South Korea Forms Strategic R&D Alliance For Liquefied Hydrogen Carriers


South Korea’s top shipbuilders and steelmakers, along with the Korean Register, have united to advance the market for liquefied hydrogen (LH2) carriers. On June 13, 2024, HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering, Samsung Heavy Industries, Hanwha Ocean, POSCO, Hyundai Steel, and the Korean Register signed an MOU to standardize material testing for these specialized ships. This alliance aims to lead in the design and construction of LH2 cargo holds, crucial for transporting hydrogen at ultra-low temperatures.

Addressing Technical Challenges

The primary focus is on researching and verifying materials capable of withstanding extreme conditions, as hydrogen must be cooled to minus 253 degrees Celsius and compressed significantly. The lack of international standards for LH2 cargo holds necessitates extensive collaboration. By sharing experimental results and data, the alliance aims to set global standards and overcome past design issues, such as those encountered with the KC-1 LNG cargo hold.

Learning from Past Challenges

South Korea’s previous LNG cargo hold faced design defects leading to cold spots and legal disputes. This new partnership includes the steel industry, which was previously not involved, to enhance technological competitiveness and prevent similar issues. The goal is to achieve technological independence and set new standards in the LH2 carrier market using purely domestic technology.

Enhancing Technological Competitiveness

By developing LH2 cargo holds with advanced materials and safety measures, the alliance aims to secure South Korea’s leadership in the global hydrogen carrier market. This initiative is not only a technological advancement but also a step towards sustainable energy solutions, potentially driving job creation and innovation within the industry. The shared commitment to research and standardization highlights South Korea’s proactive approach to the future of clean energy transportation.

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