First MCH shipment unloading from Muara Port to Japan. Image: Courtesy of AHEAD Brunei

Brunei has successfully shipped its first hydrogen supply to Japan recently, making the World’s First International Hydrogen Supply Chain a reality, the ministry of energy announced.

The milestone was reached after extracting hydrogen (H2) from a liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) that was shipped from Brunei.

The delivery went through a series of processes including hydrogenation of toluene to form methylcyclohexane (MCH), stable maritime MCH transportation and dehydrogenation of MCH in Japan.

The LOHC being used is toluene (C7H8), one of the many components of crude oil.

Hydrogenation plant at Sungai Liang Industrial Park (SPARK). Image: Courtesy of AHEAD Brunei

Hydrogen produced in the plant is added to the toluene to create methylcyclohexane (C7H14) before being shipped over 4,000km inside containerised tanks to Kawasaki city in Japan where the hydrogen is extracted at a dehydrogenation plant.

The liquefied hydrogen was produced in a hydrogenation plant at Sungai Liang Industrial Park (SPARK) with the first hydrogen exported from Muara Port to Japan on November 17, 2019.

The project which will run by end of the fiscal year 2020 is in line with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s vision for advancing long-term green energy programmes for the nation.

MCH container seen transported at Muara Port. Image: Courtesy of AHEAD Brunei

The Advanced Hydrogen Energy Chain Association for Technology Development (AHEAD) demonstration project aims to show that a global hydrogen supply chain can be established using LOHC – a chemical that can safely transport hydrogen at room temperature and ambient pressure.

It aims to realise Global Hydrogen Transport and Supply Technology for full-scale Hydrogen Power Generation by 2030.

This method allows a new way to get hydrogen around the globe, the ministry added.

MCH containers at Muara Port. Image: Courtesy of AHEAD Brunei

The alternative method is to turn hydrogen directly to liquid but this requires gaseous hydrogen to be cooled to cryogenic temperatures below −253°C and is expensive.

The demonstration project is operated by the Advanced Hydrogen Energy Chain Association for Technology Development (AHEAD) led by a Japanese consortium comprising of Japanese conglomerates Mitsubishi, Nippon Yusen, Mitsui and Chiyoda Corp.

The subsidised “Technology Development Project to establish Hydrogen Society/Technology Development for the Utilisation of Large Scale Hydrogen Energy” is funded by the National Research and Development Agency, NEDO of Japan and demonstrates “The Hydrogen Supply Chain utilising the Organic Chemical Hydride Method”.

Dehydrogenation Plant in Kawasaki, Japan. Image: Courtesy of AHEAD Japan.

The technology utilises hydrogen for CO2 free power generation which can contribute to fulfill the Paris Agreement requiring greenhouse gas reductions to combat climate change.

The project was initiated to support Phase II of the “Strategic Road Map for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells” issued by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 2014 and revised in 2016.

This project is supported and facilitated by the Ministry of Energy. – Analisa Amu



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