The first international shipment of a large quantity of liquefied hydrogen arrived in Japan today, February 25, marking a milestone in efforts to develop hydrogen as a future carbon-free alternative fuel source. Vessel Swiss border purpose-built made a trip of about three and a half weeks as the next stage of the demonstration project.
the Swiss border, a 380-foot-long vessel, was built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Japan as part of the project which aims to transport liquefied hydrogen at 1/800 of its original volume in a gaseous state. The ship was launched in 2019 and underwent extensive testing before leaving Japan in December 2021 and arriving in Australia in mid-January. The round trip was completed in less than nine weeks, but was delayed by weather conditions which slowed travel from Japan to Australia.
The vessel operates under the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) pilot project. Project partners include Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Electric Power Development Co., Iwatani Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, AGL Energy and Sumitomo Corporation. Shell, ENEOS Corporation and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (K-Line) are also involved in the Japanese part of the project.
While in Australia, the ship was loaded with liquid hydrogen produced from Australian brown coal (also known as lignite) and a biomass process. While the hydrogen used in the pilot project was produced through the use of fossil fuels, HESC, says carbon offsets have been purchased to mitigate emissions and when they reach commercial stage the CO2 will be captured , stored or recycled. The hydrogen was cooled to -253 degrees Celsius at the Hastings Hydrogen Liquefaction Plant and transferred to the specially designed tank on board the ship.
the Swiss border docked in Kobe in a purpose-built terminal with a storage tank similar to that on board the ship. Kawasaki, in conjunction with the CO2-free Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain Technology Research Association (HySTRA), will continue to perform cargo handling tests, including loading and unloading, as well as verification of the data acquired during this phase of the project. Achieving successful shipment and delivery from Australia to Japan, the partners say, is a key milestone in the vision of building a global hydrogen supply chain.