Japan receives first accredited low-carbon ammonia shipment for power generation

Energy company Aramco has announced that a shipment of low-carbon ammonia has arrived in Japan for use as fuel in power generation.

Courtesy of Aramco

More specifically, this shipment, which is described as the first accredited low-carbon ammonia one to arrive in Japan, was transported to the Fuji Oil company’s Sodegaura Refinery for use in co-fired power generation.

The shipment is the result of a multiparty collaboration across the low-carbon ammonia value chain. The ammonia was produced by SABIC Agri-Nutrients with feedstock from Aramco, and sold by Aramco Trading Company to the Fuji Oil Company (FOC). Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) was tasked with shipping the liquid to Japan, from where the low-carbon ammonia was transported to the Sodegaura Refinery. Technical support was provided by Japan Oil Engineering Co (JOE).

To note, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry has announced plans to increasingly harness ammonia as a fuel for power generation and for ship propulsion as part of the country’s 2050 decarbonisation goals.

Aramco said the low-carbon ammonia that reached Japan is part of broader efforts by Aramco and SABIC to establish a global supply network for the fuel, adding that the two companies aim to supply low-carbon ammonia to other players to meet their early demand needs.

Olivier Thorel, Aramco Senior Vice President of Chemicals, said: “This is another milestone that highlights the possibilities for low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia made from Aramco feedstock, with the potential to play a role in a lower-carbon future. Not only is low-carbon ammonia a means to transport lower-carbon hydrogen, it is an important energy source in its own right that can help decarbonise key sectors, including power generation for both utilities and industries. By dispatching this accredited low-carbon ammonia to Japan, we are helping chart a course for the development of this vital commodity.”

Shigeto Yamamoto, FOC Representative Director and President, commented: “As Japan aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, low-carbon ammonia is expected to be a next-generation fuel that can contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions. In order to reduce CO2 emissions from our own operations, we have been working on co-firing ammonia, which is a by-product of the petroleum refining process, in the boiler at our Sodegaura Refinery, and we plan to burn low-carbon ammonia imported this time with the cooperation of our partners in the same boiler. We will continue these efforts to contribute to the construction of the ammonia supply chain.”

Abdulrahman Shamsaddin, SABIC AN CEO, said: “Our aim is to capitalise on this important milestone to grow and expand our positive contribution toward carbon neutrality.”

In 2020, Aramco collaborated with SABIC to dispatch the world’s first shipment of low-carbon ammonia to Japan in a demonstration project. Then, in 2022, Aramco and SABIC received the world’s first independent accreditation for low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia products. By the end of that year, the two companies had delivered the world’s first accredited low-carbon ammonia shipment to South Korea.

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