The Hongsa Power Project is a mine-mouth power plant with an installed capacity of 1878 MW located near the Hongsa township some 30 km from the Thai border.
The coal to be burnt at the power plant is lignite with high moisture content, low sulphur content and moderate ash content. It was estimated that 2 to 3 million tonnes of fly ash would be produced annually.
The Government of Laos (GOL), one of the joint venture partners in the power plant development, had rights to the fly ash source and commissioned AECOM New Zealand to undertake a study to evaluate commercial opportunities. AECOM engaged Graeme Hastie as the Technical and Marketing consultant.
The primary aim of the study was to establish the commercial potential of the fly ash produced. Specific objectives of the study were to determine:
• suitable commercial applications for the fly ash;
• the size and potential profitability of the markets for the identified applications;
• marketing strategies that would maximise risk/return trade-off for GOL; and
• the preparation of a business plan for developing a commercial venture to promote and sell fly ash.
The likely performance of the fly ash was determined from the chemistry of the lignite coal.
Potential fly ash sales volume was based on current and forecast cement sales coupled with new industries demands. Forecast sales were found to correlate well with what happened in Thailand during the early stages of market development of the fly ash produced at the Mae Moh power plant.
Two weeks were spent in Vientiane, (Laos capital) evaluating market opportunities, educating government engineers, and having discussions with local cement and concrete producers.