ARKANSAS, January 31 (Future Headlines)- A consortium of Japanese companies, including Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co., IHI Corporation, Mitsui & Co., and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), has embarked on a joint study aimed at establishing an ammonia supply base in the Soma area of Fukushima Prefecture. The initiative is part of the companies’ commitment to exploring ammonia as a carbon-free fuel that has the potential to play a crucial role in mitigating global warming.

Ammonia is gaining prominence as a carbon-free fuel due to its characteristic of emitting no carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned. This property positions ammonia as an effective measure against global warming, making it a valuable resource for the transition to cleaner energy alternatives. The ability of ammonia to replace fossil fuels positions it as a next-generation energy source, contributing not only to the decarbonization of the industrial sector but also to power generation.

The study aims to delve into the establishment of an ammonia supply base in the Soma area, focusing on importing, storing, and supplying clean ammonia from overseas. The Fukushima Prefecture location has been chosen strategically for its potential to serve as a key hub for these activities. Beyond its role as a fuel, ammonia holds promise as a hydrogen carrier—a substance that can transport hydrogen and facilitate its storage and transportation. This characteristic positions ammonia as a key player in building a hydrogen society, where hydrogen serves as a common energy source. The study will likely explore and leverage the broader applications of ammonia in the emerging hydrogen-centric energy landscape.

The consortium’s study extends beyond the establishment of a local supply base, encompassing research into the formation of a wide-area supply base for ammonia. This broader perspective involves conducting a demand survey for hydrogen and ammonia. The collaboration between the participating companies aims to create a comprehensive understanding of the potential demand for ammonia in various sectors.

The study also envisions research on the decarbonization of plants, including thermal power generation. Collaboration with power generation companies, steel companies, paper companies, chemical companies, and other industrial customers will be a key component of this research. The goal is to anticipate and address future demand for ammonia in various industries, paving the way for widespread adoption.

The ammonia produced as part of this initiative will employ a method designed to significantly reduce the amount of CO2 generated during conventional ammonia synthesis. This approach aligns with the global push for environmentally friendly practices and low-impact industrial processes. The commitment to sustainable and low-environmental-impact production methods underscores the consortium’s dedication to addressing climate change.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), one of the participating companies, will play a pivotal role in using the Soma Area as a base for building the ammonia supply base. The objective is not only to contribute to the decarbonization of the region but also to spur economic development. MOL’s involvement extends beyond the study, as the company recently received approval in principle (AiP) from the classification society ClassNK for the design of a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) for ammonia. This strategic move positions MOL at the forefront of developments in ammonia-related infrastructure.

To advance the study, the consortium will collaborate with Fukushima Prefecture, Soma City, and Shinchi Town. The involvement of both the public and private sectors is seen as a critical factor in realizing the project’s objectives. The collaborative effort aims to contribute not only to regional decarbonization but also to the broader economic development of the Fukushima Prefecture area.

Reporting by Kevin Wood; Editing by Sarah White