Ship another link in hydrogen ‘chain’

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A SHIP to carry liquified hydrogen from Hastings to Japan was launched in Kobe on 11 December.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries says the 8000 tonne, 116-metre-long Suiso Frontier, pictured right, is the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier.

The ship will be fitted with a vacuum insulated double-shelled tank and is expected to be finished by late 2020.

The launch and anticipated completion of the Suiso Frontier is timed to coincide with completion of a plant in the Latrobe Valley to extract hydrogen gas from brown coal which will be tuned into liquid at Hastings for export to Japan (“Start on Latrobe Valley hydrogen supply” The News 3/12/19).

The liquification plant now being built in Bayview Road, Hastings is scheduled to be completed by June 2020.

The state and federal governments have each contributed $50 million towards the $400m Japan–Australia Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain Pilot Project being undertaken by a consortium of Japanese companies.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries last week issued a statement that said the Suiso Frontier was part of a supply chain to ship liquefied hydrogen produced in Australia to Japan.

“Hydrogen is gaining popularity as a key next-generation energy source to combat global warming,” Kawasaki stated.

“It does not emit CO2 or other greenhouse gases during use, and expected applications include power generation, fuel cell vehicles and more.”

Kawasaki and its consortium partners had “the goal of making hydrogen just as common a fuel source as petroleum and natural gas”.

“This organisation has … been pursuing technological development aimed at building an energy supply chain enabling economical and reliable sourcing of hydrogen in large volumes.

“In addition to this latest liquefied hydrogen carrier, a liquefied hydrogen unloading terminal is being built in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture, and a brown coal gasification facility is being constructed in Australia.”

The plant to extract hydrogen gas from brown coal is being built at AGL’s Loy Yang mine in the Latrobe valley.

In its statement, Kawasaki said it is “pursuing this hydrogen business as part of its efforts toward sustainable development goals”.

In 1981, it was the first Asian company to manufacture a liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier, and now “as the world’s first company to complete a liquefied hydrogen carrier it will further its efforts toward achieving a hydrogen society”.

The Australia Institute late last month said the federal government was basing its predictions for the export of hydrogen on flawed data. A report published by the think tank said official figures produced for Japan and South Korea “vastly exceeded” the figures being used by the Australian government.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 17 December 2019

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