The Advanced Hydrogen Energy Chain Association for Technology Development (AHEAD), an association composed of four industry-leading companies from Japan, will begin the world’s first international supply of hydrogen from Brunei to Japan in January 2020. (Earlier post.)
AHEAD’s members are Mitsubishi Corporation, shipper Nippon Yusen, engineering company Chiyoda and trading company Mitsui & Co., Ltd. Funding is provided by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). to conduct research and develop plans for hydrogen supply chains to Japan.
The project entails building a hydrogenation plant in Brunei Darussalam and a dehydrogenation plant in Kawasaki’s coastal region of Japan using Chiyoda’s SPERA Hydrogen Technology. Hydrogen will be sourced in Brunei and transported by ship to Kawasaki in liquid form at ambient temperature and pressure. Hydrogen gas will then be extracted from the liquid in Kawasaki and supplied to consumers.
The hydrogen in Brunei will be produced by steam reforming. It’s then mixed with toluene to convert it to methylcyclohexane (MCH) and cooled at -253 ˚C to become a flammable but non-explosive liquid—a process quite similar to liquefying natural gas, which happens at -162 ˚C.
In Japan, hydrogen is extracted from MCH by a dehydrogenation reaction and supplied as hydrogen gas.
The project is demonstrative and is scheduled to be operational for a year, with 210 tonnes of hydrogen expected to be supplied to Japan which can power some 40,000 fuel cell vehicles.