Japan maps out ammonia ambitions

The Japanese government has today mapped out plans to develop significant ammonia fuelling plans for its utility and shipping sectors.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry today detailed procurement strategies to ensure the country’s power and shipping industries are using 30m ton of ammonia by 2050 in line with prime minister Yoshihide Suga’s 2050 carbon neutral ambitions.

The aim is to start the commercial use of ammonia this decade, and halve the price of the fuel by 2030.

The ministry acknowledged the tightness in the LNG markets in recent months had accelerated its need to seek out alternate fuel forms.

Ryo Minami, director-general of oil, gas and mineral resources at the ministry, said in December that he sees ammonia as “the second LNG” in terms of introducing a new fuel to the world led by Japan.

Japan currently uses about 1m tons of ammonia a year, of which one fifth is imported.

Ammonia is a mix of hydrogen and nitrogen. Japan has this year kicked off the world’s first regular shipping route of liquefied hydrogen, taking the super chilled fuel from Australia on a brand new ship type to a specially developed terminal in Kobe.

Last August, Splash reported Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) was teaming with compatriot yard Japan Marine United and local class society Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) to try and commercialise the use of an ammonia-fuelled ammonia gas carrier as well as an ammonia floating storage and regasification barge.

In January, Japan signed a first ammonia fuel cooperation deal with state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC). Japan’s top newswire, Nikkei, reported today that Jera, a local power producer, has signed an MOU with Petronas to produce ammonia in Malaysia. The green ammonia will be used in power plants and produced from hydro and other renewable sources.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. The current production processes still make ammonia a fossil fuel. Using intermittent renewable electricity as per of the process is problematic.

    The underpinning economics of all of this remain opaque particularly when ramped up to industrial scales.

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