Major industrial groups, Woodside Energy, “Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation”, Hokuriku Electric Power Company and the Kansai Electric Power Co, have signed a joint research agreement to study the feasibility of developing an ammonia-based fuel supply chain from Australian to Japan.
Ammonia, is a colourless and pungent gas at room temperature and at sea level. It also packs a punch as liquid ammonia has an energy density by volume of 11.5 megajoules per litre and an energy density by mass of 22.5 megajoules per kilogram.
That means it is potentially a good fuel, although there are issues with its toxicity and its ignition point. It is especially attractive in the current environment as it is a compound gas composed of three hydrogen atoms and one nitrogen atom. That means it is completely carbon free so no carbon dioxide emissions!
As ammonia is already a well-established and internationally traded commodity with proven technologies and a substantial body of knowledge as to its handling, “it is expected to have early take-up as a zero-emission fuel,” the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals company says.
Under the joint agreement, the companies will carry out a feasibility study into the whole supply chain, including the production of clean fuel ammonia from natural gas with carbon dioxide emissions abatement (the carbon emissions here come from natural gas, not ammonia), bio-sequestration, marine transport to Japan, uses of ammonia as a fuel of power generation and marine use and financing.