On July 7, 2023, Kiko Network released “Position paper on fuel ammonia: Japan’s “Zero Emissions” thermal power will extend the life of coal and accelerate climate change”.
This paper summarizes the background and problems with the introduction of fuel ammonia, which is promoted in the GX Basic Policy, and makes recommendations on what direction Japan’s power generation business should take in the future.
The Japanese government aims at reducing CO2 emissions by promoting co-firing of ammonia, which does not emit CO2 during combustion, in coal-fired power plants.In practice, however, fuel ammonia does emit a large amount of CO2 at its production process. Thus, looking at its entire life cycle, the CO2 emission reduction benefits are minimal. For the time being, fuel ammonia is dependent on overseas production, which causes many problems in terms of energy security and self-sufficiency.
The government is investing heavily in the development of the 100 % ammonia combustion technology to put it to practical use by 2050, but there is absolutely no prospect for its commercial use. If coal-fired power plants are continuously used in the future under the GX Basic Policy on the premise of ammonia co-firing and 100% combustion, there is concern that investment in renewable energy, which is really needed, will be curtailed. Even if a huge national budget is invested in infrastructure development to promote the use of fuel ammonia, the cost including its production and distribution will be paid by electricity consumers, which will spur higher electricity bills. The policy of investing large amounts of public funds in the co-firing and 100% combustion of fuel ammonia in coal-fired power plants does not contribute to the Japanese economy. It is also contrary to the goals of the Paris Agreement and the G7 agreement, which Japan should aim to achieve together with the rest of the world.
Please read this paper to know how the problematic policy of fuel-ammonia usage was decided and how it is being promoted in the system.