Japan Turns to Coal to Power Its Economy

In Coal-Utility, Dust Control, EK35® by Jim Silva

Japan is showing renewed interest in coal. And mining operations are set to reap the rewards.

Japan is taking a second look at coal, and the industry likes what it sees. With demand for electricity surging and marked improvements designed to reduce emissions coming to mining technologies, Japan is ready to invest in the next generation of coal.

In just the past two years, the country has connected eight new coal-fired power plants to the country’s grid. And with plans to build an additional 36 plants over the next decade, it looks to be a new era for coal in the Land of the Rising Sun.

An Attractive Energy Source

Coal offers a reliable means to addressing Japan’s growing electricity demand. And coal’s low import costs make the fuel particularly attractive for a country largely devoid of natural resources.

With a meaningful emphasis on high-efficiency, low-emission plants, Japanese coal technology rapidly advanced in recent decades. In fact, the nation now lays claim to the most efficient coal plant in the world.

As the country continues to invest more in coal, it’s fully committed to continued innovation and environmental friendliness. And If the pace of investment and construction remains in step with the national energy plan, coal is expected to provide 26% of Japan’s electricity by 2030.

Regional Competition

Japan’s renewed interest in coal goes beyond its need to address domestic demand for electricity. The export of Japanese coal technology has long been a priority for a nation seeking to reestablish its historically healthy trade surplus. And former Japanese official Mutsuyoshi Nishimura called clean coal technology “one great pillar in our ‘Tech Japan.’”

But in 2000 China overtook Japan as Asia’s largest provider of coal industry technology. As Japan competes for regional influence, their long-term economic strategy will require continued investment in plant development and clean coal tech.

Environmentally Friendly Mining Solutions

With demand for Japanese coal expected to rise in the coming years, mining operations will be expected to meet demand with increased production. To do so, they’ll need to implement an effective dust control program. Worksites without proper dust control strategies must contend with fugitive dust particles, which can damage equipment, slow operations, and put worker health at risk.

For over 40 years, Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. has helped coal mines control particulate matter and stamp out the negative effects of fugitive dust. EK35®, one of the first Synthetic Organic Dust Control® products on the market, has a binder system that captures fines and keeps them locked into the surface, preventing fugitive dust from escaping.

No matter where in the world you are, Midwest will work with site operators and business leaders to build a custom dust control strategy specifically tailored to your needs. From Kyoto to Carbon County, Midwest stands ready to help you get the most out of your investment in the future of energy.

Jim is Midwest’s Business Unit Manager for Global Mining. He is experienced in operations management, asset management, and business improvement.