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BV Approves Concept for a Full-Size Liquid Hydrogen Carrier

An LNG-type membrane containment system. GTT has developed a similar concept for liquid hydrogen (GTT file image)
An LNG-type membrane containment system. GTT has developed a similar concept for liquid hydrogen (GTT file image)

Published Jan 31, 2024 1:54 PM by The Maritime Executive

A consortium of French shipping, vessel design and energy companies have achieved approval in principle for a new membrane tank-based transport system for liquid hydrogen, including both the underlying containment technology and an initial vessel design.

GTT, the longtime leader in membrane containment systems for LNG carriers, has designed a new system for containing and transporting liquid hydrogen. This new membrane system has now achieved an approval in principle from BV. (GTT also holds approval from DNV for a system developed in concert with Shell.)

Membrane containment would be a groundbreaking development for liquid hydrogen, which is a challenging substance to transport economically and safely. The world's first liquid hydrogen carrier, Suiso Frontier, uses spherical tanks. 
 
The second half of this joint project is the development of a 150,000 cubic meter large scale liquid hydrogen carrier. By volume, this would be approximately comparable to a modern seagoing LNG carrier. Using GTT's containment system as a starting point, French design house LMG Marin created the preliminary design of a vessel that would accommodate the tanks and perform to commercial requirements. French oil major TotalEnergies specified the vessel's dimensions and capacity, the propulsion system type, the shipping routes on which it would be used, and the associated CO2 emissions. According to LMG, it will operate in a "carbon-free way."  

Bureau Veritas carried out a risk assessment and reviewed the designs to ensure compliance with regulations and class requirements. 

"This joint development project has enabled us to gain a better understanding of the liquefied hydrogen supply chain and the associated challenges," said Karine Boissy-Rousseau, Director of Green Gases at TotalEnergies. "We have reached a major milestone in the development of this sector."

Vincent Rudelle, Managing Director of LMG Marin France, underlines "With the emergence of previously unexplored energy vectors, a whole global supply chain needs to be built, and the conclusions of this JDP provide an initial outline of the maritime aspect," said Vincent Rudelle, managing director of LMG Marine France.