World’s 1st Liquefied Hydrogen Carrier Named in Japan

Japanese shipbuilder Kawasaki Heavy Industries has named Suiso Frontier, the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier, at its yard Kobe Works, the company said.

This vessel is owned by CO2-free Hydrogen Energy Supply-chain Technology Research Association (HySTRA), formed by Kawasaki, Iwatani Corporation (Iwatani), Shell Japan Limited, and Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. (J-POWER) in 2016, with the aim of promoting hydrogen as fuel source.

The vessel disposes 8,000 tons in gross tonnage and is designed to transport large quantities of liquefied hydrogen at 1/800 of its original gas-state volume, cooled to –253°C, over long distances by sea. It has a diesel-electric propulsion system and can achieve a speed of 13.0 knots. The ClassNK-classed vessel has the capacity to carry 25 people.

Kawasaki plans to install a 1,250 m3 vacuum-insulated, double-shell-structure liquefied hydrogen storage tank, currently being manufactured at Harima Works, on the ship and complete the vessel’s construction by late 2020.

“Once complete, the Susiso Frontier will be used for technology demonstration testing in Japanese FY 2020 aimed at the establishment of an international hydrogen energy supply chain in which liquefied hydrogen produced in Australia will be shipped to Japan,” the shipbuilder said.

The mass hydrogen marine transportation supply chain is planned to be derived from unused brown coal within the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization’s (NEDO) demonstration project.

The pilot project is planned for 2020-2021, and it will demonstrate brown coal gasification and hydrogen refining at Latrobe Valley in Australia, hydrogen liquefaction and storage of liquefied hydrogen at Hastings, marine transportation of liquefied hydrogen from Australia to Japan and unloading of liquefied hydrogen in Japan.

Namely, a liquefied hydrogen unloading terminal is being built in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture, and a brown coal gasification facility is being constructed in Australia. In addition, a consortium comprising Kawasaki, Iwatani and J-POWER along with Marubeni Corporation and AGL Loy Yang Pty Ltd, was formed in 2018 and has received financial support from the Australian and Victorian governments to build a gas refining facility, hydrogen liquefaction & loading terminal.

“In 1981, Kawasaki became the first Asian company to manufacture a liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier, and now as the world’s first company to complete a liquefied hydrogen carrier it will further its efforts toward achieving a Hydrogen Society,” the company added.

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