JERA to start co-firing 20% grey hydrogen-based ammonia at coal-fired power station this month




Japanese power firm has inked deals for a million tonnes a year of clean NH3 supply from 2027


Japan’s largest power generator JERA is set to begin a government-funded trial to co-fire 20% ammonia in a coal-fired power plant later this month.


The NH3 will be combusted at the 1GW Unit 4 of Hekinan Thermal Power Station, in burners developed by engineering conglomerate IHI, from 26 March.


JERA signed a sales contract in June last year with fellow Japanese firm Mitsui for supply of grey ammonia — produced from fossil gas without carbon capture — during the trial.


However, the Japanese power generator has also signed memorandums of understanding with Yara and CF Industries for the supply of 500,000 tonnes a year each of blue or green ammonia from 2027, when it plans to extend the 20% co-firing from a trial to commercial operations.


JERA also plans to demonstrate 50% ammonia co-firing by March 2029.


Co-firing ammonia with coal as a “decarbonisation” measure has been strongly criticised by a number of analysts, who argue that in the strategy will ultimately prolong the lifetime of heavily-polluting coal-fired power plants, resulting in more emissions compared to rolling out renewables or even building new gas-fired units.


However, JERA has argued that since coal, oil and natural gas represent 80% of power generation, with the sector overall accounting for 40% of Japan’s emissions, co-firing represents a way to immediately reduce how much coal is burned by existing assets.


The Japanese government has already allocated JERA funding from ¥27.9bn ($187m) in subsidies earmarked for two demonstration projects aiming to burn at least 50% ammonia with coal at power plants by 2029.



Hot News

FuelCellChina Interviews