Two of Japan's largest utilities have joined forces in a new company, to embark on new technologies to reduce carbon emissions.

Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. (J-POWER) and The Chugoku Electric Power Co. have created Osaki CoolGen Corporation, a joint company, in order to enable them to undertake a large-scale demonstration test of oxygen-blown coal gasification combined cycle technology and CO2 separation and recovery technology.

To date, both companies have positioned coal, which offers both stable supply and economic efficiency, as an important and continuing energy source for Japan, and have worked toward improving its efficiency through high-temperature, high-pressure steam conditions in coal-fired power generating sites.

Amid growing demand for measures to mitigate global warming, and with government assistance, J-POWER began researching multi-purpose coal gas manufacturing technology as an innovative coal-fired thermal technology suitable for carbon reduction in 2006. The decision to proceed with a large-scale demonstration test at the Osaki Power Station in Hiroshima was based on encouraging results from the combined research efforts.

Osaki CoolGen Corporation will be responsible for construction of the 170MW-class large-scale demonstration test facility for oxygen-blown coal gasification technology. Once constructed, the facility will proceed with testing to verify the reliability, economic efficiency, and operability of an oxygen-blown IGCC system.

In the second phase, the company will proceed with the testing of the application of the latest CO2 separation and recovery technologies. The results of these demonstration tests will have major implications for integrated coal gasification fuel cell (IGFC) technology which has the potential to raise energy efficiency levels even higher.

Osaki CoolGen Corporation plans to begin construction in March 2013, and demonstration testing in March 2017.