Tokyo — Japan's Itochu said Feb. 26 it was considering building the world's largest scale liquefied hydrogen plant in Chubu in the central Japan from options including LNG at the earliest possible date with Air Liquide Japan and Itochu Enex under a strategic collaboration to develop hydrogen supply chain.
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The move follows signing of a memorandum of understanding between Itochu, Air Liquide Japan and Itochu Enex to develop an upstream-to-downstream hydrogen supply chain, with an eye on hydrogen imports into Japan.
As part of the MoU, the companies are first looking to build a 30 mt/day liquefied hydrogen plant in the country's industrial hub of the Chubu region and take a decision regarding the plant at an earliest possible date, an Itochu spokeswoman said.
The companies will jointly explore a competitive hydrogen production, supply system as well as expanding their hydrogen station business in Japan, as well as establishing a hydrogen supply chain with an eye on importing into Japan.
LNG can be among options to be used for producing blue hydrogen as part of the companies' consideration for the Chubu plant, the spokeswoman said. Blue is commonly used for hydrogen production from fossil fuels with carbon dioxide emissions reduced by the use of carbon capture, utilization and storage, or CCUS, according to the International Energy Agency.
The latest development followed the launch of Japan's Green Growth Strategy for 2050 Carbon Neutral at the end of December. Japan was targeting to introduce 3 million mt/year of hydrogen by 2030 and introduce 20 million mt/year by 2050 by accelerating developments of international supply networks as well as cultivating demand in various sectors.
Air Liquide Japan, the Japanese subsidiary of Air Liquide -- the world's largest industrial gas company -- is also part of the Hydrogen Utilization Study Group in Chubu, which released a report on the Chubu hydrogen demand outlook Feb. 19.
Hydrogen demand in Japan's Chubu region is forecast to rise to 110,000 mt/year by 2030 from 40,000 mt/year in 2025 as a result of expected demand growth from the power generation and petroleum refining sectors, according to the report.
Roughly 80% of its estimated 2030 hydrogen demand will come from the power, refining and petrochemical sectors, and the balance from hydrogen stations and fuel cells for home power generation, according to the report.
Other members of the Hydrogen Utilization Study Group in Chubu are Idemitsu Kosan, Iwatani, ENEOS, Sumitomo, Chubu Electric, Toho Gas, Toyota Motor, Nippon Steel, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mitsui Chemicals.