The partners are sending 40 tonnes of high-grade blue ammonia to Japan for use in zero-carbon power generation


Forty tons of high-grade blue ammonia have already been dispatched to Japan. (Credit: Saudi Arabian Oil Co.)

Aramco and the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ), in partnership with SABIC, have announced the production and shipment of blue ammonia from Saudi Arabia to Japan.

The partners are sending 40 tonnes of high-grade blue ammonia to Japan for use in zero-carbon power generation.

The shipment comes at a time when the role of hydrogen is increasingly being recognised in the global energy system.

As a compound, ammonia includes three parts of hydrogen and one part nitrogen, which can contribute to the increasing challenge to meet the world’s growing energy needs in an affordable and sustainable manner.

Aramco chief technology officer Ahmad O. Al-Khowaiter said: “The use of hydrogen is expected to grow in the global energy system, and this world’s first demonstration represents an exciting opportunity for Aramco to showcase the potential of hydrocarbons as a reliable and affordable source of low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia.

“This milestone also highlights a successful transnational, multi-industry partnership between Saudi Arabia and Japan. Multinational partnerships are key in realizing the Circular Carbon Economy, championed by the Saudi Arabian G20 Presidency.

“Aramco continues to work with various partners around the world, finding solutions through the deployment of breakthrough technologies to produce low-carbon energy and address the global climate challenge.”

Saudi-Japan ammonia supply network demonstration comprises conversion of hydrocarbons to hydrogen

The Saudi-Japan ammonia supply network demonstration comprises of a full value chain including the conversion of hydrocarbons to hydrogen and then to ammonia.

It also includes the capture of associated carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The demonstration is also claimed to have overcome the challenge associated with the shipping of ammonia to Japan for use in power plants.

According to the partners, 30 tonnes of CO2 was captured during the process for use in methanol production at SABIC’s Ibn-Sina facility and another 20 tonnes of captured CO2 being used for Enhanced Oil Recovery at Aramco’s Uthmaniyah field.

IEEJ chairman and CEO Toyoda Masakazu said: “Blue ammonia is critical to Japan’s zero carbon emission ambitions to sustain the balance between the environment and the economy. About 10% of power in Japan can be generated by 30 million tons of blue ammonia.

“We can start with co-firing blue ammonia in existing power stations, eventually transitioning to single firing with 100% blue ammonia. There are nations such as Japan which cannot necessarily utilize Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) or EOR due to their geological conditions.

“The carbon neutral blue ammonia/hydrogen will help overcome this regional disadvantage.”