Partners accelerate studies on ammonia supply chain from Australia to Japan

Australia’s Woodside Energy, together with Japan’s energy players JOGMEC, Marubeni Corporation, Hokuriku Electric, Kansai Electric, Tohoku Electric and Hokkaido Electric, have signed a joint research agreement to jointly carry out a feasibility study on the establishment of a lower-emissions fuel ammonia supply chain from Australia to Japan.

The study builds on last year’s work, when Woodside, JOGMEC, Marubeni, Hokuriku Electric, and Kansai Electric looked into the entire supply chain, including the production of low-emissions ammonia in Australia from natural gas with CO2 abatement methods such as carbon capture utilisation and storage and biosequestration; marine transportation to Japan; ammonia’s utilisation as a fuel for power generation and shipping; and financing. In last year’s study, the parties sought to address the feasibility of establishing a supply chain in relation to economics and CO2 emission reduction.

As part of the second phase of the project, seven parties, including Tohoku Electric and Hokkaido Electric as new participants, will conduct a further detailed feasibility study to inform the viability of establishing a lower-emissions fuel ammonia supply chain based on the results of the feasibility study conducted the previous year.

“Ammonia does not emit carbon dioxide (CO2) during combustion and is considered a promising next-generation lower-emission fuel for energy intensive thermal power plants and marine engines. Given existing proven technologies for the production, storage, and transportation of ammonia, it is expected to have early take-up as a lower-emission fuel,” Woodside said.

The Japanese government plans to establish a full-scale international hydrogen supply chain to cut the cost of hydrogen by 2030 and to encourage the use of ammonia as a low-carbon transition fuel. By 2030, the country expects to import 4m tons of clean ammonia, with demand rising to 30m tons by 2050.

Last September, four Japanese companies, Iwatani Corporation, Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) as well as Woodside’s partners Kansai Electric and Marubeni, signed a memorandum of understanding with Australia’s Stanwell and APT Management Services to carry out a feasibility study for liquefied green hydrogen shipping from Australia to Japan. Hydrogen would be produced on a large scale using renewable energy in Queensland and liquefied at the Port of Gladstone.

This was followed by Australia’s first commercial shipment of liquid hydrogen to Japan aboard the Suiso Frontier, the world’s first LH2 carrier. The hydrogen was produced by a prototype brown coal gasification facility at the Port of Hastings in Victoria. KHI built the landmark vessel as well as a dedicated LH2 terminal in Kobe to facilitate this Asia Pacific energy tradelane.

In June this year, Japan’s Inpex, IHI Corporation and Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) also demonstrated a clean ammonia supply chain linking the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Japan. The clean ammonia was supplied by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and produced by Fertiglobe, a joint venture between ADNOC and OCI.N.V.

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.
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