Mitsubishi studying ammonia co-firing at coal plant

By Jack Burke12 December 2022

Will look at 30% ammonia co-firing at 758 MW coal-fired plant

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and Guacolda Energía SpA, an independent power producer (IPP) in Chile, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to begin a feasibility study for the introduction of ammonia co-firing at a coal-fired thermal power plant in Huasco, Atacama Region. (Image: MHI)

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plans to study introducing ammonia co-firing at a coal-fired thermal power plant in Chile.

The company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Guacolda Energia SpA, an independent power producer (IPP) in Chile, to begin the study for the introduction of ammonia co-firing at a coal-fired thermal at one of the company’s plants in the north of the country. The project is being undertaken in response to the global trend toward reducing CO2 emissions.

The signing ceremony was held at the Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Japan, the base for MHI’s steam power plant business. The executive team from Guacolda was led by Chairman Jorge Rodriguez, with MHI represented by Masahiko Hokano, Head of the Steam Power Maintenance Innovation (SPMI) Business Division.

The power plant that will be the site of the study is located in Huasco, Atacama Region, approximately 700 km north of the capital city of Santiago. The plant comprises five power generation units with a total output of 758 MW. MHI supplied the boiler, steam turbine, and other core facilities for this plant.

Under the feasibility study plan based on the MoU, MHI, with support from its power solutions brand Mitsubishi Power, will determine and conduct a study of supplying the ammonia burners and other boiler facilities and equipment necessary for ammonia co-firing. Phase 1, through 2024, will be a basic study for 30% ammonia co-firing to identify the problems involved. Phase 2, from 2025 to 2026, will be to consider solutions to the problems identified in Phase 1, and compile a detailed plan for demonstration of 30% ammonia co-firing. In the future, Guacolda aims to conduct demonstration testing at the plant and increase the co-firing rate.

Chile has set a target for carbon neutrality by 2050 and plans to increasingly incorporate non-conventional renewable energy sources into the Chilean electricity matrix. As a country with abundant renewable energy resources, Chile is considered to have high potential as a producer of green ammonia, and Guacolda is looking to ammonia co-firing as a means of cutting CO2 emissions and reducing its environmental load in order to maintain operations at its power plant. MHI’s position as the supplier of the core facilities of this power plant, and a leader in ammonia co-firing technologies, led to the conclusion of this MoU.

“A rational policy to reduce greenhouse gases should consider a gradual withdrawal from the use of fossil fuels, combining them with more climate-friendly energies such as green hydrogen, green ammonia and long-term storage technologies, in the most economical way possible but always safeguard the safety of the electrical system as a whole,” said Guacolda Chairman Jorge Rodriguez.

Going forward, building on the conclusion of this MoU, MHI will work offer the solutions for decarbonization and improved performance needed by IPPs and the entire power generation industry around the world, and will make a concerted effort to successfully complete this feasibility study, contributing to the stable supply of energy and the reducing of environmental loads.

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