Japanese companies Chiyoda and Mitsubishi are partnering with the Port of Rotterdam Authority and Koole Terminals in the Netherlands to carry out a study into importing hydrogen into the north-west European port.

The companies signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly study importing hydrogen on a commercial scale using Chiyoda’s hydrogen storage and transportation technology.

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Chiyoda’s SEPRA Hydrogen technology uses a liquefied organic hydrogen carrier, with methylcyclohexane — a liquid produced from toluene and hydrogen — acting as the carrier for the hydrogen.

Methylcyclohexane can be handled in a liquid state at ambient temperature and pressure, making it comparable to petroleum and other chemical products, which Chiyoda claims allows it to be stored and transported safely.

“By utilising existing infrastructure and current international petrochemical standards, the massive initial investment burden is significantly reduced,” Chiyoda said a statement.

“Chiyoda is confident that this study, aiming to build an international hydrogen supply chain, will contribute to the decarbonisation path of Europe, supporting the global drive to a sustainable future.”

Import hub

The Port of Rotterdam Authority’s Hydrogen Master Plan envisages the port becoming a European hydrogen import hub, with potentially up to 20 million tonnes of hydrogen flowing through the Dutch port annually by 2050.

However, in the near term, it is targeting more modest imports of between 100,000 and 200,000 tonnes by 2025, with that figure to grow to 300,000 to 400,000 tonnes by 2030.

Chiyoda has used its SEPRA Hydrogen technology to successfully transport hydrogen from Brunei to Japan last year in collaboration with fellow Japanese companies Mitsubishi, Mitsui and NYK Line.

The demonstration project was initially launched in 2015 and Chiyoda claims it demonstrated the world’s first global hydrogen supply chain system.

Chiyoda further claims the demonstration proved its technology was technically ready for commercial use and it is now expanding the system towards semi-commercialisation by the mid-2020s, and seeking to reduce costs through “economies of scale” in line with increased hydrogen demand.

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