Saudi Aramco ships blue ammonia to Japan for zero-carbon power

28 September 2020 (Last Updated September 28th, 2020 17:28)

Saudi Aramco and the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) have collaborated with SABIC to send the first shipment of blue ammonia from Saudi Arabia to Japan to be used for generating zero-carbon power.

Saudi Aramco ships blue ammonia to Japan for zero-carbon power
The blue ammonia shipment demonstrated all steps of the value chain. Credit: Saudi Aramco.

Saudi Aramco and the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan have sent the world’s first shipment of blue ammonia to Japan.

The bodies collaborated with SABIC to arrange the shipment from Saudi Arabia. The project intends to demonstrate the value-chain steps needed for zero-carbon power generation.

Ammonia consists of three parts hydrogen and one part nitrogen, and several companies view it as a method to transport hydrogen using existing infrastructure. Its ‘blue’ colour indicates manufacturers used blue hydrogen to make it.

Saudi 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.”

Aramco further added that the shipment of blue ammonia to Japan was supported by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

This Saudi-Japan blue ammonia supply network demonstration covers the complete value chain. The process includes the conversion of hydrocarbons to hydrogen and then to ammonia, as well as the capture of associated CO₂ emissions.

The company further added that the challenges associated with the shipping of blue ammonia to Japan for use in power plants were addressed.

Approximately 30t of CO2 captured during the process has been designated for use in methanol production at SABIC’s Ibn-Sina facility.

Additionally, 20t of CO₂ will be used for Enhanced Oil Recovery at Aramco’s Uthmaniyah field.