World's First Liquefied Hydrogen Carrier Launched

Published Dec 11, 2019 4:21 AM by The Maritime Executive

Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries has launched the world's first liquefied hydrogen carrier at it's Kobe Works yard.

The Suiso Frontier was designed to provide a means of transporting liquefied hydrogen at 1/800 of its original gas-state volume, cooled to –253°C. Kawasaki plans to install a 1,250m3 vacuum-insulated, double-shell-structure liquefied hydrogen storage tank, currently being manufactured at Harima Works, on the ship. The vessel's construction is expected to be complete by late 2020. 

Once operational, the Suiso Frontier will be used as a technology demonstration with the aim of establishing an international hydrogen energy supply chain involving liquefied hydrogen produced in Australia being shipped to Japan.

Hydrogen is gaining popularity as a key next-generation energy source to combat global warming. It does not emit CO2 or other greenhouse gases during use, and expected applications include power generation and fuel cell vehicles. 

A recent report from Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, has mapped the critical research steps Australia must take to realize a hydrogen industry it says is potentially worth A$11 billion ($7.5 billion) a year by 2050.

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, was formed in 2018 and has received financial support from the Australian and Victorian governments to build a gas refining facility, hydrogen liquefaction and loading terminal.

Kawasaki hopes to make hydrogen as common a fuel source as petroleum and natural gas, and joined with Iwatani Corporation, Shell Japan and Electric Power Development to form the CO2-free Hydrogen Energy Supply-chain Technology Research Association (HySTRA) in 2016.