Eneos and Petronas study clean hydrogen supply chain

Article by Amanda Jasi

PETRONAS and Japanese oil company Eneos have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly develop a competitive clean hydrogen supply chain between Japan and Malaysia, and to explore other hydrogen opportunities.

Under the MoU, the companies will jointly study developing a hydrogen supply chain, including production, and transport in the form of methylcyclohexane (MCH) to enable large volume deliveries. The partners say MCH is quickly gaining traction as a liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) technology due to its chemical stability, which allows for long-term storage and long-distance transport. The use of LOHC technology would also allow the use of existing conventional oil and petrochemicals infrastructure, reducing the need to develop new assets. This makes it a viable option for established energy players.

The companies will explore low-carbon hydrogen production at Petronas’ facilities – which would make use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) – as well as green hydrogen production relying on renewable energy. Petronas already produces low carbon hydrogen at its facilities, but this study will rely on hydrogen co-product from Petronas’ petrochemicals plants.

As part of the MoU, the partners will also look into other hydrogen production opportunities outside of Malaysia.

The partners will further investigate converting the produced hydrogen into the organic hydride MCH, and then shipping it to Eneos refineries in Japan. There, Eneos will study converting MCH back into hydrogen to supply end users, such as power plants and steel plants.

For this work, the partners have applied for funding from Japan’s Green Innovation Fund, which was announced in December 2020. The ¥2trn (US$18.22bn) fund will be used to assist projects over the next decade, as part of additional stimulus measures in response to Covid-19. Eneos intends to actively use this and other government support to achieve early development of a CO2-free hydrogen supply chain.

Adnan Zainal Abidin, CEO and Executive VP of Petronas Gas & New Energy, commented: “This partnership is a testament of how industry collaboration can help accelerate our shared aspiration towards a low carbon future.”

“With emerging clean energy sources like hydrogen, innovation and collaboration with partners in technological development are key, as they contribute towards achieving cost competitiveness and scalability for wider use across businesses and industries.”

Petronas is participating through its wholly-owned subsidiary Petronas Gas & New Energy, which is focussed on natural gas and cleaner energy sources.

The MoU arises from the partners’ net zero emissions aspirations. In November 2020, Petronas announced its aim for net zero emissions by 2050. Eneos aims to be carbon neutral in its CO2 emissions in the 2040 fiscal year.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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