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Japan's liquefied hydrogen transport from Australia likely to take place July-August

Highlights

Kawasaki Heavy Industries aims to deliver Suiso Frontier April-June

Japan's state of emergency delays manufacturer approval, classification for ship

Facilities getting ready for 9,000 km liquefied hydrogen transport

New York — Japan's transport of liquefied hydrogen from Australia, which will be the first in the world, now looks to be taking place around July-August from a previous target of end-March because of delays caused by the former's pandemic-led state of emergency restrictions.

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The latest outlook for the maiden liquefied hydrogen transport comes as Kawasaki Heavy Industries has reviewed its delivery schedule of the 8,000 gross tonnage Suiso Frontier to the pilot project, in which it is a member, because of pending approvals delayed by the state of emergency measures, a company spokesman said Feb. 19.

Kawasaki now aims to deliver the Suiso Frontier to the CO2-free Hydrogen Energy Supply-chain Technology Research Association, or HySTRA, a pilot project consortium, in April-June, which would allow the first transport of hydrogen around July-August, the spokesman said.

Kawasaki is facing delays in getting final approvals from foreign manufacturers on their facilities installed on the Suiso Frontier because of the country's current entry restrictions for foreign visitors amid the state of emergency restrictions, the spokesman said.

Following the manufacturers' approval, Kawasaki can proceed to obtain a classification of the Suiso Frontier, the world's first liquefied hydrogen carrier with a cargo loading capacity of 1,250 cu m, from ClassNK, the spokesman said.

Japan is in the midst of a state of emergency, which subjects over 54%, or more than 130 million of its population, to restrictive measures until March 7, in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19. The measures include suspension of entry from 11 countries/regions under business/residential track schemes.

Getting ready

The project plans to demonstrate in fiscal 2020-21, which runs from April 2020 to March 2021, brown coal gasification and hydrogen refining in the Latrobe Valley in southeastern Australia, hydrogen liquefaction and storage of liquefied hydrogen at the port of Hastings, marine transportation of liquefied hydrogen from Australia to Japan, and the unloading of liquefied hydrogen at Kobe.

Various facilities are getting ready for the project with aid from the state-owned New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization.

Kawasaki is now testing facilities it built at the port of Hastings, the spokesman said.

Another project member, Electric Power Development Co., or J-POWER, said Feb. 1 that it has commenced the hydrogen project from the coal gasification and hydrogen refining facility in the Latrobe Valley.

The start of liquefied hydrogen transport over 9,000 km will come at a time when there is unprecedented momentum for the deployment of hydrogen as a key energy source in Japan after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in October 2020 that the country would now aim for carbon neutrality by 2050.