Australian energy giant Woodside Petroleum is partnering with a consortium of Japanese companies to explore establishing a “clean fuel” ammonia supply chain between Australia and Japan.

Woodside revealed Wednesday it had signed a joint research agreement with Japan Oil, Gas & Metals National Corporation (Jogmec), Marubeni, Hokuriku Electric Power Company and Kansai Electric Power Company to carry out a feasibility study into the development of the supply chain.

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This will include the production of clean fuel ammonia in Australia from blue hydrogen utilising natural gas with carbon dioxide abatement methods such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and bio-sequestration.

The study will also explore marine transportation of the ammonia to Japan; utilisation of ammonia as a fuel for power generation and marine use; and financing.

It follows on from an agreement Woodside struck earlier this year with IHI Corporation and Marubeni to explore exporting ammonia from Australia to Japan produced from renewable hydro power in Tasmania.

Japan’s Green Growth Strategy identifies fuel ammonia as a key opportunity for the Asian nation to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Ammonia does not emit carbon dioxide during the combustion process and Japan sees potential for the fuel in energy-intensive thermal power plants and marine engines.

In a joint statement at the Australia-Japan Ministerial Economic Dialogue last week, the two nations reiterated their determination to collaborate on making zero-emissions technology “globally scalable and commercially viable” in order to accelerate the global drive to carbon neutrality.

This includes prioritising efforts to advance initiatives on CCS, clean hydrogen, as well as clean fuel ammonia.