Japan’s Jera, IHI start ammonia-coal co-firing trial

  • Market: Coal, Electricity, Fertilizers, Hydrogen
  • 02/04/24

Japan's largest power producer by capacity Jera and engineering firm IHI have started a demonstration of co-firing 20pc of fuel ammonia with coal at Jera's Hekinan power plant.

Testing the use of ammonia at the 1GW Hekinan No.4 coal-fired unit began on 1 April. Jera had expected to start the trial by 26 March at the earliest but pushed this back to after the end of March, citing more time needed to test run equipment ahead of the demonstration.

Jera has secured from Japanese trading house Mitsui around 40,000t of grey ammonia for the trial, which is scheduled to last until June 2024. Jera and IHI are looking to investigate nitrogen oxide emissions and confirm factors such as operability and the impact on boilers and ancillary equipment through the test burning.

The project is backed by state-owned research institute Nedo, with its support period from July 2021-March 2025. Jera and IHI are seeking to establish technology for the use of fuel ammonia in thermal power plants by March 2025. Jera aims to start commercial operations with a 20pc ammonia mixture in the April 2027-March 2028 fiscal year.

IHI plans to apply the knowledge through the demonstration to establish a 50pc or more ammonia co-firing technology and develop burners for 100pc ammonia combustion. Jera hopes to achieve a 50pc ammonia mixture on a commercial basis in the first half of the 2030s.

Jera is likely to import around 2mn t/yr of fuel ammonia in 2030, which could be nearly 70pc of Japan's current 2030 ammonia demand target of 3mn t/yr. To help meet the target, Jera is planning to buy up to 500,000 t/yr of blue ammonia from Norway-based fertilizer producer Yara and US ammonia producer CF Industries for the Hekinan No.4 unit.


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