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Japan Pioneers Ammonia-Coal Power to Cut Emissions

JERA's innovative technology blends ammonia with coal, aiming for cleaner energy and a sustainable future in power generation
t 9501.TSE c 9502.TSE Mid and Small Cap 2000
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Japan is embarking on a transformative journey in the energy sector, with JERA and IHI spearheading a pioneering initiative to blend ammonia with coal in power generation. This groundbreaking approach, set to commence at JERA’s Hekinan Thermal Power Station in Aichi Prefecture, marks a world-first endeavor aiming to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired plants significantly.

The initiative’s core advantage lies in its capacity to retrofit existing coal plants, offering a pragmatic bridge to cleaner energy. The strategy leverages ammonia’s carbon-free combustion, intending to replace 20% of coal usage initially, with aspirations to scale up to a 50% mix and eventually transition to 100% ammonia. This method could revolutionize power generation, providing a cleaner alternative while capitalizing on the current infrastructure, thereby economizing the transition for energy providers.

Preparatory efforts have been meticulous, with the installation of specialized equipment to handle the ammonia and modifications to the burners for the new fuel blend. The upcoming testing phase will evaluate the feasibility, safety, and environmental impact, with a keen focus on the technology’s scalability and the potential challenges of increased ammonia ratios and nitrous oxide emissions.

The implications of this technology extend beyond Japan, offering a model for Asian countries reliant on coal power. By demonstrating a viable path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining energy reliability, Japan positions itself as a leader in innovative energy solutions. The venture into ammonia-coal power generation reflects a commitment to sustainable energy evolution, aligning with global decarbonization goals and potentially transforming the energy landscape in coal-dependent regions.

JERA is a 50-50 joint venture between TEPCO Fuel & Power, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo Electric Power Company, and Chubu Electric Power.

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