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Energy demand is continually increasing. To cope with this, a "best-mix" energy policy was pursued to promote a consistent and economical energy supply. According to this, the proportion of basic power supply held by nuclear energy plants is increasing, and the load adjustment role of thermal power plants, which support intermediate and peak loads, has grown. In addition, concerns about the environment continue to be an important theme. Regarding LNG (liquefied natural gas) usage, the gas turbine combined-cycle power plant, applying high temperature and other high-level functions, attains the greatest thermal power plant efficiency.
On the other hand, the following development is progressing for coal usage. (a) USC (ultra-supercritical) steam plants targeting environmental preservation through higher efficiency. (b) IGCC (Integrated coal Gasification Combined Cycle) power generation for clean coal usage. (c) PFBC (Pressurized Fluidized Bed Combustion) power generation, emphasizing both sulfur removal from the furnace and improved efficiency. Against this background Hitachi, Ltd. is working to develop effective fossil fuel usage and technology for highly efficient, environmentally friendly power plants.