Electro Static Precipitator’s in India — that dedust about 65000 MWe capacity — have come a long way from their Western Pedigree. The imported designs mutated, prompted by the Indian coal/ash, which characterize uniquely- essentially high ash content of atypical composition and very high resistivity. Insufficient initial recognition of this aspect, incremental environmental consciousness and progressively deteriorating coal quality led to a convoluted and not so satisfactory ESP performance scenario in the country. Recognizing the need for organic interventions, NTPC undertook multiple studies and tests-backed up by a strong knowledge network- on almost all ESP performance enhancement options. While certain options are under extended observation, Flue Gas Conditioning (FGC) — based on encouraging test results and worldwide presence — is being inducted in some NTPC stations. Triggered by this broad-based program, FGC has started appearing front stage in India. This study visits aspects that make FGC attractive for Indian ESPs. Looking beyond the present, an attempt has been made to examine the potential of ESP-FGC combination as a dependable alternative for the long term. “Technology maturity”, “flexibility in space requirements” and the “blanket performance control” that FGC offers are the critical success factors. Implementation economics though unclear now, is complimented by the relatively low locked capital component, which FGC offers. It emerges that a sound theoretical base for the conditioning agent choice and its action on ash/ESP performance is missing and needs to be developed for a systematic development and spread. Technology initiatives are invited for this task. The paper, oriented as a comprehensive narration to act as a precursor to such developmental work, therefore picks up from ESP advent in India enumerating the key reasons for the pessimistic performance response through the key FGC application determinants.

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