Japan’s ENEOS has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Neoen Australia to consider developing a CO2-free hydrogen supply chain in South Australia under which the companies aim to transport hydrogen in the form of methylcyclohexane (MCH) to Japan, according to S&P Global.
The two companies will run a pre-feasibility study by the end of 2021 to examine potential for stable supply of affordable hydrogen produced from renewable energy in South Australia, a company spokesperson said.
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The study will look at manufacturing green hydrogen from renewable energy-derived power through water electrolysis in Australia, conversion of manufactured hydrogen into MCH for hydrogen storage and transport, and maritime transport of MCH to Japan by tankers.
It will also investigate receipt, storage and dehydrogenation of MCH at ENEOS refineries and supply of hydrogen for industrial use at nearby thermal power plants and steel refineries, and retuning toluene separated in the dehydrogenation process to Australia for repeat use as a raw material in MCH production.
ENEOS, which is also considering CO2-free hydrogen supply chains in the Middle East and Asia, sees great potential in cost-competitive hydrogen production in Australia due to its favourable climate conditions and expansive land.
In South Australia, Neoen is currently developing two pioneering projects—the Goyder Renewables Zone and Crystal Brook Energy Park—which combine wind, solar and battery storage to provide a firm renewable energy power supply.
Neoen, one of the world’s leading independent renewable energy producers, also has more than 2GW of renewable energy generation in operation or under construction in Australia.
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ENEOS also plans to commence a 204MW solar power plant in Queensland with an eye to establishing its CO2-free hydrogen supply chain in Australia.
The latest move by ENEOS comes at a time when Japan sees hydrogen as among key measures to decarbonise its power, transport and industrial sectors as part of its move toward 2050 carbon neutrality.