Shell partners with shipbuilding giant HD Hyundai to develop liquified hydrogen carriers



Korean shipbuilding firm HD Hyundai is collaborating with oil major Shell to develop large liquified hydrogen (LH2) carriers.


The South Korean conglomerate said HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (HD KSOE) and HD Hyundai Heavy Industries (HD HHI) have inked an agreement with Shell to accelerate the development of LH2 transportation technologies.


The parties are aiming to develop a large LH2 carrier from 2030s onwards as demand for such vessels is expected to grow.


Most hydrogen export projects this decade plan to use carriers such as ammonia, with developers citing existing infrastructure to transport the chemical as a point in its favour.


Meanwhile, LH2 has been lambasted by analysts as likely to be extremely inefficient and expensive, given the huge amount of energy needed to liquefy the gas and losses during transportation due to boil-off.


However, some industry voices have pushed back, arguing that the energy costs are frontloaded to where green hydrogen is produced, ie locations with extremely cheap renewable electricity, compared to carriers which have to be cracked back to H2 on arrival, although data from the IEA suggests that even accounting for these lower energy costs, LH2 is more expensive due to the sheer cost of the storage tanks.


A report by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre published this week also comes out in favour of shipping LH2 over hydrogen carriers due to a lower overall environmental footprint.


Only one vessel to date has carried a cargo of LH2 overseas, the Suiso Frontier which transported hydrogen produced in Australia to Japan. This ship was only able to store 1,250 cubic metres of H2, or less than one hundred tonnes of the molecule.


HD Hyundai said HD KSOE will focus on research and development of key technologies such as large LH2 tanks and hydrogen cargo operation system, while HD HHI will be responsible for developing hydrogen engines and designing the liquefied hydrogen carriers.


Meanwhile, Shell will share its expertise in carrier operations and technology development and will conduct feasibility studies on liquefied hydrogen carrier designs.


Sungjoon Kim, chief executive officer of HD KSOE, said his company has been developing technologies on green energy related ships such as methanol, ammonia, CO2, and hydrogen.


“With this partnership with Shell, I am confident that we will be able to lead the next generation green energy market,” said Sung.


Karrie Trauth, senior vice president of Shell Shipping & Maritime, said the oil major has had a long successful working relationship with HD Hyundai in the design and construction of ships that lead the market in innovation and energy efficiency.


“This project is a great opportunity to build on this history of cooperation, working with HD Hyundai to design the future of shipping providing more and cleaner energy solutions,” said Trauth.


HD Hyundai is also working with other companies to transport hydrogen.


It has signed memorandum of understanding with Woodside Energy, Hyundai Glovis, and Mitsui OSK Line on the development of an LH2 marine transportation value chain.


Last year, classification society DNV awarded an Approval in Principle (AiP), which confirms that early-stage concepts and designs are technically feasible and in line with existing regulations, to HD KSOE for developing a proprietary hydrogen system for large LH2 carriers.


Meanwhile, Shell’s fellow oil major TotalEnergies earlier this year secured its own AiPs from Bureau Veritas for an LH2 carrier and cryogenic tanks capable of storing 150,000 cubic metres of hydrogen.


HD KSOE and Shell are also part of a consortium to develop a solid-oxide fuel cell to generate power on-board an LNG carrier, with the first tests scheduled to be run next year.


Source: HydrogenInsight

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