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Japan, South Korea, and Australia join forces! Commercialization of large liquid hydrogen transport ships by 2030


Recently, HD Hyundai (formerly Hyundai Heavy Industries Group), a shipbuilding holding company in South Korea, announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Intent (MOU) with Woodside Energy, Australia's largest oil and gas producer, Hyundai Glovis, South Korea's largest automotive transportation company, and Mitsui, Japan's largest shipping company, to jointly develop the value chain for liquid hydrogen (LH2) transportation.

According to this MOU, the signing party plans to develop safe, efficient, and low-carbon liquid hydrogen maritime transportation technology, explore new hydrogen transportation and storage solutions, and achieve commercialization by 2030.

HD South Korea Shipbuilding Marine is responsible for developing large liquid hydrogen (LH2) transport ships that can be applied both technically and commercially by 2030. Previously, HD Korea Shipbuilding Marine collaborated with Hyundai Oita Shipbuilding and Hyundai Glovis to obtain AIP certification for the design of 20000 cubic meters of liquid hydrogen transport ships from Korea Classification Society and Liberia International Bureau of Shipping and Companies (LISCR) in 2020; In 2022, HD South Korea Shipbuilding&Marine took the lead in developing LNG/hydrogen co firing engines in South Korea. Its self-developed 1.5 MW (megawatt) level LNG/hydrogen co firing dual fuel HiMSEN engine has successfully completed performance verification; In 2023, its independently developed large liquid hydrogen transport ship's liquid hydrogen system also received the principle recognition (AIP) from DNV classification society, leading the technological development in the field of liquid hydrogen ships.

Woodside Energy is responsible for the development of the liquid hydrogen market. Last April, Woodside Energy signed a non binding agreement (HOA) with Keppel Data Center in Singapore, laying the foundation for the commercial principles of jointly developing hydrogen supply chain agreements. The plan is to provide approximately 1000 tons/day of liquid hydrogen to Keppel Data Center by 2030.

Modern Glovis and the merchant ship Mitsui are responsible for the technical feasibility study of the operation of liquid hydrogen transport ships and the research required for ship navigation.

Previously, HD South Korea Shipbuilding Marine signed a cooperation agreement with Woodside Energy and Hyundai Glovis in 2022 to jointly develop a maritime value chain solution that takes into account the import and export environment of liquid hydrogen and ship navigation. HD South Korea Shipbuilding Marine expects that with the addition of the merchant ship Mitsui, which has accumulated decades of experience in LNG transportation, it can further improve its ongoing global liquid hydrogen transportation business model and help seize the global liquid hydrogen transportation market.

"The company will take the lead in building a value chain for liquid hydrogen transportation based on its advanced technology and experience in the field of natural gas ships. Through this collaborative development, not only will it successfully develop relevant technologies, but it will also explore substantial business opportunities," said Zhang Guangbi, the director of HD South Korea Shipbuilding Marine Future Technology

According to industry insiders in South Korea, efficient transportation of hydrogen through ships faces many challenges, including large-scale hydrogen storage, which requires cooling hydrogen to minus 253 degrees Celsius, about 90 degrees Celsius lower than liquefied LNG. At present, Saudi Arabia, which plans to become the world's largest exporter of hydrogen energy, requires a large number of liquid hydrogen transport ships. In the field of design and construction of liquid hydrogen transport ships with ultra-low temperature technology as the core, South Korean shipbuilding companies have the world's top technology. Therefore, in addition to HD South Korean Shipbuilding Marine, Hanhua Marine and Samsung Heavy Industry are also developing large-scale liquid hydrogen transport ship technology, and have obtained principle recognition (AIP) from relevant classification societies. Among them, Samsung Heavy Industry's self-developed thin-film liquid hydrogen storage tank and 160000 cubic meters of liquid hydrogen transport ship concept design have passed the AIP certification of Lloyd's Register of Shipping (LR) in 2021, and Hanhua Ocean has also been recognized by AIP for the construction of zero carbon fuel powered liquid hydrogen transport ships.

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