Companies sign MoU to study hydrogen for Singapore’s energy future

Article by Amanda Jasi

SINGAPOREAN and Japanese companies, including Mitsubishi, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to study hydrogen as a low-carbon alternative that could contribute to a clean and sustainable energy future for Singapore.

The seven companies will work together to evaluate the technical and commercial feasibility of hydrogen use, to develop a business case for hydrogen import and use in Singapore. Under the agreement, they will aim to develop ways to use hydrogen as a “green energy” source, which will involve research and development of technologies for importing, transporting, and storing hydrogen.

Working with Chiyoda, a key technology and supply chain solution partner, the companies will identify and demonstrate use cases using Chiyoda’s SPERA Hydrogen technology, which allows hydrogen to be transported safely in chemical tankers at atmospheric temperature and pressure. Chiyoda is an engineering company and EPC contractor. Global integrated business enterprise Mitsubishi will support development as Chiyoda’s main shareholder.

Researchers at National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore will work alongside the companies “to look at how technologies in this area – such as catalysis and membrane technologies – can be further developed for the production and distribution of hydrogen,” said NFR CEO Low Teck Seng. NRF sets the national direction for research and development.

Seng added: “Singapore needs to stay ahead in the research and development of alternative energy sources in our transition towards a low-carbon and low-emission economy. We are encouraged that companies are coming together, leveraging each other’s expertise, to study how hydrogen can be used as an emissions-free alternative to existing carbon sources.”

Tan Soo Koong, CEO of MoU signatory Singapore LNG Corporation (SLNG), said: “This MoU marks an important first step towards making another sustainable energy option, namely hydrogen, available for Singapore […] We are in the midst of a global energy transition, and SLNG is committed to doing what we can to facilitate and catalyse this process.”

The Singapore Government, prompted by the “very real challenge of climate change”, is encouraging various shareholders to co-create solutions for Singapore’s energy story. As part of its future energy story, the country intends to harness four switches, including a switch to low carbon alternatives – such as carbon capture, usage, and storage, and hydrogen – that have the potential to reduce its carbon footprint.

Furthermore, NRF, along with the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), are to tackle the maritime decarbonisation challenge through research and technology. MPA is the driving force behind Singapore's port and maritime development.

The companies involved in the MoU include five Singaporean companies and two Japanese companies. The Singaporean companies include: PSA Corporation, which operates the world’s largest container transhipment hub in Singapore; Jurong Port, a world-class, multipurpose port operator; City Gas, which produces gas distributed island-wide to residents and commercial and industrial customers; Sembcorp Industries, a leading energy, marine, and urban development group; and, Singapore LNG, that has a primary mandate to provide throughput services for the domestic market. The Japanese companies involved are Mitsubishi and Chiyoda.

Companies in other countries are also making efforts to develop hydrogen technology for sustainability. Recently, the Hydrogen Taskforce was established in the UK. Composed of ten organisations “at the heart of the UK energy system” – including energy majors Shell and BP – it aims to promote the large-scale deployment of hydrogen. In its opening report, the Taskforce called on the UK Government to commit funding of £1bn (US$1.23bn) to hydrogen production, storage, and distribution projects.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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