable I V Tracer, IR camera etc. and also an indoor high resolution Electroluminescence (EL) imaging system for detection of micro-cracks etc. Sample testing in one or two plants has been done. A collaborative project in this field is going on in collaboration with IIT Bombay.


Development, Fabrication, Supply and Testing of 500 W- 5h Soluble Lead Redox Flow Battery (SLFB) Storage

In order to cope up with the issues related to increasing penetration of renewable energy generators in the grid, NTPC is in process of development and deployment of the Grid scale energy storage systems. The major hurdle in the deployment of grid scale energy systems is the high capital cost of the system. NTPC NETRA is working in collaboration with IISc Bangalore to develop, fabricate, test and deploy Soluble Lead Redox Flow Battery (SLFB) system to provide cost effective, reliable, and efficient grid scale storage option.


Development of Intelligent Electronic Transformer (IET) with DC source interface.

As the centralized generating facilities are giving way to smaller, more distributed generation, so it is likely that future power generation and distribution will involve numerous distributed renewable energy sources and micro grids. In order to effectively interconnect power generation and energy storage into a grid or micro grid, intelligent energy management (IEM) is needed. IEM substations should have bi-directional energy flow control capability with intelligent control and communication interface. Clearly, traditional low frequency (50 Hz) distribution transformers are not capable for catering such demanding applications.

To meet the requirements of the future intelligent network management, NTPC NETRA is working on development of Intelligent Electronic transformer (IET), also known as a power electronic transformer or a solid state transformer that realizes voltage transformation, galvanic isolation, DC interconnection and power quality enhancements in a single device. Its role is to enable active management of distributed energy resources, energy storage devices and different types of loads (domestic or industrial) in the distribution grid. The basic idea behind the IET is to use a high frequency (f > 1 kHz) transformer instead of a traditional low frequency (50 Hz) distribution transformer. Increasing the frequency allows higher utilization of the magnetic core and reduction in the size of the transformer.

Solar Wind Hybrid Pilot Plant

Solar and wind power being infirm in nature impose certain challenges on grid security and stability. Studies revealed that solar and winds are almost complementary to each other and hybridization of two technologies would help in minimizing the variability apart from optimally utilizing the infrastructure including land and transmission system. A solar wind hybrid project has been envisaged as an R&D project by NTPC NETRA to access technical issues, O&M issues, grid issues and commercial issues with cost effectiveness of the system.

Multi-Technology Energy Storage Demonstration Project

NTPC NETRA is planning to install Multi-Technology grid scale storage plant at its 5MW PV Plant at Port Blair, Andaman in order to understand issues related to technology selection, contractual issues, O&M issues, and PV integration.


Robotic dry Cleaning system for 4 MW of Solar PV plant at NTPC Dadri

NTPC has installed 110 MWp solar PV plants at various locations and committed to install 15 GWp by 2020. The Solar PV plants require large quantity of water for the regular cleaning. A typical 5 MWp plant have around 21000 panels and require around 150 Cubic meter water for one cleaning cycle. With 120 cycle per annum, the total water required per annum would be 18000 cubic meter. With 15 GWp installation ( i.e around 300 times more) and with large installation coming up in Rajasthan area, the requirement of water will be very high and therefore water shall become premium commodity which requires to be conserve. Further effective cleaning of panel by daily cleaning of the panel, will reduce the soiling losses by 3-4% and therefore enhance the output of PV plant. NETRA is exploring various options for efficient and cost effective Solar PV module cleaning systems to preserve the water and also maximize the output of Solar PV with effective module cleaning. In this direction, Robotic dry cleaning system is found to be a feasible and cost effective solution. The Robotic dry cleaning system shall have many advantages such as Dry cleaning of Solar PV panel using robotic units without use of water, the robotic unit will not require any external source of power and is fully energy independent, Self Cleaning - Robotic unit performs auto cleaning of the micro fiber element upon completion of every cleaning descent and before.


Integration of Solar PV with Existing DC Charger at Unchahar

Schematic of integration of Solar PV system with DDCMIS charge

Installation of Solar Panels on TG roof

The project aims at integrating Solar PV system with DDCMIS battery charger at DC side. In this project Solar Panels are installed on the TG roof of Unit-4 and output of Solar panels are connected with DDCMIS charger. The project has many benefits like Utilization of TG roof, APC reduction, Reduction of carbon footprint, Energy generated by solar PV is directly used as DC without converting it into AC thereby saving on cost of inverter and Replication and Scale up of system: Once system is proven it can easily be scaled up and implemented in all NTPC plants to reduce APC.

