HEKINAN, Japan — Below the looming No. 4 boiler tower at Hekinan Station, Japan's largest thermal power plant, black mountains of coal — the power source of the past are piled high.
But inside this massive facility, in an effort to help Japanese industry reduce carbon emissions, the utility's operator is experimenting with a fuel of the future.
JERA Co., which delivers half the electricity to the Japanese industrial heartland that Toyota Motor Corp. and its supplier network call home, is burning a 20 percent mix of carbon-free ammonia along with the usual pulverized coal. If all goes well, JERA hopes to completely replace coal with ammonia-fired electric energy at the plant by 2050 and go completely green.