Eneos buys stake in US clean hydrogen project; to expand to Japan

Eneos buys stake in US clean hydrogen project; to expand to Japan

Japanese refiner Eneos has invested in US firm MVCE Gulf Coast’s low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia project, which seeks to produce clean hydrogen in the Gulf of Mexico in the US and build a clean hydrogen supply chain between Japan and the US.

The project will produce low-carbon hydrogen, ammonia and methylcyclohexane (MCH) in the US Gulf of Mexico. Eneos says it plans to study the feasibility sending hydrogen from the project to Japan using MCH as a hydrogen carrier, targeting to complete it this year.

Construction of output facilities is to start in the mid-2020s. Commercial production of 220,000 tones/year of low-carbon hydrogen involving carbon capture and storage is to start by 2030. Eneos did disclose how much carbon the project expects to be able to capture.

Through its equity participation, Eneos says it will verify the commercial feasibility of manufacturing cost-competitive and clean hydrogen in the Gulf of Mexico and exporting MCH to Japan.

MCH will be produced by combining hydrogen with toluene, enabling hydrogen to be shipped in liquified form without a need to store it at high pressure and very-low temperatures. Eneos declined to say where the toluene will come from.

Eneos sees MCH as key for transporting hydrogen to Japan as it can be shipped and stored in the same way as crude and oil products, using existing tankers and storage tanks. This significantly reduces transport costs compared with those for ammonia and liquefied hydrogen. It plans to launch a MCH production plant in Brisbane, Australia during the April 2025-March 2026 fiscal year.

Established by Azimuth Capital Management, MVCE has extensive experience and knowledge in business areas including hydrogen and ammonia manufacture as well as project development and is developing one of the world’s largest plants for the manufacture of hydrogen, MCH, and ammonia in the Gulf of Mexico.