Trailblazing Carrier Ready to Conduct World’s First Liquid Hydrogen Delivery by Sea

Back in 2019, we were reporting about Kawasaki building the world’s first liquid hydrogen carrier, as part of a groundbreaking project for hydrogen transportation between Australia and Japan. Three years later, the pioneering Suiso Frontier is officially ready to kick off its first LH2 shipment.
The Suiso Frontier, world's first LH2 carrier, arrived in Australia, to be loaded with hydrogen 6 photos
Photo: HySTRA
Suiso FrontierSuiso FrontierSuiso FrontierHESC ProjectSuiso Frontier
The vessel’s recent arrival from Japan to Australia’s Port of Hastings was marked by an official ceremony. This milestone is the culmination of an outstanding initiative, the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Pilot Project, which is the world’s first to transport liquid hydrogen between two countries, by sea.

The 380.5-foot-long (116 meters) carrier was built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, with the goal of carrying LH2 between Australia and Japan, once every few months – a world premiere. Liquid hydrogen is considered easier to transport than the gaseous form, because it’s much denser. This means that a larger quantity can be shipped each time, with fewer costs. The main challenge, however, is the prevention of a phenomenon called “boil off,” when heat causes hydrogen to revert to its gas state.

In order to prevent that, Kawasaki developed an advanced storage tank, featuring a double-shell structure with vacuum insulation, doubled by glass-fiber-reinforced plastic, which keeps the liquid hydrogen at -253 degrees Celsius. The Japanese shipbuilder used its extensive knowledge in the area, as the first one to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier back in the ‘80s, to develop a state-of-the-art vessel.

HESC’s goal is to transport clean liquid hydrogen from the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, Australia, to Kobe, Japan. As its name states, it involves developing an entire supply chain. Hydrogen is produced from coal, at a local plant, then transported by truck to a liquefaction terminal (the first of its kind in Australia), at the Port of Hastings. Next, the LH2 is loaded onto the Suiso Frontier, and shipped to Kobe.

The pioneering vessel will be delivering its first shipment later this year. After the pilot phase will be successfully completed, HESC will move on to the full commercialization phase.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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