Brunei ships 4.7MT of hydrogen to Japan

James Kon

A total of 4.7 metric tonnes of hydrogen have been shipped to Japan from Brunei Darussalam’s first pilot hydrogenation plant, which is operated by the Advanced Hydrogen Energy Chain Association for Technology Development (AHEAD).

The plant is part of Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO)’s First Global Hydrogen Supply Chain demonstration project that will run from January to December 2020. A total of 210 metric tonnes of hydrogen would be supplied to Japan throughout the year.

This was stated by Minister of Energy Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny bin Haji Mohd Hussein at the opening of ‘The Role Of Hydrogen In Asean’s Energy Transition’ seminar at the Empire Brunei yesterday.

The minister said, “We are poised as a pioneer towards finding an affordable means of global hydrogen transportation using Chiyoda Corporation’s SPERA Hydrogen technology. The plant takes liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Brunei LNG Sdn Bhd. This hydrogenation plant then produces hydrogen and then repackages it in the form of a stable compound – methylcyclohexane – to be transported over long distances using conventional commercial shipping.”

He added, “Our first shipment to the receiving plant at Kawasaki, Japan arrived on December 18, last year. This is a world record for transporting hydrogen over long distance under atmospheric conditions. And every week, the plant ships five ISO tank containers, carrying 20,000 litres of methylcyclohexane.

“After the end of the hydrogen supply chain demonstration project, we will assess the outcomes. While building on the foundations laid through this project to support hydrogen energy development and explore its deployment for the nation. We welcome opportunities for collaboration in hydrogen energy innovations.

Minister of Energy Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny bin Haji Mohd Hussein, Deputy Minister of Energy Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Matsatejo bin Sokiaw, organisers and speakers in a group photo. PHOTO: JAMES KON

“One of the main areas that could unlock further hydrogen demand is the mobility or transportation sector. Hydrogen fuel cells are an avenue that is currently being explored closely between the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications.

“With growing demand for electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells, it may be a matter of time before the market landscape and global supply of vehicle changes. Early preparations for the future will be key.”

Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny also reaffirmed Brunei Darussalam‘s support of the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation 2016 to 2025, with its goal of ‘Enhancing Energy Connectivity and Market Integration in ASEAN to Achieve Energy Security, Accessibility, Affordability and Sustainability for All’.

He said, “Hydrogen energy may supplement and even enhance existing strategies under this framework of cooperation. During our chairmanship of the ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting next year, we will explore ways to advance this agenda. With the energy landscape evolving against an increasingly complex socio-economic and environmental backdrop, it is imperative that we too remain resilient, yet adaptable for the future.”

‘The Role Of Hydrogen In Asean’s Energy Transition’ seminar was hosted by the Brunei National Energy Research Institute (BNERI) and the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and the Centre for Advanced Material and Energy Sciences (CAMES) under Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), in collaboration with the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), to formulate a proposal for regional activities that would jumpstart large-scale hydrogen-based technologies in the region.

The one-day seminar was jointly supported by the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications and the Ministry of Energy, with the endorsement and sponsorship of ASEAN through its Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI).

The seminar revolved around three primary objectives: to review developments of Asean member states’ (AMS) policies and challenges on the role of hydrogen in the transition towards low-carbon energy systems; to take stock of hydrogen demonstration projects implemented in the AMS, as well as to document current challenges and key lessons learned from these pilot projects; and to discuss with the AMS’ stakeholders the possible activities that can be supported at the ASEAN level, to promote investments and deployment of hydrogen fuel and technologies.

Brunei Darussalam’s first pilot hydrogenation plant operated by AHEAD in Sungai Liang Industrial Park began operations in November 2019, and has since been exporting hydrogen to Kawasaki in Japan, to test hydrogen energy transportation through conventional shipping methods, as part of a global hydrogen supply chain demonstration project.

Also attending the seminar were Deputy Minister of Energy Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Matsatejo bin Sokiaw, Permanent Secretary (Energy) at the Ministry of Energy Haji Azhar bin Haji Yahya; Deputy Permanent Secretary (Energy and Power) at the Ministry of Energy Pengiran Haji Jamra Weira bin Pengiran Haji Petra; Deputy Chief of Mission from the Embassy of Japan in Brunei Darussalam Hiroshi Abe; Deputy High Commissioner of Singapore to Brunei Darussalam Raymond Chow and Assistant Vice Chancellor (Global Affairs) of UBD Dr Joyce Teo Siew Yean.

The participants comprised member states stakeholders from all across ASEAN, as well as public and corporate representatives from Japan.