JCOAL is working on programs encompassing both the upstream and downstream areas in a comprehensive manner. JCOAL is conducting strategic programs for creation of business opportunities including exports of infrastructure, and for establishment of business models. The approach that JCOAL takes is to proactively and effectively utilize the communications platforms created by theme or by country and region based on policy dialogues and MOUs, with a view to establishing a win-win relationship with partner countries by combining Japan's superior technologies and strengths of the respective partners.
At major mines in the coal producing countries, JCOAL is working on projects to prepare a regional master plan for creating a "low-carbon resource-recycling mining area (eco coal town)" by utilizing Japan's clean coal technologies encompassing both the upstream and downstream areas, addressing the coal-fired power generation, coal chemical industry, and waste water processing and other related industries, as well as the regional society, in a uniform manner. This will help improve the energy supply/demand situations in coal producing countries and promote efficient use of natural resources, and also help increase the foreign capital inflow into these countries. JCOAL's ultimate objective is to contribute to procurement of sustainable supply of coal resources through these measures.
Japan's Candidate Element Technologies for Realization of Eco Coal Town
Low-rank coal, or brown coal, has high water content and low caloric value, and is poor in efficiency. It tends to combust spontaneously, which makes it usable only in the producing area. On the other hand, the reserves are vast, and many varieties are low in ash and sulfur contents, a feature that makes them eco-friendly. Accordingly, it is important to seek effective use of low-rank coal.
The upgraded brown coal is a technology developed by Kobe Steel Ind.that efficiently removes the water content and suppresses the spontaneous combustion. The technology and economy for commercial use of the technology was proven in the development and operation of a 600 tons/day (200,000 tons/year) large-scale pilot plant that was in operation until 2011. This technology makes it possible to utilize low-rank coal and to market brown coal in the international coal market as fuel coal equivalent. JCOAL has largely support for the demonstration plant development. JCOAL has been supporting to realize UBC business since 2011 throughout performing a feasibility study and technical study.
JCOAL is supporting the Osaki CoolGen Project through the survey of latest information on the integrated coal gasification fuel cell combined cycle (IGCC) technology and identification of coal types suitable for the technology.
With the technology to capture carbon dioxide with application of oxygen combustion, oxygen is separated from combustion air, coal is burnt with the oxygen, and carbon dioxide is captured directly from the exhaust gas. A demonstration experiment is being carried out at the Callide A Pulverized Coal Thermal Power Plant in Callide, State of Queensland, Australia, that is currently out of use. One of the four 30MW generators at the plant was remodeled for the experiment. The technology has been promoted by JCOAL and one of the member companies since early 1990s, and the experiment is the world's first project to generate power and to store the captured carbon dioxide underground (in the saline aquifer, etc.) that was started in fiscal 2007 by the international joint project between Japan and Australia.
Theoretically, the carbon dioxide can be concentrated to over 90% with the technology, and expectation is high for the technology as one that is technologically less challenging and economically more viable than other carbon dioxide capturing systems.
|Mar-06||MoU signed with Japanese participants|
|Oct-06||Australian Government's Low-emissions Technology Demonstration Fund funding announcement|
|Mar-08||Callide Oxyfuel Project Joint Venture agreements finalised|
|Aug-08||Refurbishment of Unit A4 at Callide A Power Station Commenced|
|Oct-08||Official launch of the Callide Oxyfuel Project|
|Jan-09||Refurbishment of Unit A4 at Callide A Power Station completed|
|Oct-09||Earthworks commence at Callide A Power Station|
|Jan-10||Earthworks complete and foundation excavations commence at Callide A Power Station|
|Mar-11||Boiler modifications completed for oxyfiring at Callide A Power Station and commissioning commenced|
|Apr-11||First coal firing in air mode after boiler oxyfiring modifications|
|Mar-12||First boiler operation in full oxyfiring mode|
In reducing carbon dioxide emissions when using coal, the current priority is to implement technologies for highly efficient use of coal. Over the long run, however, it is imperative to establish commercially viable CCS technologies to achieve zero coal emissions. At present, the CCS systems are costly and consume a lot of energy. Development of various element technologies and demonstration projects for commercial application of the technology are underway globally. In Japan, too, national projects are in progress, including the development and cost reduction of the carbon dioxide capturing technologies, and the research and development of transportation and storage technologies. The review of the energy policy after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 will likely accelerate development of the CCS technologies.
In addition to the oxyfuel combustion/CCS demonstration project currently underway in cooperation with Australia, JCOAL work on a bilateral research and development project with the US on CCS and related technologies. Furthermore, JCOAL will make in progress for accelerating CCS demonstration projects and shearing knowledge of CCS, for which the Global CCS Institute Japan Office, founded in September 2011, is acting as the central body. Implementation of the activities will enhance and promote business development for commercial application of the CCS technologies.
In the states of Saskatchewan in Canada, the CCS demonstration project of Sask Power is being planned that is funded by the federal and state governments and incorporates carbon dioxide capturing, transportation, and storage. JCOAL will work to participate in the project as technical advisor and can acquire technical and economical information for the project. And, JCOAL will make a CCS demonstration project in Japan.