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Japan launches first global hydrogen supply chain demo project; liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) technology

Four Japanese companies—Chiyoda, Mitsubishi, Mitsui and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha—have launched the “Advanced Hydrogen Energy Chain Association for Technology Development”(AHEAD) along with the world’s first Global Hydrogen Supply Chain Demonstration Project.

The project, a subsidized “Technology Development Project to establish Hydrogen Society/Technology Development for the Utilization of Large Scale Hydrogen Energy”, is funded by the National Research and Development Agency, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), and demonstrates the use of liquid organic chemical hydrides in the hydrogen supply chain.

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.

Chiyoda’s SPERA Hydrogen Technology. In the supply country, hydrogen, chemically fixed to toluene, is converted by a hydrogenation reaction into methylcyclohexane (MCH), a liquid at ambient temperature and pressure, for storage and transport. In the consumer country, hydrogen is extracted from MCH by a dehydrogenation reaction and supplied as hydrogen gas. Click to enlarge.

The project partners plan to supply 210 tons (max) of hydrogen in 2020, equivalent to filling 40,000 fuel cell vehicles in 2020.

Gravimetric and volumetric content of hydrogen. Source: Chioda. Click to enlarge.

The hydrogen will be produced by steam reforming from the processed gas derived from the Natural Gas Liquefaction Plant of Brunei LNG Sdn. Bhd. and subsequently used for power generation in Japan.

The project reflects Phase II of the “Strategic Road Map for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells”, issued by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in 2014 and revised in 2016. It aims to realize global hydrogen transport and supply technology for full-scale hydrogen power generation around 2030. The hydrogen demo project is a stepping stone for commercialization of projects post 2020.




All the building blocks of the hydrogen economy are being put into place.

Weirdly many of those who purport to support a high proportion of renewables in the grid and the decarbonisation oppose it, with their fixed idea that batteries and batteries alone can take care of everything, which they can't.


Natural gas, another filthy fossil fuel con. Nothing green here to be seen.


Liquid organic hydrogen carrier? I have to admit that my first thought was methane or liquefied natural gas which is where most of our hydrogen comes from.


"Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier". In other words, a hydrocarbon! Does not sound as wholesome without the word "organic".


CH4 (liq) has a volumetric content of about 110 Kg-H2/m3, and a gravimetric content of about 25 wt%, somewhere off the upper right side of that chart....


From the link at the top of the article.
"Chiyoda's SPERA Hydrogen® Technology utilizes the Organic Chemical Hydride Method. In the supply country, Hydrogen, chemically fixed to Toluene, is converted into Methylcyclohexane (MCH), a liquid at ambient temperature and pressure, by hydrogenation reaction for storage and transport.
In the consumer country, Hydrogen is extracted from MCH by dehydrogenation reaction and supplied as hydrogen gas."

William Stockwell

SJC, right the Toluene isn't being burned it's just the carrier for the hydrogen- Toluene + hydrogen = Methylcyclohexane, Methylcyclohexane - hydrogen= toluene


Both ethanol and methanol can be reformed at lower temperature on the vehicle to hydrogen for PEM fuel cells. The CO2 can be bio renewable sourced.



This is for bulk carrying as opposed to looking for something that can be reformed on board a vehicle, so what is going to count is whether it is easier or more efficient to use this than ethanol etc for that purpose, and presumably their sums come out showing it is.

Although this uses a hydrocarbon source of NG, once the supply chain is set up any source of hydrogen could be used.

For instance solar arrays in places with a high incidence of sun can utilise that, and the amount of sun they are collecting is so much higher than in places like the UK and Northern Europe, fantastically so in winter, that that covers a lot of the losses in going through the hydrogen or liquids phase.

And the land is cheap in many suitable regions.


My point is carrying liquid fuel is better than highly compressed hydrogen. Ethanol can be transported and dispensed like gasoline or diesel with no sulfur and bio renewable.


In the near future, lower cost clean H2 from surplus/excess REs and the use of lower cost FCEVs (of all sizes), will be one of the best way to lower GHG, stabilize temperature and reduce negative impacts on our health, living creatures and the globe.

Specially for heavier vehicles operating in cold countries.

BEVs, with improved batteries (by 2025-2030), will also contribute positively.


SJC said:

'My point is carrying liquid fuel is better than highly compressed hydrogen.'

Just so, I would have thought, although the Japanese are building ships to transport liquid hydrogen from Australia too.


Transporting around the world by sea is different than filling car fuel tanks. We can make huge quantities of methanol and ethanol from renewable sources. Reformers and fuel cells emit no NOx.

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