Japan's Chiyoda says hydrogen pilot project begins to fuel power plant

KAWASAKI, Japan (Reuters) - Japan’s Chiyoda Corp and its partners said on Thursday that their pilot hydrogen project, using imported hydrogen from Brunei, has begun providing clean fuel for the gas turbine power generators of Toa Oil Co in Kawasaki, near Tokyo.

The move marks the first consumption of foreign-produced hydrogen for power generation in Japan and the world’s first successful international hydrogen supply chain, the companies said.

Chiyoda, Mitsubishi Corp, Mitsui & Co and Nippon Yusen, have been working on the hydrogen demonstration project since 2015, using the organic chemical hydride method, with an aim to import 210 tonnes of hydrogen a year from Brunei to Japan.

Their research unit, called Advanced Hydrogen Energy Chain Association For Technology Development (AHEAD), have built a hydrogenation plant in Brunei and dehydrogenation plant in Japan.

They transport hydrogen, extracted from gas piped directly from liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, from Brunei in liquefied form at an ambient temperature and pressure.

Then, it is dehydrogenated in Japan, extracting hydrogen to be used as fuel at gas power generators.

The pilot project will continue through November this year. Toa’s Kawasaki plant can generate 80 megawatts of electricity

“Our mission is to spread hydrogen,” Takakazu Morimoto, president of AHEAD, told a news conference.

“We want to use hydrogen extracted from renewable energy in the future and establish a strong supply chain,” he said, adding that their advantages are an ability to transport hydrogen at a normal temperature and pressure, and to use existing facilities used for oil and with high safety standards.

“Our aim is to transport 350,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year to power a 1-gigawatt hydrogen-fired power plant in 2030,” he said.

Hydrogen has long been touted as a clean alternative to fossil fuels. Now, as major economies prepare green investments to kickstart growth, advocates spy a golden chance to drag the niche energy into the mainstream of a post-pandemic world.

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Kim Coghill