World’s First Hydrogen Shipment in Loading, To Leave Soon


  • Global first for liquid hydrogen
  • To load about 70% of capacity
  • Goal of 225,000 mt/year by 2030

Japanese hydrogen tanker Suiso Frontier is currently loading a cargo of liquid hydrogen at the Australian port of Hastings in Victoria, and is likely to depart for Japan later in the week, reports Platts.

The cargo is the first of its kind and, if successful, will help demonstrate the technical feasibility of shipping liquid hydrogen at very low temperatures between the two markets.

Suiso Frontier loading cargo

Suiso Frontier, manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, reached Hastings Jan. 20.

The Suiso Frontier is currently loading liquid hydrogen from the Hastings liquefaction plant,” Yuko Fukuma, senior staff officer at KHI, said in emailed replies to S&P Global Platts. “It is anticipated that the ship will depart Hastings later this week.”

The ship’s maiden voyage to Australia began Dec. 24, 2021. The voyage was used to test a number of elements involved in transporting liquid hydrogen, which will continue to be analyzed on the ship’s return voyage, according to Fukuma.

The tanker has a capacity of 1,250 cu m equating to about 75 mt of liquid hydrogen. About 70% of the capacity is to be loaded, Fukuma said.

Production of carbon neutral liquefied hydrogen

KHI is a part of the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain with consortium partners Electric Power Development, Iwatani Corp., Marubeni Corp., AGL Energy and Sumitomo Corp. Shell, ENEOS and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha are also involved in the Japanese side of the project.

The A$500 million ($359 million) project is jointly funded by the Australian and Japanese governments. It has been producing hydrogen from the gasification of coal in the Latrobe Valley in Victoria from January 2021. The hydrogen is trucked to the liquefaction facility at Hastings.

It aims to produce 225,000 mt/year of carbon neutral liquefied hydrogen in a commercial phase seen around 2030.

During the pilot phase, carbon emissions from the project will be very low. Carbon offsets have been purchased to mitigate these emissions. In the commercial phase, carbon dioxide would be captured during this process and stored deep underground in a process known as carbon capture and storage,” the HESC project website says.

The Australian government announced A$7.5 million to support the next A$184 million precommercial phase of HESC, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Jan. 21.

The government is also committing A$20 million for the next stage of the CarbonNet project. This brings the Australian government’s total commitment to the HESC project to A$57.5 million,” Morrison had said.

CarbonNet, a part of HESC, has a carbon capture and storage site located in the Gippsland Basin.


Fukuma said KHI was satisfied with Suiso Frontier’s first leg of its journey.

Now the cargo needed to be loaded at minus 253 degrees Celsius, the temperature at which hydrogen liquefies. Use of a double-walled, insulated hose ensured stable temperatures during loading but the process “is very challenging,” Fukuma said, citing weather and sea conditions.

According to analysts, liquid hydrogen would have a “boil off” vaporization rate, creating losses and putting time pressure on cargoes. Disposing of the boil off gas was another challenge.

As the world’s first fully integrated hydrogen energy supply chain project, HESC is identifying technical and operational system and process requirements that are highly advanced and which will lead to innovations and develop learnings applicable across the industry,” Fukuma said.

Focus on LH2

When asked if HESC would consider transporting liquid ammonia, the spokesperson said liquid hydrogen was the project partners’ primary area of focus at the moment.

HESC’s vision is to produce carbon neutral hydrogen through using a mix of Latrobe Valley coal and biomass as feedstock, capturing and storing CO2 via CarbonNet and optimizing energy efficiency in the HESC supply chain,” Fukuma said.

The next step was to analyze data and insights from the pilot with a view to future commercialization. Engagement with potential off-takers in Japan and Australia would be part of that process.

After that, cost reductions should flow from the scaling up of production technologies in response to growing demand and an evolving market.

Platts assessed Victoria hydrogen produced via lignite gasification with CCS (including capex) at $2.86/kg Jan. 24, up 11.72% from Dec. 24, 2021.

Japan hydrogen produced via SMR without CCS (including capex) was assessed at $4.44/kg Jan. 24, down 29.86% from Dec. 24, 2021.

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Source: Platts