AHEAD breaks the ground for hydrogen plant

|     Daniel Lim     |

THE Advanced Hydrogen Energy Chain Association for Technology Development (AHEAD), created by four companies – Chiyoda Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsui & Co Ltd, and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha – and funded by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), held a ground breaking ceremony yesterday for the construction of the world’s first global hydrogen supply chain demonstration plant at the project site located at Sungai Liang Industrial Park (SPARK).

The plant is a collaborative project between the governments of Brunei Darussalam and Japan and a direct response to growing global concerns on greenhouse gas emissions and how it has adversely affected the planet as outlined in the Paris Agreement.

Present during the ceremony to pray for the safety of the demo plant during its construction and eventual operation was Deputy Minister of Energy and Industry Dato Paduka Awang Haji Matsatejo bin Sokiaw, the guest of honour.

Also present were Legislative Council (LegCo) members YB Haji Abdul Hamid bin Haji Mumin, Penghulu of Mukim Liang and YB Hanapi bin Mohd Siput, Village Head of Kampong Labi I; Haji Kamaludin bin Haji Bungsu, Permanent Secretary (Manpower and SHENA) at the Energy and Industry Department; Motohiko Kato, Ambassador of Japan to Brunei Darussalam; Masayoshi Yamakage, Director of Advanced Energy Systems and Structure Division, Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Department, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan; and Hideki Endo, President of AHEAD.

Various penghulus and village heads from the surrounding areas, representatives from project partners and invited guests from Japan – including from the Japanese Government, the city of Kawasaki and Japanese companies – were also in attendance to oversee the momentous occasion.

The ceremony marking the commencement of the construction of the demo park represents a large bilateral step forward for Brunei and Japan in terms of investment into the next generation of clean energy alternatives.

Deputy Minister of Energy and Industry Dato Paduka Awang Haji Matsatejo bin Sokiaw; Ambassador of Japan to Brunei Darussalam Motohiko Kato; and Director of Advanced Energy Systems and Structure Division Masayoshi Yamakage officiating the ground breaking ceremony of AHEAD Hydrogenation Demo Plant. – PHOTOS: RAHWANI ZAHARI
The Deputy Minister of Energy and Industry being briefed about the Hydrogen Supply Project

“Backed by Japanese technology as well as support from the Bruneian Government and Japan, Brunei will enter a new era of environmentally friendly energy that will sustain the future generation,” said Motohiko Kato.

He noted that the project will also help establish further ties between Brunei and Japan, and provide Brunei the opportunity to take advantage of hydrogen to preserve its beautiful environment.

“I hope the bright young students at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) will be inspired by this project and consider how they can contribute to hydrogen energy use in Brunei.”

Adding on to the Japanese Ambassador’s points was Masayoshi Yamakage, noting that the Paris Agreement has encouraged the transition to de-carbonisation and that hydrogen represents a key technology to realise that transition.

“The Japanese Government formulated a ‘Basic Hydrogen Strategy’ in December last year, and this project is very important in realising a ‘hydrogen society’… for Brunei this involves taking advantage of its rich natural resources and making use of Japan’s hydrogen technology to create a harmonious relationship,” he said.

Yamakage concluded his speech by noting that the success of the project is dependent on the close cooperation between Brunei and Japan, and that realising the innovation is the first step towards a hydrogen society focussed on promoting global de-carbonisation.

This sentiment was shared by Dato Paduka Awang Haji Matsatejo, who stated his hope that hydrogen related activities will grow in Brunei to help diversify and develop its economy in the mid to long term.

“I also would like to encourage the use of hydrogen fuel, especially in the transportation sector, and encourage the involvement of educational institutions to promote and raise awareness of this fuel,” he said, adding that while the world is still far away from adopting hydrogen as a mainstream energy source, there is no reason why Brunei cannot be one of the pioneers in the development of this clean energy system.

The ceremony continued with the guest of honour and the invited guests taking part in an official blessing for the plant. A plaque was signed by Dato Paduka Awang Haji Matsatejo to commemorate the ground breaking ceremony.

Following the ceremony, a short presentation outlining the demo plant’s construction and expected plans during its operation was delivered by Nurhazirah binti Mesli, an Administration Officer (Liaison Officer) at AHEAD.

The demo plant is scheduled to be completed in September 2019 and will begin operations by 2020.

Hydrogen will then be transported in liquid form by ship to Kawasaki, Japan for a year. Once in Kawasaki, hydrogen gas will be extracted from the liquid and supplied to consumers.