The so-called AHEAD project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of an international hydrogen energy supply chain. The government-backed initiative is led by Chiyoda, Mitsubishi, Mitsui & Co and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha.
Hydrogen is produced in Brunei and transported to Japan in ISO tanks. At a dehydrogenation plant in Kawasaki, hydrogen is separated from methylcyclohexane (MCH) and supplied to the Mizue thermal power plant at the Keihin refinery.
Another chemical, toluene, is separated from MCH and is returned to Brunei where it is integrated again with hydrogen and transformed back into MCH. Toluene will be repeatedly used as a means of transporting hydrogen in the future supply chain, AHEAD said on Tuesday.
Under the government plans, Japan will set the commercialization of hydrogen-based electricity by 2030 as part of its energy transition plans and low carbon future.
“The supply of hydrogen to gas turbines marks the first consumption of foreign produced hydrogen for power generation in Japan, leaving a significant footprint towards mass consumption of hydrogen in the electricity sector,” AHEAD said.
The Asian country is the world’s No. 1 importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and still heavily relies on coal-fired power plants.