Chiyoda Corporation announced Tuesday that together with Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsui & Co. Ltd, and NYK Line, it successfully completed the world’s first global hydrogen supply chain.
In this regard, the demonstration project, conducted by the Advanced Hydrogen Energy Chain Association for Technology Development (AHEAD) and first launched in 2015, validates the feasibility of a technology like this.
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The World’s First Global Hydrogen Supply Chain
In fact, the demonstration project was conducted in 2015 by the Advanced Hydrogen Energy Chain Association for Technology Development (AHEAD) and subsidized by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). Consequently, this effort includes other AHEAD members such as Mitsui & Co. Ltd and NYK Line.
Indeed, the demonstration was part of the project’s second phase (2017-2020), including the design, procurement, construction, and operation of facilities. Therefore, these EPC activities aimed to validate the feasibility of the global hydrogen supply chain.
Furthermore, the research considered the results of an infrastructure technology study completed in the project’s first phase (2015–2017).
Important to note, the hydrogen supply chain, which maximizes the use of existing infrastructure and meets international safety standards, commences with hydrogen procurement in the source country.
After that, the chain transports the product to consuming countries in the form of methylcyclohexane (MCH). Finally, the project distributes this component using Chiyoda’s SPERA Hydrogen technology.
According to Chiyoda, hydrogen as liquid methylcyclohexane (MCH) is produced from toluene and hydrogen. In this regard, it can be safely and economically stored and transported. Accordingly, both toluene and MCH are maintained in a liquid state at ambient temperatures and pressures.
Chiyoda on the project
Furthermore, MCH is commonly used as a solvent, for example, in whiteout correction tape, and has a low degree of risk as a chemical substance. Therefore, by utilizing the organic chemical hydride (OCH) method with MCH, hydrogen in a liquid can be stored and transported at a compressed volume of approximately one 500th. Thus, like that of hydrogen at ambient temperature and pressure.
The chain extracts gaseous hydrogen from MCH. In fact, this process is possible through the dehydrogenation at the supplying site. Therefore, Chiyoda has successfully developed the proprietary dehydrogenation catalyst for MCH. Furthermore, the company has conducted technological demonstrations to make the catalyst for practical use.
Also, Chiyoda has registered MCH, including hydrogen for storage and transportation, as the trade name SPERA Hydrogen.
To summarize, the demonstration verified that the system is technically ready for commercial use. These conclusions came from transporting and storing more than 100 tons of hydrogen over ten (10) months. Finally, the demonstration project confirmed SPERA Hydrogen’s potential contribution to global carbon neutrality in 2050.
On the whole, Chiyoda will now expand the system towards semi-commercialization by the mid-2020s. Therefore, the company will reduce costs through economies of scale in line with increased hydrogen demand.