Japan’s Okinawa Electric Power has announced its plans to conduct a trial of co-firing hydrogen at a commercial gas-fired power plant.
“The establishment of hydrogen co-firing technology is a key initiative that can help us achieve two goals: expanding renewable energy and slashing CO2 emissions,” said Hiroyuki Motonaga, president of Okinawa Electric Power Company.
The company intends to achieve a hydrogen co-firing rate of 30% at the Yoshinoura thermal power station, a 35-megawatt (mw) unit located in Okinawa. The trial is scheduled to begin in March and continue until sometime between April and September.
Okinawa Electric Power plans to utilize hydrogen by-products from local chemical plants as well as compressed hydrogen for the trial. If successful, the company will consider implementing hydrogen co-firing on a regular basis.
Currently, more than 90% of Okinawa Electric Power’s power sources are fossil fuels, primarily coal. Due to geographical and topographical constraints, the region does not have access to nuclear or hydroelectric power.
Okinawa Electric Power aims to reduce its emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. To achieve this target, the company plans to reduce coal usage and increase the utilization of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and renewable energy sources.
Japanese utilities are trying to slash CO2 emissions by mixing hydrogen and ammonia with fossil fuels in thermal power stations, but these new fuels are significantly more costly and have drawn criticism from climate activists who say it is a way to extend the usage of more polluting fossil fuels.