Blue Hydrogen’ Is Japan’s Answer to Coal After Shutting Nuclear Power Plants
Blue Hydrogen Is Formed by Capturing the Emitted Greenhouse Gases Under the Ground for Some Time
A giant construction site located near Tokyo Bay has become a source of blockage for the viewers who come to admire the beauty of the location. A large power station is being constructed that is powered by 1.3-gigawatt coal. This single plant alone has the capacity to emit carbon dioxide of more than seven million tons per year. Some of the general populations of the country are still wondering regarding the reason Japan has to burn coal to produce electricity despite having the ability to build and utilize nuclear power plants, as they are a much cleaner alternative for the climate situation.
Due to recent decline changes in the climatic condition of the planet, it is being questioned by the residents of Japan for the reason of ongoing consumption of coal during the time when there is a great concern about the impact of coal emission on the Earth’s climate.
The answer for the usage of coal lies in the incident of the Fukushima nuclear disaster that occurred in the year 2011.
Hydrogen or ammonia power plants
Back about a decade ago, in 2010, around one-third of the total electricity of Japan used to come from nuclear power plants that were located across the country, and the government had made plans for the construction of several more. But then, later in 2011, the disaster of Fukushima nuclear power plant occurred, which led to the shutdown of all of the nuclear power plants throughout Japan. Then ten years later, a major part of the nuclear power plants is still closed, and the government is facing a lot of resistance to restart all of them.
To take their place for the generation of electricity to provide to the country, gas-fired power stations have been set up by Japan, which had to do a lot of overtime in comparison with the nuclear power plants, to be able to provide an adequate amount of power. But, as it has recently been found out by Great Britain, the reserve of natural gas is awfully expensive.
So, it has been decided by the government of Japan for the construction of 22 new power stations that could work on coal, to run of low-quality coal product that had to be imported from overseas Australia. For economic reasons, this makes reasonable sense, although it is not good for the environment. The country of Japan has now come under intense pressure regarding the stoppage of the utilization of coal and to start using nuclear power plants to meet the electricity requirement of the country.
Instead of shutting down the old coal plants and switching towards renewable technology, the answer of Japan is to switch towards the burning of ammonia or hydrogen.
According to Prof Tomas Kaberger, who is a working expert on the energy policy in Sweden at Chalmers University, the large amount of investment that has been made by the companies of electric power in the power plants fired by coal would suddenly become useless without having a value in their own balance sheet, which would then create difficulties in a financial sector for the electric power firms along with pension funds and banks, which would become a challenging condition for Japan.
The power plants would have the capacity to be easily converted into the burning of ammonia or hydrogen to produce power, as neither of them emits carbon dioxide and seems like a viable alternative to nuclear power plants.
But the government of Japan has much bigger ambitious thoughts than this. They want the country to become the world’s first nation with a hydrogen economy. This is where the car-making firm Toyota has a role to play.
Zero-emission electric cars
The automobile firm Toyota is soon to launch a new car called Mirai (which translates as future in Japanese) and would be the first-ever electric car with zero-emission. Unlike the currently available electric cars in the world, the Mirai would not house a huge battery under the hood. But instead, it would contain fuel cells in the front and hydrogen tanks that would be present under the back seats of the car. The hydrogen would be passed through the front located fuel cells, where then it would be converted into electric power, which then allows running of electric motors.
This technology is like the one used to power up the Apollo spacecraft for the space missions to the surface of the Moon.