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J-POWER looks to co-burn ammonia at Matsushima No. 2 coal-fired unit

Highlights

To start work on new gasification unit in 2024

J-POWER unveiled its 2050 carbon neutrality vision in Feb

Nishiokinoyama coal-fired power plant project cancelled

Tokyo — Japan's Electric Power Development Co. said April 16 that as part of its efforts towards carbon neutrality by 2050 it plans to start up a new gasification unit in fiscal 2026-27 at its 500 MW No. 2 coal-fired unit at the Matsushima thermal power plant to be able to co-burn biomass or ammonia.

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J-POWER said it has started its preparation for environmental impact assessment of adding a gasification unit at the Matsushima No. 2 coal-fired unit in Nagasaki prefecture in the southwest Japan.

Under the plan, J-POWER plans to start works on the gasification unit installation in fiscal 2024-25 in order to be able to start up the new unit in fiscal 2026-27 with an eye to co-burn with biomass and ammonia.

The move came after J-POWER in February announced its vision to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 by reducing its CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030 by actions including replacing coal-fired power plants with CO2-free hydrogen power plants.

2030 actions

Under the vision, J-POWER aims to cut 19 million mt of CO2 emissions from its domestic electricity business by 2030, compared to three-year average to fiscal 2019-20.

Among its 2030 actions plans, J-POWER intends to start transition from coal to hydrogen power generation by gradually phasing out its aged coal-fired power plants and add gasification units to existing plants to upcycle them as high-efficiency power generation systems using hydrogen to reduce CO2 emissions.

By fiscal 2025-26, J-POWER also intends to develop a new 1GW of renewable power generation capacity from fiscal 2017-18, including from offshore wind through its expertise in hydroelectric power, onshore wind and geothermal power.

Ammonia -- three hydrogen atoms and one nitrogen -- releases no carbon when combusted in a thermal power plant, making it one of zero emissions fuels that can help decarbonize thermal power generation.

Nishiokinoyama canceled

Separately, Yamaguchi-Ube Power Generation Co., in which J-POWER holds a 90% stake, said it has decided to cancel its 2015 plan to install the coal-fired power plant at Nishiokinoyama, Ube city, in Yamaguchi prefecture, western Japan.

Yamaguchi-Ube Power Generation Co., in which Ube Industries has a 10% stake, attributed the cancellation of the Nishiokinoyama power plant to its comprehensive judgment of business environments, including an outlook of flat electricity demand and expansion of renewable energy in the western Japan.

The Nishiokinoyama power plant had been initially planed to install two ultra-super critical coal-fired power generation units with a capacity of 600 MW each in 2026 at Ube Industries' site.

The plan had been changed to consider whether to install one 600 MW USC coal-fired plant and a few 300 MW-integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants since April 2019 after Osaka Gas decided to retreat from the project but a decision was yet to be made before cancellation.