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H2, ammonia capable of safeguarding power security in energy transition: IEA report

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The use of low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia in fossil fuel power plants can play a key role in preserving energy security during the transition to greener power, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated a virtual conference held by Japan's industry ministry.

IEA chief Fatih Birol told the International Conference on Fuel Ammonia that co-firing hydrogen and ammonia from low-carbon sources would cut emissions from current fossil fuel plants, giving more flexibility in the energy transition.

"This will be especially important for countries with young thermal fleets and limited access to other low-carbon resources, such as countries in East and Southeast Asia," he said, as the agency published its latest report on low-carbon fuels.

The IEA's report helps Japan, which is determinedly promoting ammonia as an alternative fuel to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions at coal-fired power plants to help combat climate change.

Ammonia is used for fertilizer and industrial materials but is also seen as an effective future energy source, along with hydrogen. It does not radiate carbon dioxide when burned, though its production releases emissions if it is made with fossil fuel.

Japan aims to grow domestic demand for ammonia as fuel to 3 million tonnes a year by 2030 and 30 million tonnes by 2050 from zero now and to create a new supply chain for the fuel.

Still, "production and transport costs must further decrease, and timely investment is needed to create supply chains", Birol said. 

Author : Moulin Oza
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