ABOITIZ Power Corp. (AboitizPower), through its wholly owned geothermal subsidiary AP Renewables, Inc. (APRI), presented on Thursday the successfully restored 6-megawatt (MW) Binary Plant 1 at its Makiling-Banahaw (MakBan) geothermal facility in Barangay Sta. Elena, Sto. Tomas, Batangas.
“It took us more than a year to complete the restoration, but we were able to add 6 MW installed capacity of renewable energy to our facility, utilizing heat from geothermal byproducts and idle equipment,” APRI President and COO Felino Bernardo said.
“This plant shows our commitment to renewable energy, through our Cleanergy brand,” AboitizPower President and COO Antonio Moraza said during the presentation ceremony.
A binary plant maximizes the excess heat from the operation of the geothermal units to extract more energy. The plant uses two working fluids—hence the term binary—in the process of making power.
In APRI’s case, the fluids are geothermal brine and pentane, and its Binary Plant 1 utilizes excess heat from spent brine to generate clean and renewable energy for the Luzon Grid.
Geothermal energy comes from the heat of the earth. To harness this energy, holes are dilled into the earth to tap the steam from the geothermal reservoirs. At MakBan, the water in the reservoir that is not hot enough is fed into the binary plant to still generate electricity.
The Binary Plant 1 is one of three binary cycle power plants at the MakBan Geothermal Project Complex. The binary cycle plants were decommissioned in 2008. Of the three, only Binary 1 was found viable for rehabilitation.
The units remained idle until 2013 when APRI began to look at the possible restoration of these binary units. APRI recognized the value of this efficient process, which uses waste heat and is not dependent on the steam resources being used by the main facilities. In June 2015, it launched a restoration effort.
The rehabilitation was successfully completed by July 2016 and 6 MW of additional renewable capacity has been added to the grid.
The total budget of the restoration was P130.7 million but the actual expense was only P107 million.
“We have always emphasized that AboitizPower will continue to pursue renewable energy projects for as long as it is sensible and cost-effective for our customers and for us. As we grow our portfolio of power plants, we will always strive to achieve a balance between renewable and conventional energy sources,” Moraza said.