Japan's Suiso Frontier is expected to reach Kobe in Japan in February, carrying the world's first cargo of liquid hydrogen, from Hastings in Australia, a journey that foreshadows a likely future trade route for the ship.
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The technical challenge for the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain project of which Suiso Frontier is a part, is to transport hydrogen at minus 253 degrees Celsius across 9,000 km while controlling the boil-off rate.
The following are key facts of Australia's emerging hydrogen trade seen in the wake of Suiso Frontier:
Demand for hydrogen exported from Australia could exceed 3 million mt/year by 2040, potentially worth A$10 billion/year ($7.16 billion/year), according to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
- The Suiso Frontier is part of the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain project, a partnership of Japanese and Australian governments and industry focused on producing and exporting gasification-derived hydrogen from the Latrobe Valley in Victoria.
- Clean hydrogen exports to Japan are also a focus of the A$150 million Australian Clean Hydrogen Trade Program announced in January.
- Japanese hydrogen demand is set to reach 3 million mt/year by 2025 and 20 million mt/year by 2050, according to the country's Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry.
Several other accords have been signed by Australia to promote renewable hydrogen exports.
- A June 2021 Declaration of Intent with Germany saw the joint funding of the Hydrogen Innovation and Technology Incubator, or HyGATE.
- Australia and Singapore announced an A$30 million partnership last year to accelerate deployment of low emissions fuels and clean hydrogen in maritime and port operations.
- The Port of Rotterdam and Western Australia signed a memorandum of understanding in November 2021 to develop a renewable hydrogen export supply chain.
- Global pure hydrogen demand in 2022 is forecast at 76.10 million mt by S&P Global Platts Analytics, up 3% on the year mainly on increased refinery demand.
Australia targets a sub-A$2.00/kg ($1.43/kg) price for hydrogen under the federal government's Technology Investment Roadmap.
- S&P Global Platts assessed Victoria hydrogen produced via lignite gasification with CCS including capex at $2.86/kg Feb. 8, up 8.75% month on month.
- Japan hydrogen produced via SMR without CCS, including capex was assessed at $4.66/kg Feb. 9, down 17.52% on the month.
- Platts assessed Australian Carbon Neutral Hydrogen ex-works at $2.90/kg Feb. 8. The equivalent Far East CNH ex-works assessment was at $6.50/kg, while the Northwest European CNH ex-works assessment was at Eur6.05/kg ($6.92/kg).
- Renewable hydrogen costs could fall below A$2/kg after 2030 as feedstock and electrolyzers costs fall, according to the Australian government's "State of Hydrogen" report.
Australia is investing over A$1.3 billion in its emerging hydrogen sector, including A$464 million in the Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs program catering to export and domestic markets.
- The A$500 million Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain project is producing hydrogen from coal gasification in Victoria's Latrobe Valley. In the commercial stage around 2030 it plans to have carbon capture and storage added to the process.
- Among the country's largest hydrogen projects are InterContinental Energy's 50-GW Western Energy Green Hub aiming to produce 3.5 million mt of renewable hydrogen/year by 2030 and its 26-GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub.
- Woodside's H2Perth Green Hydrogen and Desert Bloom/Aqua Aerem's Tennant Creek are other large projects among the 966 detailed in S&P Global Platts Analytics' hydrogen project database.
- Global Energy Ventures has a renewable hydrogen production and exports project in Northern Territory's Tiwi Island with approval to build compressed hydrogen carriers.
- Kawasaki Heavy Industries has built liquid hydrogen producing and receiving facilities at Kobe. It is building land-based liquid hydrogen carriers and larger versions of the Suiso Frontier.