London, 28 September (Argus) — State-controlled Saudi Aramco has sent what it said is the world’s first shipment of blue ammonia to Japan. The product, which Aramco produced by converting hydrocarbons to hydrogen and then to ammonia, will be used in power plants to generate electricity without producing CO2 emissions.

Japan will receive 40t of blue ammonia, which Aramco said has “the potential to make a significant contribution to an affordable and renewable low-carbon energy future.”

Aramco said 30t of CO2 captured during the process of producing the blue ammonia will be used by its petrochemicals affiliate Sabic to produce methanol. Another 20t of captured CO2 will be used for enhanced oil recovery at Aramco’s Uthmaniyah field.

Saudi Aramco sends first blue ammonia shipment to Japan -oilandgas360

“This milestone highlights one of several pathways within the concept of a global Circular Carbon Economy, a framework in which CO2 emissions are reduced, removed, recycled and reused – as opposed to being released into the atmosphere,” said Aramco.

The Saudi oil giant is trying to highlight its credentials as a low-emissions company that is working to reduce its environmental footprint.

The blue ammonia has been produced and shipped as part a joint project between Aramco, Sabic and Japanese energy think-tank IEEJ. Under the project, which runs from August to October, “blue” ammonia is produced from hydrocarbons in a traditional process but all the CO2 generated is captured and isolated.

Japan’s trade and industry ministry (Meti) is backing the project. Japanese energy firms are increasingly focusing on hydrogen in line with the government’s long-term strategy to decarbonise the economy.

The blue ammonia shipment will be co-fired with gas and coal to generate power at pilot units in Yokohama and Aioi in Hyogo prefecture. Japanese engineering firm IHI in 2018 developed technologies to co-fire 20pc of ammonia with gas and coal at its 2MW gas turbine plant in Yokohama and 10MW coal-fired power unit in Aioi.

The ammonia is also expected to be used at a 50KW ammonia-fired micro-gas turbine in Fukushima owned by the national institute of advanced industrial science and technology (AIST).

Japanese trading firm Mitsubishi is overseeing transport logistics for the blue ammonia shipment together with Sabic. Several other Japanese companies, including shipbuilder Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and petrochemical firm Ube Industries, are also involved.

Legal Notice