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JERA and IHI to demo ammonia co-firing at Japan’s largest coal-fired power plant

Japan-headed energy utility JERA Co., Inc. (JERA) and compatriot IHI Corporation (IHI) have received notice of acceptance of their joint grant application to conduct a demonstration project under the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) "Development of Technologies for Carbon Recycling and Next-Generation Thermal Power Generation / Research, Development and Demonstration of Technologies for Ammonia Co-Firing Thermal Power Generation" program.

JERA Co., Inc. (JERA) and IHI Corporation (IHI) have received notice of acceptance of their joint grant application to conduct a large-scale ammonia co-firing demonstration project at the 1 GW Unit 4 of JERA’s Hekinan Thermal Power Station in Hekinan City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan (image courtesy JERA).

Ammonia enables efficient, low-cost transport and storage of hydrogen. In addition to this role as an energy carrier, it can also be used directly as a fuel in thermal power generation. As a fuel that does not emit carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned, ammonia is expected to offer great advantages in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Demonstrate ammonia co-firing at scale

Looking to reduce future environmental impact, the demonstration project aims to establish ammonia co-firing technology by co-firing coal and ammonia at a large-scale commercial coal-fired power plant and evaluating both boiler heat absorption and environmental impact characteristics such as exhaust gases.

The project will run for approximately 4 years from June 2021 to March 2025.

In the project, JERA and IHI plan to demonstrate an ammonia co-firing rate of 20 percent at the 1 GW Unit 4 of JERA’s Hekinan Thermal Power Station in FY 2024.

With five units totaling 4.1 GW of power capacity, Hekinan Thermal Power Station is Japan’s largest coal-fired power plant.

JERA is in charge of ammonia procurement and construction of related facilities such as the storage tank and vaporizer, while IHI’s role is to develop the burners to be used in the demonstration. The two companies are moving forward with design and construction.

Notably, this is the world’s first demonstration project in which a large amount of ammonia will be co-fired in a large-scale commercial coal-fired power plant.

In addition, in order to ensure the reliability of high-volume ammonia co-firing, the two companies plan to verify the necessary parameters for developing the demonstration burners by conducting small-scale ammonia co-firing tests using burners of different materials at the 1 GW Unit 5 of the Hekinan Thermal Power Station from August to December 2021.

Multi-pronged decarbonization approach

Under its “JERA Zero CO2 Emissions 2050” objective, JERA has been working to reduce CO2 emissions from its domestic and overseas businesses to zero by 2050, promoting the adoption of greener fuels and pursuing thermal power that does not emit CO2 during power generation.

JERA will continue to contribute to energy industry decarbonization through its own proactive efforts to develop decarbonization technologies while ensuring economic rationality.

IHI is actively promoting the development of hydrogen and ammonia utilization technologies and the establishment of supply chains. IHI is also contributing to the realization of a CO2-free and recycling-oriented society by offering a variety of solutions for achieving carbon neutrality such as carbon recycling technologies for the effective use of CO2.

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