World's first Liquefied Hydrogen Carrier docks in Australia from Japan

Jan. 24, 2022
Kawasaki said the 225,000 metric tons of LH2 produced by the HESC project in a commercial phase would help reduce CO2 emissions by about 1.8 million metric tons per year

By Rod Walton, EnergyTech Senior Editor

A ship built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries to carry liquefied hydrogen (LH2) arrived in Australia to end its longer than expected maiden voyage from Japan this past weekend.

Kawasaki brought its brand new Suiso Frontier vessel into port at Victoria. It was touted as the a key success in the company’s Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) pilot project and the “dawn of Australia’s H2 industry.

The vision of the HESC project is to produce carbon-neutral hydrogen through extraction of coal and biomass couple with the resulting CO2 emissions being captured and sequestered. Those in the H2 industry often calls this type “blue hydrogen” as opposed to “green hydrogen” which would be produced using carbon-free resources such as electrolyzers powered by wind or solar power.

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Kawasaki said the 225,000 metric tons of LH2 produced by the HESC project in a commercial phase would help reduce CO2 emissions by about 1.8 million metric tons per year. That second number is equivalent to the air pollution emitted by about 350,000 gas-powered automobiles, according to the company.

“In a commercial phase, the project will create 30,000 full-time jobs across the Gippsland and Mornington Peninsula regions over the life of the project,” reads the press release by Kawasaki. “During the Pilot Project, 99.999% pure hydrogen has been produced from Latrobe Valley coal and biomass via gasification, trucked to Hastings, cooled to -253 degrees and subsequently liquified to less than 800 times its gaseous volume to create highly valuable liquefied hydrogen.”

Gippsland and Latrobe Valley possess one of the world’s largest deposits of lignite, or brown coal. The HESC pilot will continue to test return trips between Japan and Australia.

The maiden voyage from Kobe, Japan to Victoria took about 16 days due to bad weather, according to reports. The test previously was delayed about a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hydrogen is the lightest element and is highly combustible. Although H2 is found abundantly in various things such as water, it is independently available and must be extracted through both electrolysis and steam reforming of methane gas.

The HESC Project Partners are: Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd (KHI), Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. (J-POWER), Iwatani Corporation (Iwatani), Marubeni Corporation (Marubeni), AGL Energy (AGL) and Sumitomo Corporation (Sumitomo). Royal Dutch Shell (Shell), ENEOS Corporation and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (K-Line) are also involved in the Japanese portion of the project.    

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(Rod Walton, senior editor for EnergyTech, is a 14-year veteran of covering the energy industry both as a newspaper and trade journalist. He can reached at [email protected]).

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