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Will Japan continue to develop coal power plants!? ; The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry released “the technology road map for next-generation coal power plants”

In June 2016, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) released “The Technology Road Map for Next-Generation Coal Power Plants”. This road map was based on the assumption that “the Paris Agreement reconfirmed that next-generation coal power plants should be developed,” which clearly misinterpreted the Agreement.

In addition, it completely ignores the international trend toward decarbonization and aims to develop new technologies for coal power generation such as A-USC, IGCC and IGFC by from 2020 to 2025. However, even “the most efficient” IGFC would produce 590g-CO2/kWh (while existing natural gas power plants emit about 330g-CO2/kWh). Is it truly useful to subsidize those coal technologies which emit CO2 such a lot, and to work in research and development for the next 10 years?

Furthermore, as “trump card to get CO2 emissions to nearly zero”, it drew an utopian idea with the technologies such as CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage) and hydrogen power generation. However, how much greenhouse gases would be emitted by the development is not showed at all. On the contrary, the development could lead to increase the emissions.

When on earth will this country wake up from this dream?

<Key points of the road map>
According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

1. By FY 2030, complete development of highly efficient next generation technologies such as IGFC (Integrated Gasification Fuel Cell combined cycle) and GTFC (Gas Turbine Fuel Cell combined cycle) .
2. For FY 2030 and beyond, promote technology development for CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage) and hydrogen power generation technologies strategically from the present, as potential trump cards to get CO2 emissions to nearly zero.
3. Strengthen a system for promoting the technological development in cooperation with the government and NEDO in order to early development of next generation technologies. And cooperate the manufacturers, users and the government together.

Reference
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; “‘the technology road map for next-generation coal power plants’ was designed”.(Link, Japanese)