World’s first sea shipment of hydrogen to go from Australia to Japan
The first sea shipment of liquefied hydrogen will operate between the Port of Hastings on Australia’s southeast coast to Kobe, on the Japanese island of Honshu, according to an announcement by HySTRA, the CO₂- free Hydrogen Energy Supply-chain Technology Research Association.

The cargo will be carried by the tanker Suiso Frontier, which arrived in the Port of Hastings on 20th January. After the shipment is loaded, the ship will set off for Japan, where it is expected in the second half of February.

The project is being operated by the HESC corporation, which brings together nine companies, including the Kawasaki Industries concern., the Japanese power company J-Power and the Australian company AGL specialised in production of coal, gas and renewable energy sources.

The supply chain for hydrogen in the context of this project is made up of several stages:

– the raw material for producing hydrogen is brown coal extracted at the Loy Yang mine in the Australian state of Victoria.

– the hydrogen is produced by gasification of the coal and through the use of CO2 capture technology and transported in a gaseous state by road to the Port of Hastings, where it will be liquefied at a temperature of -253 Celsius

– at the Port of Hastings, the liquefied hydrogen is loaded onto the Suiso Frontier, built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

The pilot project phase calls for production of 225,000 tonnes of hydrogen. The tanker Siso Frontier is able at any one time to carry on board no more than 75,000 tonnes of hydrogen. Several journeys are planned between the Port of Hastings and Kobe. And HESC subsequently plans to produce hydrogen on a commercial basis, with a provision to reduce costs through the entire added value supply chain.

World-wide demand for hydrogen over the period from 2000 to 2020 climbed by 50 % (to 90 million tonnes), according to data from the international Energy Agency. And more than 90 % of its consumption is accounted for in three sectors – oil refining, chemical industries and ferrous metal production.

Gas remains the most popular raw material for making hydrogen. In 2020, it accounted for 59 % of world-wide supply (without the use of CO2 capture and storage technology). Coal accounted for 19 % and various other sources 22 % ,including fossil fuels using technology of carbon capture (0.7 %).

Transport may become the driver that pushes up demand for hydrogen. The global fleet of cars using hydrogen fuel cells rose annually by 70 % in the period from 2017 to 2020. A second factor may be its use in power generation – South Korea, for instance, plans by the end of 2022 to boost capacity of hydrogen generating capacity to 1.5 gigawatt (GW). By 2040, plans call for that figure to rise to 15 GW.


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January 2022