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World's first international hydrogen supply chain begins fuelling power plant with hydrogen

26 June 2020

Japanese engineering company Chiyoda Corporation announced on June 25 that its pilot hydrogen project had begun to provide clean fuel for gas turbine power generators at a Japanese power plant using hydrogen imported from Brunei. The project is the world’s first implementation of an international hydrogen supply chain and the first example of foreign-produced hydrogen being used for power generation in Japan.

Brunei Hydrogenation Plant - Image: Chiyoda
Brunei Hydrogenation Plant - Image: Chiyoda

Chiyoda and its partner companies Mitsubishi Corp, Mitsui & Co and Nippon Yusen established the project in 2015 with an aim to eventually import 210 tonnes of hydrogen a year from Brunei to Japan. The research unit, called Advanced Hydrogen Energy Chain Association for Technology Development (AHEAD), built a hydrogenation plant in Brunei and dehydrogenation plant in Japan.

As part of the project, Chiyoda developed its SPERA Hydrogen technology which allows hydrogen to be handled in a liquid state at ambient temperature and pressure. This makes it possible to use existing petroleum transportation and distribution infrastructure, such as tanks, oil tankers and tank lorries, lowering the capital investment for hydrogen transportation. 

The AHEAD project involves hydrogen being produced in Brunei and transported by sea to Japan in the form of Methylcyclohexane (MCH), a liquid produced using the SPERA Hydrogen technology. Gaseous hydrogen is then separated from MCH at a dehydrogenation plant in Kawasaki, eastern Japan, and supplied to consumers as power generation fuel. After arriving at the dehydrogenation plant in TOA OIL’s Keihin Refinery, the hydrogen is supplied to a gas turbine in TOA OIL’s Mizue Thermal Power Plant.

The pilot is expected to continue through November 2020.

At a news conference on June 25, President of AHEAD Takakazu Morimoto told reporters: “We want to use hydrogen extracted from renewable energy in the future and establish a strong supply chain. Our aim is to transport 350,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year to power a 1-gigawatt hydrogen-fired power plant in 2030.”

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