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You would be forgiven for thinking you were seeing a couple of high rise buildings and a tall sculpture on the outskirts of a bustling city and not a coal fired power station – this was the takeout by NCIG’s CEO Aaron Johansen when he and CFO John Kite recently visited the Isogo Thermal Power Station in Yokohama, Japan recently.

The high-efficiency-low emissions (HELE) plant is one of several destinations in Asia where NCIG exports coal to.

Taking the opportunity to tour the plant, Aaron Johansen said it was obvious the plant’s owners, J-Power, had taken a considered approach to the local amenity when redeveloping the plant to incorporate the HELE technology.

“The Isogo plant leads the way in coal fired power production technology,” Mr Johansen said.

“Looking at the facility, you would be forgiven for thinking it was just a couple of tall buildings. Even the steam stacks have been designed in a way that is aesthetically pleasing from the local parkland.”

With traditional power stations operating at sub critical 35% efficiency, the Isogo plant operates at 45% efficiency – meaning it burns less coal to produce more energy. The main difference at the HELE power plant is that coal is pulverised before going into the furnace, creating more energy from a single lump of coal. The steam that is then produced can hit 600 degrees, spinning the turbines with greater force than a conventional coal-fired turbine.

“NCIG exported over 15 million tonnes to Japan in FY18, so it was great to see one of our end-users leading the way in coal-fired energy production, using coal from the Hunter region, delivered by NCIG,” Mr Johansen said.

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