Featured almost 2 years ago as our Ship of the Week, the Suiso Frontiers is now the world’s first liquefied hydrogen (LH2) carrier built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, a member of the CO2-free Hydrogen Energy Supply-chain Technology Research Association (HySTRA). After completing the prescribed surveys, ClassNK added this first LH2 vessel to its register on December 3rd.
The A$500 million ($353 million) pilot project, led by Kawasaki and backed by the Japanese and Australian governments, was originally scheduled to ship its first cargo of hydrogen extracted from brown coal in Australia in spring 2021 but suffered delays due to the Covid pandemic. The Suiso Frontier will carry blue hydrogen produced from the vast coal resources of Victoria in south-east Australia. Coal mined from the Latrobe Valley will be used for gasification, a partial oxidation process carried out with steam that yields hydrogen mixed with carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide will be captured, and the hydrogen shipped 100 kilometres to the port of Hastings, on the outskirts of Melbourne in Australia. In Hastings, the hydrogen will be liquefied by cooling and then loaded onto the Suiso Frontier.
LH2 must be stored at a staggeringly low temperature of minus 253°C — far lower than the minus 160°C used for international shipments of liquefied natural gas — with the liquefaction process reducing the volume of hydrogen gas by a factor of 800.
To contribute to the safe seaborne transportation of hydrogen, which needs intensive measures for handling, in 2017 ClassNK published the “Guidelines for Liquefied Hydrogen Carriers” describing the safety requirements based on the IMO’s Interim Recommendations for Carriage of Liquefied.