Japan's largest power generation company JERA said Aug. 26 it plans to switch about 30% of LNG used for electricity generation, or about 10% heating value, to hydrogen at a gas-fired power plant in fiscal year 2025-26 (April-March) as part of a government-funded pilot project.
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JERA's move for what would be Japan's first use of a large amount of hydrogen at a large-scale commercial gas-fired power plant comes as it was awarded a grant from the state-owned New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, or NEDO.
The grant is part of the government's Yen 2 trillion ($18.2 billion) green innovation fund disbursed through the NEDO, which supports Japanese companies over the next 10 years to accelerate their efforts toward the country's 2050 carbon neutrality target.
During the pilot project to March 2026 from October, JERA will switch a part of its LNG use to hydrogen, a prospective next-generation fuel which does not emit CO2 when combusted, at its large scale gas-fired power plant and evaluate operational and environmental characteristics.
Following results of a feasibility study in the early stage of the pilot project, JERA will construct hydrogen supply facilities and other related facilities as well as installing combustors capable of co-firing hydrogen and LNG in its gas turbines at its gas-fired power plant to conduct the hydrogen-fired power generation in FY 2025-26.
In a separate statement Aug. 26, Kansai Electric said it was also awarded a NEDO fund to conduct what would be its first demonstration of mono-burning of hydrogen, using gas turbines at its existing thermal power plant during a six-year long pilot project to FY 2026-27.
Kansai Electric's project aims to establish its operational technology covering hydrogen's receipt, storage and power generation to realize co-burning and mono-burning of hydrogen at its existing gas turbine.
The demonstration of hydrogen burning for thermal power generation would start in FY 2025-26, following a series of feasibility study, detailed plannings to consider solutions for technological issues as well as a degree of conversions needed at is existing facility.
Under a draft of the Strategic Energy Plan, the country's principle energy policy, Japan intends to introduce 1% of hydrogen/ammonia in its power generation fuel mix by FY 2030-31, when it also aims to introduce 30% co-burning of hydrogen at gas-fired power plants or mono-burning of hydrogen for power generation as well as introducing 20% co-burning of ammonia at coal-fired power plants.