C-Job Naval Architects, a maritime engineering company, has in collaboration with LH2 Europe, a hydrogen supplier, designed a completely new model tanker for transporting liquid hydrogen. According to the two Dutch companies, the vessel will “revolutionize the market for renewable energy in Europe”.
Why is this important?When hydrogen is produced and used in a sustainable way, according to most studies, it should not have negative consequences for the environment. The only by-products are heat and water, which are simply reabsorbed into the air. That ship design can be a crucial element in achieving a 100 percent green liquid hydrogen supply chain.
LH2 has a plan to produce hydrogen from renewable energy, including solar and wind power on the east coast of Scotland. However, the missing piece in the puzzle is the transport capacity to transport the hydrogen from Scotland to Germany, where they intend to distribute it to industrial customers.
“We aim to initially supply 100 tonnes of green hydrogen per day (t / d) and increase production to 300 t / d within three years, depending on demand,” notes LH2 CEO Peter Wells, further to the niche site. The Danish Maritime Authority† “Current vessels are not able to supply hydrogen on the scale we expect to need to meet market needs,” explains Wells. “This tanker design is an important step in providing the infrastructure to make the future of clean energy a reality.”
Together with C-Job Naval Architects, LH2 thus worked on the design of a new model of floating hydrogen tankers. The tanker will meet the challenges of hydrogen transport between Scotland, Germany and possibly other parts of Europe. LH2 emphasizes that liquid hydrogen has the lowest cost, and is organically the safest option for transporting hydrogen. Alternative long-distance bulk transportation options, such as ammonia, can harm the environment, it says.
C-Job developed the original design for the vessel, similar to an inland vessel, and chose a modest size compared to some of the competing designs for the new hydrogen sector. For example, the tanker presented earlier this week is 141 meters long and has a capacity of 37,500 cubic meters, which is distributed over three large storage tanks. In comparison, Kawasaki is developing a vessel with a four times larger capacity, 160,000 cbm, for long-distance sea transport, notes The Danish Maritime Authority on.
With one load, the ship can supply enough liquid hydrogen for four hundred thousand medium-sized hydrogen cars, writes the technical news site The engineer† The tanker would have an installed capacity of 5,000 kWe, making it possible to transport a crew of 14 people at a speed of 14 knots.
“Liquid hydrogen poses unique challenges in ship design and construction,” explains Job Volwater, CCO at C-Job. “For comparison: LNG tankers (LNG stands for liquefied natural gas, or: liquefied natural gas) use ballast water to compensate for the weight loss after delivery and thus ensure adequate draft. Since liquid hydrogen has a large volume but is 20 times lighter than LNG, this required a unique solution. We created a trapezoidal hull design that creates enough deck space to accommodate tanks without the need for ballast. “
The ship is expected to be ready and put into service six months before the first hydrogen delivery in 2027. LH2 plans to expand to deliveries from Spain and Portugal in the second phase, as the market in North-West Europe increases.
Hydrogen fuel cells
A recent study commissioned by the British government calls hydrogen “twice as potent a greenhouse gas as previously thought”. “Any leakage of H2 (hydrogen gas) will lead to indirect global warming, eliminating the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions achieved by switching from fossil fuels to hydrogen,” it said.
Another study showed that the transport of liquid hydrogen by tanker is the largest contributor to hydrogen leakage, with 13.2 percent of the cargo leaking into the atmosphere.
However, C-Job and H2’s hydrogen tanker would be powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The idea is that the vessel itself uses the part of the hydrogen in the tankers on board that evaporates into its own fuel cells. They then convert the hydrogen into water and electricity for their own propulsion. For example, the tanker itself must be completely emission-free.