ITOCHU, Sasol to jointly study and develop green ammonia as marine fuel

Japanese general trading company ITOCHU Corporation and South African chemicals and energy company Sasol have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly study and develop the market and supply chain for green ammonia, focusing on its use as bunkering fuel and for power generation.

Courtesy of Sasol

The MoU was signed during the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8) in Tunisia, which is a forum to advance Japan-Africa sustainable development on the continent.

Under the MoU, the parties will also evaluate ITOCHU’s potential involvement and participation in Sasol’s green ammonia export-orientated project(s), including product offtake as well as financial support from Japan for studies and grants relating to green ammonia projects in South Africa.

Sasol is advancing a number of green hydrogen studies and projects in South Africa, such as in Boegoebaai in the Northern Cape province, that include green ammonia production at scale for export.

Hydrogen and ammonia also play an important role in the Japanese Green Growth Strategy and are positioned as “new resources” with significant potential to reduce the country’s reliance on carbon-intensive fossil fuels, such as coal and oil.

In line with this, ITOCHU has been strengthening initiatives for the establishment of production and supply chains for low-carbon ammonia, the development of ammonia-fueled ships and the establishment of an international value chain for ammonia as a fuel in the marine sector and its use for fertilizer-related applications as well as in the power-generation sector.

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Using this MoU as a platform, the two companies will jointly study supply chains and markets for green ammonia, and assess other partnership models related to green hydrogen and ammonia production and exports from South Africa.

Sasol’s executive vice president of Energy Business, Priscillah Mabelane, said that Sasol believes that strategic partnerships and collaboration are key to developing large-scale green hydrogen projects and that this emerging sector can play an important role in enabling a just energy transition in South Africa.