Officials with Japan's Chugoku Electric Power Company toured Mississippi Power's Kemper County energy facility June 23, representing the latest international clean energy leaders journeying thousands of miles to learn more about coal gasification and carbon capture technologies being implemented in East Mississippi.

Chugoku Electric and another leading Japanese power producer, J-Power, have teamed to implement the Osaki CoolGen Demonstration Project in conjunction with the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. 

Located on an island in Japan's Seto Inland Sea in Hiroshima Prefecture, the Osaki CoolGen Project is similar to Kemper in that it seeks to further leverage the world's abundant coal reserves by gasifying coal and incorporating carbon capture and sequestration technologies, drastically lowering emissions.

"Our impression of this facility is very great, and we certainly respect what Southern Company, Mississippi Power, KBR and the Department of Energy is doing here," Kyoichi Nakanishi, Assistant Manager Overseas Business Group, Chugoku Electric said.  "This is state of the art technology that is contributing to the local economy but also can impact the world as a whole."

Chugoku's visit follows a similar one by J-Power representatives and the Japan Coal and Energy Center late last year.

Also like Kemper, the Japanese CoolGen project will incorporate a highly-efficient combined cycle power plant as the method of choice for generating power. Differing somewhat, the Japanese project also seeks to  demonstrate the potential for eventually incorporating coal gas into fuel cells, which are designed to convert chemical reactions into electrical energy.

"Coal is a fuel that provides superior supply, stability, economy and safety," Yoshiaki Kaihara President and Representative Director of Osaki CoolGen corporation said in a message to those interested in  coupling coal power with carbon capture technology.

The Japanese Government is supporting one-third of CoolGen's costs.

Over the past two years, Kemper has hosted more than 40 national and international delegations -- particularly from Pacific Rim countries where coal demand is very high --- seeking to learn more about Kemper's integration of lignite gasification with chemical product production, carbon capture and electric power generation.