It is an established fact that higher efficiency of fossil power plant equipment results in reduced carbon emission and reduction in cost of generation. NETRA is developing technologies for improving efficiency and reducing costs.

NETRA is engaged in the following key activities of research and technology development:


Experimental Studies in Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) Research

Cold fusion or Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) is a technology under research for achieving energy generated in sun and other stars in the solar system in a controlled manner for the use of mankind as it will not produce any dangerous nuclear wastes. These energy producing LENR devices use few grams of metals such as Nickel in the form of a specially prepared nano powder exposed to ordinary hydrogen gas along with some additives. The proposed project will study the feasibility of sustained occurrence of LENR in metal hydrogen systems.


Development of super-hydrophobic nano coatings for solar PV panel cleaning

Solar panel soiling (the accumulation of dust and sand) is one of the main efficiency drags for solar power plants, and with effective regular cleaning, soiling losses may reduce by 3-4%. NETRA is developing easy to apply super hydrophobic nano coating to achieve a lotus leaf like surface for easy cleaning of the PV panels with minimum water use.


VFD retrofitting in existing drives

Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) retrofitting in plant drives allows variable speed operation thus migration from energy consuming devices like throttled valve, dampers, guide vanes etc.

NETRA has successfully implemented retrofitting project in Cooling Tower system for fan speed regulations, raw water pumps at some of the NTPC stations. NETRA is also involved in VFD retrofitting in HT application like CEP & ID fans.


Setting up of smart Micro-grid at NETRA

Increased renewable penetration demands existence of microgrid managing active/reactive power balance at local level to the extent possible.

An innovative project in line of above target has been undertaken consisting of various sources like Grid, DG, Battery and Solar PV to take care of critical and non-critical 3-phase load. The complete system shall operate in auto mode without any interruption in PV generation in case of Grid fail; also PV system shall participate in reactive power exchange during off peak hours.


Online transformer oil reclamation

NETRA has developed an online process to receive oil from transformer and pump it back after removal of moisture, sludge, particles as well other dissolved gases. The process has been tried and properties of the oil resulting after 14 passes were found to be as per IS:335/IEC60296.


Installation of Phase measurement unit (PMU)

For Dynamic analysis of power systems PMU provides high sampled, synchronized electrical signal data from vast geographically located points hence time stamping is also must. A pilot project has been undertaken for installation of PMUs at four units located at RSTPS, VSTPS, NCPS & TSTPS. The data shall give us insight into behavior and response of individual generators during frequent cycling operations and grid disturbances as a result of Renewable Integration. This will also help in better generator damping behaviors by more effective PSS tuning.


Non-destructive assessment of high temperature Headers & pipelines (P22/P91 materials) using multi-NDE parameters

NETRA is using new tools such as NLU (Non-Linear Ultrasonics), PABI (Portable Automated Ball Indentation) and Magnetic techniques (MBE & MHL) along with conventional tools for in-situ creep damage assessment in high temperature pipes made of P22 & P91 material.


Weld inspection of boiler tubes using UTPA (Cobra-scanner) in lieu of radiography

Boiler tube weld inspection is presently being done by radiography which requires work area isolation and produces ionizing radiation. Hence ultrasonic phased array technology with suitable scanner can minimize the inspection time substantially, helping in faster erection of boiler tubes.


In-situ condition assessment of coating on Gas Turbine Blades/ Vanes through FSECT (Frequency Scanning Eddy Current Testing)

FSECT can be used to assess the conductivity of different layers in the MCrAlY coating over gas turbine blades, thickness of different layers in coating, condition of the beta layer. This coating assessment will help in optimisation of coating life, development of refurbishment interval of GT blades, quality assessment of coating of new or refurbished GT blades/ vanes, short-listing of coated blades/ vanes to run further.


Evaluation of weld defects in DMW joints for proposed AUSC boiler tubes

NETRA is developing technology to assess the microstructure of Dissimilar Metal Welds (DMW) and detect defects on the welds to meet the futuristic assessment needs of high temperature materials.


Flue Gas Heat Recovery System for Air-conditioning (FGHR-AC)

FGHR-AC process is designed to recover waste heat from exiting flue gas to produce air conditioning effect. A Pilot plant of 100TR capacity using the Li-Br cycle was installed in first phase. The scale up of this system to 400 TR capacities is being don


Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP)for Cooling/ Heating Application

The system can be used for cooling in summer and heating in winter with higher CoP, leading to 30-40% savings over conventional AC system. A 10 TR Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) System is being installed at NETRA for study of the closed loop and open loop technology for using ground as a heat sink or heat source rather than ambient air, thereby taking advantage of the undisturbed and renewable ground temperature of around 25-280C.


