France-based industrial gases company Air Liquide has signed an MOU with Vopak to work on developing and operating the infrastructure needed for the import of ammonia, as well as the cracking and distribution of hydrogen in Singapore.

A press statement issued by Vopak on Monday reveals how the two companies will analyse ways to develop low-carbon ammonia supply chains in the South East Asian city-state. This includes ammonia cracking facilities, which involve the storage and handling of the chemical substance at Vopak’s Banyan terminal.

In addition, Air Liquide and Vopak plan to build a hydrogen pipeline network that will help distribute low-carbon hydrogen.

Zhang Xi, South East Asia Cluster vice-president and managing director of Air Liquide Singapore, said: “Air Liquide is committed to partnering with industry partners such as Vopak to offer innovative and sustainable solutions in support of Singapore’s decarbonisation efforts.

“Air Liquide’s industrial scale ammonia (NH3) cracking pilot plant is under construction in Belgium,” he added. “We are proud to apply our expertise to crack low-carbon ammonia into low-carbon hydrogen, aimed at reducing carbon emissions in industrial basins and hard-to-abate sectors, advancing towards a more sustainable future.”

News of the latest partnership follows Air Liquide’s recent announcement that it has broken ground on a new hydrogen filling centre in Tianjin, China.

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The centre, part of a planned partnership with Tianjin Port Free Trade Zone in 2023, will see the building of a facility with a proposed filling capacity of eight tonnes per day.

Vopak is an independent tank storage company headquartered in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Its Singapore president Rob Boudestijn commented on the latest partnership with Air Liquide.

“Hydrogen and ammonia have the potential to significantly contribute to Singapore’s transition towards a low-carbon economy,” Boudestijn said. “As Singapore gears up for receiving and handling ammonia for power generation and bunkering, cracking of ammonia into hydrogen presents an additional application to help the industry shift to lower-carbon feedstock.”