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Coregas Engaged in World First Shipment of Liquefied Hydrogen

By May 21, 2020 4   min read  (790 words)

May 21, 2020 |

Coregas is proud to have provided its expertise in gasification, liquefaction, and transportation of hydrogen in the worlds first pilot project to ship liquefied hydrogen from Victoria to Japan.

The $500 million project is expected to be operational in the winter of 2020 and has included building a hydrogen gasification plant and a liquefaction and loading facility.

Known as the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC), the Pilot Project is being led by a consortium of experienced industry partners from Japan and Australia. The group includes Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., Electric Power Development Co. Ltd. (J-Power), Iwatani Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, AGL and Sumitomo Corporation all of whom are keen to fast track an economically viable and alternative fuel source. The project has also received Japanese government support, as well as support from the Federal and Victorian Governments.

Coregas has been integral in providing engineering consultancy, onsite support and equipment for the gasification plant at Loy Yang in the LaTrobe Valley and the state-of-the-art liquefaction and loading facility at nearby Port of Hastings.

Coregas has been involved from the FEED (Front End Engineering Design) for the liquefaction plant, has provided support to the detailed design of the plant. Further to this, Coregas is providing all the utility and specialized calibration gases to both facilities, the hydrogen compressor for the gasification plant and transportation services to move both liquefied and gaseous hydrogen.

Pre-commissioning for the Hastings facility will be commenced soon. Coregas is proud to have been awarded the contract for the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) of the liquefaction plant in its demonstration phase. This project, and the Hastings facility has brought many jobs to the local Hastings community.

The eyes of the world are watching this project as the HESC pilot is the world’s first to liquefy and transport mass quantities of hydrogen across open waters. It is considered an exciting step forward in the fast-growing hydrogen energy industry, which is likely to be worth US$2.5 trillion by 2050[i].

The Process

At the LaTrobe Valley gasification plant hydrogen will be produced from Syngas, formed by reacting brown coal with oxygen under high pressure and temperature. The output of high purity gas will then be compressed and transported to a new hydrogen liquefaction and loading terminal at the Port of Hastings.

Here, the hydrogen gas will be liquefied by a process that cryogenically cools it to –253°C and then converts it to a liquid with 1/800th of its gaseous volume at low pressure for safe and more efficient transportation over long distances and more specifically the sea.

Cutting Edge Technology

Manager Tonnage and Engineering at Coregas, Chris Day, is excited to be involved in the project, having been involved at the FEED (Front End Engineering Design) through to the construction and soon to be commenced commissioning and demonstration phase of the project.

While it’s common for space rockets to use liquefied hydrogen as a fuel, liquid hydrogen has never been transported by ship. “This is the cutting edge technology and the most exciting part about this project,” Chris explains.

The first shipment is expected to enable the safe transport of liquefied hydrogen in large quantities to Japan in a specially designed ship, the Suiso Frontier. “The unique tank on board the ship will need to be operational and able to withstand temperatures at minus 253 degrees centigrade to transport the gas safely,” Chris says. “It will be a big day when the ship arrives in Australia.”

The Future

Coregas Innovation Manager, Wodek Jakubik, has been involved with the project from the drawing board stages and is enthused by its possibilities.

Today, Japan imports 94 per cent of its energy as fossil fuels. Due to its limited land and natural gas resources, it is fast tracking the pursuit of an economically, environmentally friendly alternative fuel source.

The country is moving away from nuclear and coal energy and is investing heavily in clean energy options. “It’s part of the country’s long-term strategy to produce green energy by 2040 for its economic, industrial and transportation needs,” says Wodek.

Wodek believes there is real synergy between Coregas, with its experience in production, liquefaction and distribution of hydrogen, and the partnership with the Japanese Consortium.

“We at Coregas are committed to supporting initiatives that drive innovation for cleaner energy,” explains Wodek. “We are all keen to see the results of this pilot, which has the potential to completely change the economy, long term.”

“This is very much a long-term energy solution. As demand for hydrogen increases in Japan for their economy, there is an opportunity to develop a similar demand in Australia and the rest of the world. If successful we could become an energy hub for the region,” he says.

[i] Hydrogen Council, Hydrogen Scaling Up, November 2017

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