Tuesday, June 11, 2013

No. 732: Low cost thermal power generation using a byproduct of oil refinery as fuel (June 11, 2013)

JX Nippon Oil and Energy decided to build a thermal power plant that uses a byproduct of oil refinery as fuel. The new type power generation system will likely to compete with coal fired power generation, which is least expensive among all power generation using fossil fuel, in terms of cost by using an unutilized resource. The new plant will be built inside its refinery in Ibaraki Prefecture. It is planned to start operation in March 2016 with a generation capacity of 100,000 kW. The investment will be ten and several billion yen that is almost the same value required to build a coal fired power plant. The company plans to sell electricity to Tokyo Electric Power Company as an independent power producer (IPP) and sell it directly to neighbor plants.

Thick tarry liquid is left after gasoline and light oil are recovered in the oil refinery process, and the new system utilizes this thick tarry liquid. After transforming the thick tarry liquid as solid fuel, it turns a turbine using the steam creased by burning the solid fuel. JX Nippon Oil and Energy so far selling the residues to chemical companies for a very low price, but it decided to hold down the generation cost by utilizing residues. In addition, fuel oil can be squeezed in the process to produce solid fuel, and the new system emits 10-15% less carbon dioxide than the traditional coal fired thermal plant. The company entered into electricity wholesale trade in 1998, and its generation capacity will increase to 1,500,000 kW when the new thermal power plant starts operation.   

One of JX Nippon Oil and Energy's oil refineries

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