Japan’s JERA to procure 40,000 tonnes of ammonia for 20% co-combustion with coal by 2024-25


Strong points

Burn 200 tons of ammonia at unit No.5 Hekinan in August-December

JERA will market 20% of electricity supplied with ammonia by co-combustion by 2030

Ammonia is considered one of the zero emission fuels

Japan’s largest power generation company, JERA, plans to source between 30,000 and 40,000 tonnes of ammonia by fiscal year 2024-25 (April-March), as it begins to cook at 20 % its No. 4 1 GW coal-fired power plant at Hekinan Thermal Power in central Japan for a pilot project, a company spokesperson said on May 24.

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JERA said it will move forward to start a four-year pilot project to burn 20 percent ammonia at its Hekinan coal-fired power plant, as it pledges to market its power generation by co-combustion of ammonia by 2030.

Image courtesy of JERA

This decision follows the acceptance of its application for a joint grant with the IHI of Japan by the public organization for the development of new energies and industrial technologies to continue the pilot project, the first in the world to use a large power plant. commercial coal for co-combustion. ammonia.

The pilot project, which runs from June 2021 to March 2025, aims to implement ammonia co-combustion technology by co-combustion of coal and ammonia, as well as to assess both absorption heat output of the boiler and its environmental impact characteristics such as exhaust gases.

In addition to the planned demonstration of 20% ammonia co-combustion in Hekinan Unit 4, JERA and IHI plan to burn approximately 200 mt of ammonia for their co-combustion tests using burners of different materials at No.5 1 GW coal-fired unit of Hekinan thermal power plant in August-December 2021, the JERA spokesman said.

Carbon neutral

The start of 20% ammonia co-combustion with coal marks a step forward as JERA aims to start using 100% ammonia as fuel in the 2040s, as part of its carbon neutrality goal for 2050.

Ammonia – three atoms of hydrogen, one of nitrogen, and therefore about 18% hydrogen by weight – gives off no carbon emissions when burned in a thermal power plant. Ammonia is considered among the potential zero emission fuels for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

As part of a policy report published on February 8 by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan aims to introduce by 2030 3 million tonnes / year of combustible ammonia, i.e. the equivalent of 500,000 tonnes / year of hydrogen, lowering ammonia supply costs.

A 1 GW coal-fired power plant would need around 500,000 mt / year of ammonia for 20% co-combustion, which means that 3 million mt / year of ammonia consumption would require six 1-unit coal-fired units. GW, Ryo Minami, METI’s Managing Director of Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources told S&P Global Platts on January 8.

Japan has estimated its demand for combustible ammonia in the energy and maritime transport sectors at 30 million tonnes / year in 2050, or the equivalent of 5 million tonnes / year of hydrogen, after having introduced commercially in the 2020s by developing new supply chains.

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