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Tokyo Gas begins synthetic methane trial using green hydrogen

Tokyo Gas Co Ltd, Japan’s largest city gas supplier has started a pilot program for mechanization, a process to decarbonize city gas. By next March, this experiment would employ green hydrogen produced from renewable sources.

Synthetic methane, a substitute for the major component of natural gas, is produced via anaerobic digestion from hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2). It is considered a strategy to utilize CO2 as a feedstock that can assist the business in being carbon neutral by 2050.

Methane may be utilized in a variety of applications, such as as a feedstock for the chemical industry and as a fuel to produce heat and electricity at home or in power stations.

Tokyo Gas erected a Hitachi Zosen biogas plant at its research facility in Yokohama, close to Tokyo, and started producing the fuel from outside hydrogen and CO2 purchases for the first phase of testing to create 12.5 normal cubic meters per hour (Nm3/h) of synthetic methane.

Hisataka Yakabe, managing director of Tokyo Gas, gave the journalists a tour of the facilities and said that the firm intends to install a water electrolysis device from the British company ITM Power and use hydrogen from renewable sources to make synthetic methane by March.

Additionally, it will make use of the CO2 that is released and absorbed by nearby factories or by its clients.

By 2030, Tokyo Gas wants to replace 1% of the volume of municipal gas with synthetic methane. In the late 2020s, the trial will be increased to create 400 Nm3/h, and in 2030, a demonstration will be held abroad to produce 20,000 Nm3/h.

“Cost reduction is the largest problem,” Yakabe said, adding that even with cheap renewables from overseas and less expensive hydrogen generation, the cost of biogas by 2030 will be much higher than liquefied natural gas (LNG) pricing.

He continued, “Cost reduction must be accomplished in different ways.

In an additional effort to create international synthetic methane supply chains, Tokyo Gas is working with Sumitomo Corp., Petronas, and Mitsubishi Corp. to perform feasibility studies in Malaysia, North America, and Australia.


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