Australia and Japan have signed an agreement which will allow liquid hydrogen to be shipped in bulk for the first time, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
Japan is developing ship containment systems that will be capable of safely transporting liquid hydrogen in bulk from Australia to Japan as part of a pilot project scheduled to commence in 2020.
The two countries worked together to develop interim carriage requirements for the transportation of liquid hydrogen in bulk from Australia to Japan and these were agreed to at the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee in November 2016.
The interim carriage requirements specify the construction standards of containment vessels for liquid hydrogen carriers, and mitigate the safety risks associated with transporting the liquid hydrogen via sea.
AMSA said that this memorandum signing was “a key element in this process, and an important step forward for Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), which is building the pilot project’s liquid hydrogen carrier.”
Bulk gas cargoes are carried under the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code) which is a mandatory code under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention. The IGC code does not currently allow for the transportation of liquid hydrogen.
Cargoes not covered by the code can be carried if there is an agreement between relevant nations and changes are developed to the code and taken to the IMO for approval.
“The pilot project between Australia and Japan will inform future amendments to the IGC Code which will allow liquid hydrogen to be carried in bulk under the code without any special agreements,” according to AMSA.