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Japan is trying to use ammonia to make coal cleaner

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece here in the New York Times or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: Amidst global commitments to phase out coal within the next seven years, Japan remains steadfast in its efforts to mitigate the environmental impact of coal
• At Hekinan's largest coal-fired power plant, owned by Jera, plans are afoot to blend ammonia, a non-carbon dioxide emitting substance, with coal, a technology that's led to a vigorous debate about clean coal versus renewable energy adoption

🔭 The context: Japan depends on coal for nearly a third of its electricity
• The proposed ammonia method, heavily subsidized by the Japanese government, purports to reduce emissions, a claim that critics dispute, arguing that it prolongs Japan's fossil fuel dependence and could even potentially increase carbon emissions

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: While it's being touted as a cleaner way of using coal, critics assert that it merely extends the country's reliance on fossil fuels and may exacerbate carbon emissions, given that the production of ammonia itself could be carbon-intensive

⏭️ What's next: Jera aims to start testing mixtures comprising as much as 20% ammonia by March, making it the first in the world to do so

💬 One quote: “We need to be reducing emissions from coal power plants now, not exploring a technology that may or may not be feasible” (Katrine Petersen, Senior Policy Adviser at E3G)

📈 One stat: In its Green Growth Strategy, the Japanese government acknowledges the extensive demand for ammonia if all of the country's coal-fired plants were to utilize it at a 20% rate
• The required volume, about 20 million tons annually, matches the total amount of ammonia presently traded globally

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