Saudi Arabia has sent the world’s first shipment of blue ammonia fuel to Japan, where it will be used in power stations to produce electricity without carbon emissions.
According to the details, Saudi Aramco made the announcement Sunday after it had produced the fuel, which it does by converting hydrocarbons into hydrogen and then ammonia, and capturing the carbon dioxide byproduct.
Japan will receive 40 tons of blue ammonia in the first shipment, Aramco said.
Ammonia can be burned in thermal power stations without releasing carbon emissions which meant that it has “the potential to make a significant contribution to an affordable and reliable low-carbon energy future,” according to state-controlled Aramco.
Japan aims to be a world-leader in the use of hydrogen, which is contained in ammonia. The country has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 26% by 2030 from 2013 levels, under the Paris climate pact.
Blue ammonia is a feedstock for blue hydrogen, a version of the fuel made from fossil fuels with a process that captures and stores carbon dioxide emissions. Hydrogen from renewable energy that creates no emissions is known as green hydrogen.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is increasingly trying to counter its reputation for producing dirty energy. In recent months, Aramco has highlighted the low volume of greenhouse gases emitted from pumping Saudi crude, programs to boost gas production and plans to grow carbon-absorbing mangroves.
“This world-first demonstration represents an exciting opportunity for Aramco to showcase the potential of hydrocarbons as a reliable and affordable source of low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia,” said Aramco’s chief technology officer, Ahmad Al-Khowaiter.