Aramco and the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ), in partnership with SABIC, have successfully demonstrated the production and shipment of blue ammonia from Saudi Arabia to Japan with support from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Forty tons of high-grade blue ammonia have already been dispatched to Japan for use in zero-carbon power generation.
The announcement comes amid growing appreciation of the role hydrogen will play in the global energy system. Ammonia, a compound consisting of three parts hydrogen and one part nitrogen, can contribute to addressing the challenge of meeting the world’s growing energy needs in a reliable, affordable and sustainable manner.
The Saudi-Japan blue ammonia supply network demonstration spanned the full value chain; including the conversion of hydrocarbons to hydrogen and then to ammonia, as well as the capture of associated carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
It overcame challenges associated with the shipping of blue ammonia to Japan for use in power plants, with 30 tons of CO2 captured during the process designated for use in methanol production at SABIC’s Ibn-Sina facility and another 20 tons of captured CO2 being used for Enhanced Oil Recovery at Aramco’s Uthmaniyah field.
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.
Ammonia contains approximately 18% hydrogen by weight and is already a widely traded chemical on the world stage. It releases zero CO2 emissions when combusted in a thermal power plant and has the potential to make a significant contribution to an affordable and reliable low-carbon energy future. SABIC and Mitsubishi Corporation, which is represented on the IEEJ study team involved in the project, are overseeing the transport logistics in partnership with JGC Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering, Ltd., Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. and UBE Industries, Ltd.