The head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt last weekend was meant to travel to Japan to visit one of the world’s most efficient coal power plants.
David Mohler, an Obama-era former deputy assistant secretary for clean coal and carbon management within the Office of Fossil Energy at DOE, has previously visited the Isogo Thermal Power Station and said: “It could be a country club, and it’s a coal-fired power plant.”
He said: “There’s no coal dust that escapes into the environment, because it’s very self-contained. It’s designed in a way that’s meant to be aesthetically pleasing and clean from the get-go.”
The plant, located in Japan’s second largest city, achieves a 45% efficiency rate.
Pruitt’s trip, which was cancelled at the last-minute due to the federal government shutdown, reflects President Donald Trump’s vision to help the world’s largest coal consuming countries to use the commodity in an efficient manner through technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and high efficiency, low emission (HELE) through a proposed “Clean Coal Alliance”.
Although there are no planned coal power plants planned for construction, Isogo’s Unit 2 could be used as a model for future US coal fired generators or existing plants that could be upgraded to become more efficient.
Meanwhile, the US has been hailed as a leading innovator within the clean coal industry as it looks to export clean carbon technologies, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), across the globe.
Jane Nakano, a senior fellow in the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, suggested Pruitt’s planned trip would have acted with two purposes. The first to learn further about Japan’s use of HELE coal power plants and the second to identify further opportunities in the Asian power sector, after its was recently announced that the US would begin shipping coal to two 540 megawatt coal gasification plants in Fukushima Prefecture.