NYK has made the decision to invest in Tsubame BHB Co. Ltd., a venture company originating at Tokyo Institute of Technology. Tsubame BHB is working on the practical application of an on-site ammonia synthesis system* that uses a special catalyst technology to produce a required amount of ammonia at a required location.
Ammonia is a chemical product that has been used as a raw material for fertilizers and chemical products for a long time, and since it does not emit carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned, it is expected to be a next-generation fuel that contributes to the fight against global warming. Ammonia is also considered promising as an energy carrier for transporting and storing CO2-free hydrogen** and is attracting attention as a zero-emission fuel that does not emit carbon dioxide (CO2).
NYK has been promoting the practical use of ammonia as a next-generation fuel for marine vessels and the establishment of an energy chain through joint research and development of ammonia-fueled tugboats for practical use and joint research of liquefied ammonia gas carriers and floating ammonia storage and regasification facilities.
About Tsubame BHB Co. Ltd.
Tsubame BHB Co. Ltd. is a venture company that aims to commercialize a technology that can produce ammonia at lower temperatures and pressures than conventional technologies using an electride catalyst*** invented by Professor Emeritus Hideo Hosono**** of the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
Current ammonia production uses the Haber-Bosch process, a hundred-year-old technology that synthesizes hydrogen and nitrogen at high temperatures and pressures, and requires large-scale facilities, a lot of energy, and the emission of large amounts of CO2.
The electride catalyst developed by Dr. Hosono will enable highly efficient ammonia synthesis at low temperatures and under low pressure, leading to the downsizing of facilities and the establishment of a production system for a required amount of ammonia at a required place. This will also contribute to reducing the cost and environmental impact of the ammonia supply chain, including transportation and storage.
With this investment, NYK will support the commercialization of Tsubame BHB's innovative technology and contribute to the reduction of environmental impact. In addition, by deepening our knowledge and technological capabilities of ammonia, we will not only better position NYK to utilize ammonia as a marine fuel but also promote the establishment of an ammonia supply chain, create green businesses, and contribute to the decarbonization of the shipping industry in general.
On February 3, NYK released the NYK Group ESG Story, which aims to further integrate ESG into the company’s management strategy. To strongly promote ESG management, the NYK Group will encourage new value creation as a sustainable solution provider through the research, development, and introduction of ammonia as a next-generation marine fuel.
- <NYK Group ESG Story>
* On-site ammonia synthesis system
A method of producing ammonia in a required quantity at a required location. This system synthesizes ammonia in low-temperature, low-pressure conditions, thus allowing it to be produced at small plants, which would have been rather difficult in the past.
** CO2-free hydrogen
One way of producing hydrogen without generating CO2 is through the use of renewable energy. A second way is by using natural gas or coal together with carbon capture and storage. CO2-free ammonia synthesis
is technology for synthesizing ammonia using such CO2-free hydrogen.
*** Electride catalyst
A catalyst for ammonia synthesis using an electride (an electronized material), in which electrons behave as negative ions, realized by Dr. Hosono's group. This catalyst is attracting attention as a new type of catalyst because it can synthesize ammonia at lower temperatures and pressures than conventional iron catalysts.
**** Professor Emeritus Hideo Hosono
Director of the Center for Elements Strategy at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Dr. Hosono has conducted research that includes the discovery of iron-based superconductors that defy common sense, the creation of IGZO semiconductors used in liquid crystal displays and organic electroluminescent (EL) televisions, and electride catalysts that are expected to have a ripple effect on the energy industry and the field of synthesizing new useful chemicals. For his achievements, he was awarded the Fujiwara Prize in 2009, the Asahi Prize in 2010, the Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate Award in 2013, the Imperial Prize and the Japan Academy Prize in 2015, and the Japan International Prize in 2016, and he was elected as a foreign member of the Royal Society in 2017.
Tsubame BHB Co. Ltd
Head Office: Tokyo
Representative: Masahiro Watanabe
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