Large-Volume Ammonia Co-Firing Demonstration at JERA Coal Plant to Begin a Year Earlier. Japanese firms JERA—a joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and Chubu Electric—and IHI Corp. on May 31 announced a demonstration project to co-fire fuel ammonia (20% of heating value) at the coal-fired Unit 4 of the 4.1-GW Hekinan Thermal Power Station in Aichi Prefecture will begin in fiscal year 2023, a year earlier than originally planned. “The project is an important one that could be the first step toward rapid decarbonization at low cost for countries like Japan that need thermal power generation. Therefore, in order to establish the technology as quickly as possible, JERA and IHI have been working to shorten the installation period for the burners, tank, pipes, and other equipment required for the project,” the company said. JERA and IHI have so far wrapped up small-volume tests of fuel ammonia at Hekinan Unit 5, which began in October 2021 mainly to further development of a co-firing burner that will be used for large-volume utilization at Unit 4. The companies’ project schedule suggests first receipt of ammonia for the Unit 4 project will be in 2023. If the large-volume tests are successful, the project may be expanded. Japan’s national research agency New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) is backing a project to showcase a 50% ammonia co-firing rate at Unit 4 or 5 at the Hekinan plant by 2028. JERA is ultimately looking to shift its massive coal-fired fleet to 100% ammonia by 2050.

800-MW Kusile Coal-Fired Unit in South Africa Begins Commercial Operation. The 800-MW Unit 4 of Eskom’s coal-fired Kusile Power Station Project in South Africa’s Mpumalanga region on June 1 began commercial operation, marking the end of a five-month “vigorous” testing and optimization program. Unit 4 is the fourth unit completed at the six-unit 4.8-GW plant. Construction and commissioning activities on the remaining Kusile Units 5 and 6 continue to progress “according to plan,” Eskom said. Kusile is South Africa’s largest construction project and will be the world’s fourth largest coal plant at completion. The plant will also be South Africa and Africa’s first to use wet flue gas desulfurization (WFGD), a technology used to remove sulfur oxides from coal plant emissions. Eskom, which has grappled with repeated load-shedding events, hailed the unit’s commercial operation. “The Kusile project team and Eskom are working tirelessly to complete the rest of the project without any further delays as the country needs every megawatt of power it can get,” said Bheki Nxumalo, the Eskom Group Executive for Capital Projects.

EXERGY Cultivates Partnership for Geothermal Power Development in Japan. EXERGY, an Italian developer of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) systems, is teaming up with GPSS Group, a subsidiary of Japanese geothermal project developer Geothermal Development & Investment Inc. (GDI), for the exclusive distribution of turnkey geothermal power plants in Japan using EXERGY’s ORC technology. EXERGY, which has designed 450 MW of geothermal power capacity worldwide, on June 6 said its partnership with GDI would “give birth to the development of joint MW scale projects and contribute to the growth of geothermal development in Japan.” Japan, it noted, has the world’s third-largest geothermal resource potential. “Knowing that the Asian region has a huge renewables potential to tackle, we have been pursuing this key commercial area for years. We consider Japan in particular as a promising market for geothermal development,” said Marco Frassinetti, sales director of EXERGY International.

China Starts Up 100-MW Solar-Tidal Hybrid Plant. Longyuan Power, a partly owned subsidiary of state-owned China Energy Investment, inaugurated China’s first solar-tidal hybrid plant in Wenling City of east China’s Zhejiang Province on May 30. The project links 185,000 photovoltaic modules installed on raised stakes across 133 hectares of a tidal pool, essentially linking 100 MW of floating solar PV power production with the 4.1-MW Jiangxia Tidal Power Plant. Jiangxia Tidal Power Plant, which was completed in 1986, is the fourth-largest tidal station in the world after the Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Plant in South Korea, La Rance in France, and Annapolis in Canada. The Wenling project seeks to harness energy from the sun and tidal energy, which relies on the moon’s gravity, the company noted. The plant is reportedly outfitted with digital technologies that allow data analysis and rapid remote diagnosis.

Sonal Patel is a POWER senior associate editor.