Business & Economy

Global supply chain to power Japan’s hydrogen ambitions

By Maria Roldan

Kobe, Japan, Oct 29 (EFE).- Japan has completed the world’s first liquefied hydrogen transport tests by sea as part of an ambitious project to commercialize a hydrogen supply chain, from production to transportation, storage, and utilization, by 2030

The project operation base, which has attracted attention for its unprecedented scale, is located on an artificial island near Kobe airport.

The world-first liquefied hydrogen carrier, Suiso Frontier, is located there.

The initiative has the support of the Japanese government and Australia.

It is led by a consortium of seven Japanese companies led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, which seeks to replicate its success as a builder of liquefied natural gas freighters with hydrogen.

“I think liquid hydrogen will play a very important role as we move towards carbon neutrality,” Kawasaki deputy general manager Motohiko Nishimura told EFE.

Japan is among the governments to include hydrogen in energy strategy to reduce polluting emissions.

The country expects that the gas, which does not emit carbon dioxide when burned, will represent around one percent of its energy generation by 2030 and will increase in subsequent years.

Hydrogen has long been used as a fuel in the aerospace industry.

Its main uses are the refining of oil and the production of chemicals. But its demand in general sectors such as transport or energy generation continues to be limited.

There are many ways to produce hydrogen, but the most widespread is through coal and natural gas, which means that obtaining this source of clean energy implies generating carbon dioxide.

How to capture, store, and manage carbon dioxide without releasing it to the atmosphere “is a very important point,” said Nishimura.

The hydrogen used in the project is produced from lignite, a type of coal, mined in the Latrobe Valley in Australia.

Carbon capture and storage technology are being used there.

Carbon dioxide is absorbed by water, which becomes carbonated and is stored in an aquifer.

The hydrogen obtained there is liquefied and transported to Japan in the cargo ship.

The first transport tests began in June. The ship successfully traveled the 9,000 km distance for 16 days to discharge hydrogen in Kobe.

The tests will continue in 2022 for the validity and safety of the technology for its commercial feasibility by 2030.

The Suiso Frontier currently has a capacity for 1,250 cubic meters of hydrogen.

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