June 17 (Reuters) - Japan is set to release a long-term plan aimed at making thermal power generation cleaner and more efficient to help the world’s fifth-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases meet a pledge to cut emissions under a global climate agreement.
Coal use has surged since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 led to the shutdown of most reactors. Japan has also been trying to boost exports of its thermal power technology, sparking criticism from environmental groups and some other developed economies.
Japan aims to use carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon and utilization (CCU) to help reduce emissions, although experts question how quickly and cost effectively the technology can be employed.
Here are some plans from a panel of experts and expected to be included in a so-called road map this month from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Japan aims to develop more efficient coal and other fossil fuel burning technologies for power stations. This can be achieved by various techniques under development or seen as having good potential, including burning at higher temperatures, under pressure, steam reuse, air and other gas injection.
The most-advanced coal fired power stations have an efficiency rate of about 40 percent. A higher number indicates more energy produced with lower emissions.
Japan is also combining research and development for coal-fired and gas-fired thermal power technologies this year and encouraging more industry cooperation, along with foreign collaboration.
The following gives efficiency targets for various methods of burning coal, gas and hydrogen.
* To develop Advanced Ultra-Super Critical technology using higher temperatures and pressures to improve efficiency in coal stations with a of 46 percent by March, 2017.
* To develop Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle technology that gasifies coal with an efficiency rate of 46-50 percent by around March, 2019.
* To develop Integrated Gasification Fuel-cell Combined Cycle units with an efficiency rate of 55 percent by around March, 2026.
* To develop Advanced Humid Air Turbine technology for gas-fired power plants with an efficiency rate of 51 percent by March, 2018.
* To develop Gas Turbine Combined Cycle technology for gas-fired power plants with an efficiency rate of 57 percent by around March, 2021.
* To develop Gas Turbine Fuel Cell Combined Cycle technology for gas-fired power plants with an efficiency rate of 63 percent by around March, 2026.
* To develop cost-efficient technologies for carbon dioxide capture and storage along with carbon dioxide capture and utilization sometime after 2025.
* To develop hydrogen power generation technology by around 2030. (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Aaron Sheldrick and Ed Davies)