16 Mar 2016


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. 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.

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. 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.

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