Ammonia test at power plant speeded up

By Jack Burke31 May 2022

Plan to co-fire large volume of ammonia

Japan’s IHI Corp. and power company JERA said they are accelerating plans to test co-firing ammonia in a demonstration project at Hekinan Thermal Power Station.

Since  2021, the two companies have been conducting a demonstration project to establish technology for the large-volume co-firing of fuel ammonia at the power station.

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 when burned, ammonia is expected to offer great advantages in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the companies said.

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 four years.

In the project, JERA and IHI plan to demonstrate an ammonia co-firing rate of 20% at Unit 4 of JERA’s Hekinan Thermal Power Station (power generation capacity: 1GW). 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.

According to the companies, 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.

The companies said the project could be the first step toward rapid decarbonization at low cost for countries like Japan that need thermal power generation. In order to establish the technology as quickly as possible, JERA and IHI have been working to shorten the installation period for the burners, tank, pipes, and other equipment required for the Project. With these adjustments complete, and in light of the steady progress made by the project, JERA and IHI have decided to move up the start of large-volume co-firing of fuel ammonia (20% of heating value) at Unit 4 of the power station by approximately one year, to 2023.

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 said it is actively promoting the development of hydrogen- and ammonia-utilization technologies and the establishment of related 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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