DSME Partners with NASA Tank Manufacturer to Develop Hydrogen Carriers

hydrogen carrier
DSME plans to work with the US company to develop large hydrogen carriers (file photo)

Published Oct 13, 2022 4:15 PM by The Maritime Executive

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME) is partnering with a U.S. company that is a leader in hydrogen tanks in its efforts to develop a large liquid hydrogen carrier. The South Korean shipbuilder said it has signed an agreement to work with CB&I, a division of U.S.-based McDermitt Corporation, an integrated provider of engineering and construction solutions to the energy industry.

CB&I is a designer and builder of storage facilities, tanks, and terminals. DSME is highlighting CB&I’s experience and specifically working with hydrogen, including manufacturing the world's largest liquid hydrogen storage tank for the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. CB&I reports that the tank which was completed in the summer of 2022 has a capacity of 1.25 million gallons. It is 50 percent larger than the previously largest hydrogen tank which was built in 1966 also for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center.

The company notes that the technology for large-scale liquid hydrogen storage technology has made little progress since the 1960s. The new tank incorporated a new glass bubble lining and an internal heat exchanger NASA developed. While the tank is “already pushing the limits of conventional construction," CB&I reports it is working on designs for a 40,000 cu m storage sphere — about eight times larger than the one constructed for NASA. The company is also involved in a group led by Shell to develop a liquid hydrogen storage technology for tanks between 20,000 cu m and 100,000 cu m used at import and export terminals. That effort, which also includes the University of Houston, NASA, and GenH2, is supported by a $6 million DOE grant and $3 million from both Shell and CB&I.

"The combination of the DSME's shipbuilding technologies with the CB&I's storage tank know-how will likely help South Korean shipyards retain their top status in the field of large liquid hydrogen carriers," a DSME official said told the Yonhap News Agency in South Korea.

The companies plan to work together in developing technologies to install large liquid hydrogen storage tanks on ships and related areas. DSME told Yonhap that it expects the business tie-up to contribute to making liquid hydrogen carriers larger as demand for the marine transport of liquid hydrogen is projected to grow.

South Korean government officials earlier this year emphasized the importance for the shipyard and the shipbuilding industry to invest in developing new technologies such as hydrogen shipping to maintain the country’s lead in high-value ships. The government-controlled Korea Development Bank recently announced a preliminary $1.4 billion agreement to sell a 49.3 percent stake in DSME to the Hanwha Group, one of Korea’s largest conglomerates operating in aerospace, chemicals, energy, and financial services. The group would assume management control of the shipbuilder and is committed to developing its operations. KDB is currently seeking bids to see if any other Korean company is willing to offer better terms for the stake in DMSE. The sale of the stake in the shipyard is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023.