Start of Demonstration Testing at JERA’s Hekinan Thermal Power Station

Source: 4/1/2024, Location: Asia

JERA Co., Inc. (“JERA”) and IHI Corporation (“IHI”) are working together on the "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" project (“the Project”), subsidized by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). Under the Project, JERA and IHI today began, at JERA’s Hekinan Thermal Power Station in Hekinan City, Aichi Prefecture, the world’s first demonstration testing of large-volume fuel ammonia substitution (20% of heating value) at a large-scale commercial coal-fired thermal power plant. This demonstration testing is planned to be carried out through June 2024.

Ammonia is an efficient, low-cost means of transporting and storing hydrogen. In addition to the role as an energy carrier, it can also be used directly as a fuel in thermal power generation. Because it does not emit carbon dioxide when burned, fuel ammonia has the major advantage of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Project*1 is important as it may offer a low-cost first step to quickly advance the decarbonization in countries like Japan that need thermal power generation as an adjustable power source to ensure a stable supply of energy.

2.Overview of Demonstration Testing
Looking to reduce future environmental impact, the Project aims to establish ammonia substitution technology by substituting fuel with 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 period is scheduled for approximately 4 years from July 2021 through March 2025.

Since October 2022, JERA and IHI have been moving forward in constructing the burners, tank, vaporizer, piping, and other facilities necessary for demonstration testing fuel ammonia substitution at JERA’s Hekinan Thermal Power Station.

IHI has developed a test burner*2 based on the results of small-volume testing of fuel ammonia at the power station’s Unit 5, and JERA has prepared safety measures and an operational framework for the use of fuel ammonia at the power station*3.

With such preparations in place, the demonstration testing of large-volume fuel ammonia substitution began today at the power station’s Unit 4. The demonstration testing will look at characteristics of the plant overall, investigating nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and confirming factors such as operability and the impact on boilers and ancillary equipment.

3.Future Plans
JERA and IHI, by addressing issues raised through the demonstration testing, will seek to establish, technology for the use of fuel ammonia in thermal power generation with a view toward mainstreaming in society by March 2025.

Based on the current demonstration testing, JERA will begin commercial operation of large-volume fuel ammonia substitution (20% of heating value) at Unit 4 of JERA’s Hekinan Thermal Power Station. By establishing the technology for ammonia substitution, JERA will offer a clean energy supply platform that combines renewable energy with low-carbon thermal power, contributing to the healthy growth and development of Asia and the world.

In addition to steadily carrying out the current demonstration testing, IHI will apply the knowledges gained through the Project to establish technology for high-ratio combustion of 50% ammonia or more at thermal power plants and to develop burners for 100% ammonia combustion, deploying the results of the demonstration testing to other thermal power plants in Japan and overseas will contribute to global decarbonization through fuel ammonia.

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