Jera launches hydrogen pilot project in Japan to replace LNG in power generation


Jera Co. Inc., Japan’s largest electricity company, on Thursday announced plans to launch a government-backed pilot project that could help replace 30% of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) used to generate electricity. electricity, hydrogen being provided at a selected power. plant.

The government grant would help finance the switch to hydrogen for some of the fuel used in an unspecified large-scale LNG thermal power plant. Jera aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions across all of its operations. It plans to gradually increase the use of hydrogen and ammonia in its facilities. LNG is used to generate 71% of the company’s electricity.

Hydrogen would be introduced later this year. Jera said he would assess the operational and environmental performance of the fuel from October to March 2025. The results could help inform Jera’s goal of building a hydrogen supply and related facilities, as well as combustion chambers that could co-fuel hydrogen and natural gas, at the power plant and replace 30% of the LNG used with hydrogen by FY (FY) 2025.

The company received the grant from the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), which provided the $ 18 billion Green Innovation Fund. The program aims to help the country achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Jera’s initiative would be the first in Japan to use a large amount of hydrogen as fuel in large-scale commercial operations of LNG thermal power plants.

Kansai Electric Power Co. also announced the award of a NEDO grant on Thursday. The project would help demonstrate hydrogen production using natural gas turbines over a six-year period until fiscal 2026.

For decades, Japan has been the world’s largest importer of LNG. A draft energy plan released in July would see the country reduce the share of fossil fuels in its energy mix from 76% in 2019 to 41% in 2030. About half of the new target is expected to be supplied by natural gas. While the viability of the plan has been under scrutiny, it could have a significant impact on the global LNG trade.

Asia has been a top destination for U.S. LNG cargoes this year, accounting for 41.2% of all exports through June, according to NGI data. Japan and China each received 57 shipments during this period, just behind South Korea, which imported 66.5 shipments.

The new Japanese plan sets a target of 20 to 22% for the share of nuclear power in the electricity mix, which is unchanged from the previous targets. It also leaves room for hydrogen and ammonia, which only make up 1% of the national energy mix, suggesting that future next-generation fuels could play a bigger role after 2030.

Two types of hydrogen are targeted to help with the energy transition. Blue hydrogen is extracted from fossil fuels, with emissions eliminated through carbon capture technology. Green hydrogen is made using renewable energy to split water through electrolysis which ultimately produces an emission-free product.

The hydrogen import and export infrastructure is still in the very early stages of development across the world. Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. launched the world’s first liquefied hydrogen vessel in 2019 and completed the world’s first liquefied hydrogen receiving terminal in Japan for research purposes in 2020.

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