Pilot project to demonstrate commercial use of fuel ammonia
Photo courtesy of Mitsui Chemicals

Pilot project to demonstrate commercial use of fuel ammonia

A joint pilot project to demonstrate the commercial use of fuel ammonia to naphtha crackers will be undertaken by Mitsui Chemicals, Inc., Maruzen Petrochemical Co., Ltd., Toyo Engineering Corporation, and Sojitz Machinery Corporation.

The pilot project will be funded by Japanโ€™s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). 

The project proponents had applied to the Green Innovation Fund for projects aimed at the development of technology for producing raw materials for plastics using CO2 and other sources, focusing in particular on the development of advanced technologies for naphtha crackers.

The goal of the pilot project is to switch naphtha crackers from running on conventional methane-based fuel to one in which ammonia is the principal component, thereby reducing the CO2 emissions generated by combustion virtually to zero. 

The trial is expected to run for 10 years, from Fiscal Year 2021 to Fiscal Year 2030. After feasibility has been demonstrated in an entirely ammonia-fired commercial cracker in the projectโ€™s final year, the goal is to make it commercially available.

Through the construction and operation of the plant along with the manufacture of the equipment, these four companies will leverage their knowledge and technical capabilities in the field of ethylene plants as they aim now to achieve the social implementation of entirely ammonia-fired crackers, thereby contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions throughout the petrochemical industry.

Mitsui Chemicals will be responsible for overall project coordination, operation of the test cracker. Together with Maruzen Petrochemical, Mitsui will also operate the demonstration cracker. Toyo Engineering will be responsible for the conceptual design of the optimal fuel conversion, engineering and construction of the test and demonstration cracker and auxiliary facilities. Sojitz Machinery will be responsible for the burner development and manufacture.