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Kawasaki Heavy and Shell to partner on technologies for transporting liquefied hydrogen by sea

The Nikkei reports that Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Royal Dutch Shell will partner to develop technologies for transporting large volumes of liquefied hydrogen by sea.

Kawasaki has already been collaborating with Iwatani and Electric Power Development in hydrogen mass production and transportation. Kawasaki is also currently developing a small test vessel for the marine transportation of liquefied hydrogen. (Earlier post.) The vessel will have a cargo capacity of 2,500 m3, equivalent to that of coastal trading LNG vessels.

Kawasaki obtained approval in principle from Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) for the cargo containment system in 2013. Kawasaki aims to complete development design in 2016, then subsequently move forward with commercialization.

Liquefied hydrogen evaporates at a rate 10 times greater than LNG. To address this, the pioneering test vessel will employ a cargo containment system of a double shell structure for vacuum insulation, offering support that demonstrates excellent insulation performance and safety.

Artist’s concept of 2,500 m3 LH2 carrier. Click to enlarge.

To help support the global distribution of hydrogen further into the future, Kawasaki aims to develop a large liquefied hydrogen carrier with a capacity of around 160,000 m3.

Artist’s concept of 160,000 m3 LH2 carrier. Click to enlarge.

Shell will bring its own deep expertise in energy transportation to the efforts to unlock large supplies of hydrogen and develop international standards for marine transportation.

According to the report, the partners will produce hydrogen from low-quality brown coal abundant in Australia at low cost and then ship liquefied hydrogen.

They aim to lower the wholesale price to about ¥30 ($0.26) per NM3 (normal cubic meter) by around 2025 to make the business profitable. If things go as planned, power-generating costs for hydrogen would stand at about ¥16 per kilowatt-hour, about 20% higher than liquefied natural gas but nearly half the figure for petroleum.

Shell seeks to gain a foothold in marine transport by working with Japanese partners strong in hydrogen technologies. The company expects demand growth outside of Japan.

Iwatani will contribute facilities for loading hydrogen stored tanks onto transportation vehicles. J-Power will be in charge of production plants. The partners are considering setting up an import base in Kobe.

The partners currently plan to launch a pilot operation in 2020, targeting annual hydrogen imports of 660,000 tons in 2030—equivalent to 1.5% of Japan’s power output, according to the Nikkei report.



It will be fascinating to read the hazmat manual for these vessels.


Mind boggling stupid! LNG transport already exists. Almost all H2 is made from steam reforming methane. created the H2 where it's needed


Yup, This is mind boggling stupid. They are planning to use low grade coal to make H2 which is more expensive than LNG??? For what purpose? Also, to liquefy hydrogen, you need to reduce the temperature to -253C which is non-trivial


With the end of (not so clean) Oil/Petroleum/NG coming, associated industries with $$$$B, will re-invest some of their accumulated profits, in REs and H2 for near future electrified vehicles.

If LH2 is transported and distributed worldwide, FCEVs and home H2 units may have a bright future.

Some of the current NG distribution network (Pipes) may be modified to accept a mixture of NG & H2 or pure H2?


So they want to sequester the carbon and sell the remaining energy content as LH2.

Another 'Green energy solution from the same old players'

Totally unproven except - the numbers don't lie - you need lots of money and lobbyists and a bunch of ignorant gov't lackies and servants for that..

Still hard not to be in awe of the apparently real technology.


Another reliable study claims that FCEVs will double the number of BEVs (10% VS 5%) by 2030. Secondly, a lot of home fixed units mays also be installed.

If so, more H2 will be required and transportation in Liquid, Compressed and/or SS form may be used.

Electrolisers and REs would be cleaner but would need 27/7 electricity. Low grade coal would be cheaper if CO2 and pollution could be managed?


Fuel cells are never coming, we have these things called batteries, they're better, they're cheaper, they're here now and they work.

As for transporting liquid hydrogen, funniest thing i've read all day. Pure comedy.

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