Multi-utility Heat Pump for Canteen Application

NETRA, along with a leading education institute, is in the process to design, develop, setup and demonstrate a Multi Utility Heat Pump for NETRA Canteen. The system will work in dual mode, i.e. cooling & heating as per season. In addition to air conditioning in canteen, the system will provide Hot RO water for cooking (800C), Hot water for utensil cleaning (600C), Cold water for drinking (150C) and Storage space cooling for safe storage of food items.


Development of stable nano-fluids for heat exchanger

Suspending nano particles in process fluids is an innovative way of improving the thermal conductivity of engineering fluids to enhance the heat transfer rates. The proposed project aims to develop energy efficient encapsulated phase change nano- particles and stable nano-fluid as coolants in power plants.


CFD Modeling studies

NETRA provides advanced scientific services to NTPC stations, as a result of which reduction in pressure drop has been achieved through insertion of CFD based optimized flow correcting elements (guide vanes etc), leading to reduction in erosion and power consumption of auxiliaries.


Coal Combustion Simulation for Boiler parametric study.

NETRA, in collaboration with NCL Pune, has carried out Boiler combustion studies for NTPC stations using CFD to assess combustion properties (temperature, velocity, species concentration, emission, particle trace) through out the boiler cross-section, thereby, providing tools for finding solutions for combustion optimization. Presently emission studies for NOx/SOx are being carried out with coal kinetics data derived from Simultaneous Thermal Analyzer.


CW Pumps vibration analysis and CW Intake system flow analysis

CFD analysis of CW sumps of a few NTPC stations indicated flow related abnormalities and vortices in the sump, leading to high vibrations in CW pumps. The findings were validated using scale down physical model of the sump. Based on above studies, modifications were carried out leading to reduction in resistance in water line and decrease in vibration.


Advance coal characterization

To evaluate coal kinetics at boiler combustion condition a Drop Tube Reactor (DTR) has been designed in collaboration with CPRI. The system is presently under erection and commissioning. Once commissioned it can be used tom evaluate coal/blend combustion efficiency, coal burning rate, ash deposition rate and ash characterization. The coal burning rate in DTR shall be correlated to heat release and temperature profile in the actual boiler giving velocity, temperature, species profile in the boiler


Centralized PV Forecasting Solution

NETRA has developed centralized Solar PV forecasting solution for NTPC solar PV units. It provides Day-ahead generation forecast to the operator.


NePPS (NTPC e-Power Plant Solution)

NePPS is a package of software products to cater power plant needs by providing Intelligent Solutions. It is fully In-house developed by capturing NTPC vast experience and expertise in Power Plant and reproduced it in a tangible, efficient and simplified form. It is a unified application for:

  • Efficiency improvement
  • Process optimization
  • Cost reduction
  • Operation assistance
  • Early Warning and Diagnostic

Development of Crawler for LTSH inspection:

Crawler for LTSH Tube inspection has been developed in collaboration with one of the IIT for visual inspection of LTSH Tube to check the surface erosions during overhauling of Plant. Crawler is essential as this is forbidden areas where a human being cannot reach due to space constraint to conduct visual inspection.


Development of Crawler for Water wall Tube inspection:

Crawler for Water wall Tube inspection has been developed in collaboration with one of the IIT for visual inspection of Water wall Tube to check the surface erosions during overhauling of Plant. Crawler is essential as this is forbidden areas where a human being cannot reach due to space constraint and height to conduct visual inspection.


Development of FBG based Fiber Optic vibration sensors for generator overhang Windings-

NETRA, in association with leading research institute is in the process of design and development of FBG based Fiber Optic vibration sensors which can be easily mounted on overhang windings for on line vibration monitoring. This will help in analyzing the winding looseness or resonance problem and mitigate any insulation failure.


Installation of blade vibration monitoring system for L.P. Turbine free standing blades

Blade Vibration Monitoring refers to measurements made on rotating machinery using sensors that do not make contact with the rotor blades. The sensors are placed on the casing of the LP turbine, just above the Last Stage Blades. Blade Vibration Monitoring System detects the presence of blade vibration in operating turbine using the Blade Tip-Timing technology.