Liquefied hydrogen carrier readies for first test cargo

By Jack Burke21 January 2022

Hydrogen derived from coal, biomass

What’s billed as the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier, the Suiso Frontier, has arrived in Australia to receive its first load.

The ship, built by Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries, arrived in Victoria and will pick up hydrogen and bring it back to Kobe, Japan, according to the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC), the Australian-Japanese partnership behind the project. HESC’s vision is to produce carbon-neutral hydrogen through extraction from a mix of coal from Australia’s Latrobe Valley and biomass.

The hydrogen is produced by reacting coal with oxygen and steam under high heat and pressure in a process that also yields CO2. The CO2 will be captured and stored via the CarbonNet Project and optimizing energy efficiency in the HESC supply chain.

The hydrogen is then trucked to a port site where it is cooled to -253 C, liquefying it for export.

Project officials said the loading of liquefied hydrogen onto the Suiso Frontier for the return journey to Kobe, Japan, makes the HESC Project the most advanced and scalable hydrogen project in Australia and the first project in the world to make, liquefy and transport liquid hydrogen by sea to an international market.

Over the next two years, the project partners said they will undertake extensive research and development of the technical and operational requirements for a commercial-scale project. As part of the project, the partners plan to test and demonstrate maritime transport of liquid hydrogen with the Suiso Frontier making further trips between Australia and Japan; prepare for regulatory approval processes; investigate economics of the commercial scale project and its business model; and engage potential ‘off-takers’ in Australia and Japan.

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