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Aramco Announces World’s First Blue Ammonia Shipment

Aramco Announces World’s First Blue Ammonia Shipment

Monday, 28 September, 2020 - 10:30
The logo of Aramco at the Plaza Conference Center in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (File photo: Reuters)

Saudi Aramco announced it will be producing the first shipment of blue ammonia in partnership with the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ), and SABIC.

Aramco have successfully demonstrated the production and shipment of blue ammonia to Japan with support from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

This step highlights the pathways within the concept of a global circular carbon economy, a framework in which CO2 emissions are reduced, removed, recycled and reused, rather than being released into the atmosphere.

Saudi Arabia has universally adopted the concept of the carbon economy. Last week, Riyadh chaired the 2020 Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation Ministerial virtual meetings to promote the carbon economy and support sustainable energy.

Through its current presidency of the G20, Saudi Arabia is pushing towards expanding the circular carbon economy, as a framework for promoting access to sustainable and reliable energy at a lower cost.

Riyadh reiterated the need to encourage the use of energy technologies based on research, development and innovation that enhance such an economy.

Aramco indicated that 40 tons of high-grade blue ammonia has already been dispatched to Japan for use in zero-carbon power generation.

This shows the role hydrogen will play in the global energy system.

Ammonia, a compound consisting of three-parts hydrogen and one-part nitrogen, can contribute to addressing the challenge of meeting the world’s growing energy demands in a reliable, affordable and sustainable manner.

It contains approximately 18 percent hydrogen by weight and is already a widely traded chemical around the world, and has the potential to make a significant contribution to an affordable and reliable low-carbon energy future.

SABIC and Mitsubishi Corporation, which is represented on the IEEJ study team involved in the project, are overseeing the transport logistics in partnership with JGC Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and UBE Industries.

The Saudi-Japan blue ammonia supply network includes the conversion of hydrocarbons to hydrogen and then to ammonia, as well as the capture of associated CO2 emissions.

The company overcame challenges associated with shipping blue ammonia to Japan by capturing 30 tons of CO2 during the process designated for use in methanol production at SABIC’s Ibn-Sina facility and another 20 tons used for Enhanced Oil Recovery at Aramco’s Uthmaniyah field.

Speaking on the occasion, Aramco’s Chief Technology Officer, Ahmad al-Khowaiter, expects the use of hydrogen to grow in the global energy system.

He indicated that the world’s first shipment is 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, according to Khowaiter.

He added that Aramco continues to work “with various partners to find solutions through the deployment of breakthrough technologies to produce low-carbon energy and address the global climate challenge.”

For his part, IEEJ Chairman Toyoda Masakazu asserted that blue ammonia is critical to Japan’s zero carbon emission ambitions to sustain the balance between the environment and the economy.

He indicated that about 10 percent of power in Japan can be generated by 30 million tons of blue ammonia.

The Vice President of Energy Efficiency and Carbon Management at SABIC, Fahad al-Sherehy, announced that SABIC can economically leverage the existing infrastructure for hydrogen and ammonia production with CO2 capture.

“Our experience in the full supply chain along with integrated petrochemicals facilities will play an important role in providing blue ammonia to the world.”

The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan was established in 1966 and became a certified incorporated foundation by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry in September that year.

The aim of its establishment was to carry out research activities specialized in energy from the viewpoint of the national economy in a bid to contribute to the development of Japanese energy-supplying and energy-consuming industries and help improve people’s life.

It objectively analyzes energy problems and provides basic data, information and reports necessary for the formulation of policies.

With the diversification of social needs, IEEJ expanded its activities to include topics such as environmental problems and international cooperation closely related to energy.

Saudi Aramco aims to become an integrated global leader in the field of energy and chemicals, as it is currently producing one barrel for every eight barrels of global oil supply.

Aramco continues to develop new energy technologies, focusing on the reliability and sustainability of its resources which help enhance stability and long-term growth around the world.

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