Daily Management Review

Hyundai Heavy Unit Claims Tech To Transport Hydrogen By Ships To Be Ready By 2025


Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) wants to be able to develop the technology to carry hydrogen by ship by 2025, said an executive of the company. This is a part of the aim of the company to achieve a breakthrough in supplying a fuel that advocates tout as a major source of renewable energy.
The breakthrough by KSOE, the shipbuilding unit of Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, one of the world's largest shipbuilders, comes as interest in hydrogen as a cleaner fuel option grows around the world. Vessel builders all across the world are exploring new ways to transport gas, which is traditionally delivered via pipelines and vehicles.
A big issue in the transportation of hydrogen over long distances is keeping the hydrogen cooled at minus 253 degrees Celsius, which is only 20 degrees above absolute zero, the coldest temperature imaginable, so it stays in liquid form while avoiding the possibility of cracking in the tank.
"We already have developed a concept ship with a capacity of 20,000 cubic meters," said Yoo Byeong-yong, vice president with Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering's (KSOE) Energy System Research Institute.
Though modest, at carriage capacity of only 20,000 cubic meters in comparison to the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) supertankers, which typically have the capacity to transport as much as 266,000 cubic meters, the size of tankers carrying liquid hydrogen will continue to grow with the advancements in technology.
According to estimates within the shipping industry in South Korea, which is also one of the shipbuilding powerhouses of the world, about 20 ships with a capacity of 20,000 cubic meters will be constructed with the decade beginning in 2030, and if there is growth in demand for such ships, that number could rise to 200 larger vessels with a capacity of 170,000 cubic meters by 2040.
"We foresee the global hydrogen market will grow rapidly after 2030 and demand for ships will grow accordingly," said Yoo, speaking in a video interview from Las Vegas during the CES tech trade show. According to the estimates of KSOE, the commercialization of hydrogen tankers will happen between 2025 and 2027.
Ships transporting hydrogen would first be fueled by LNG, according to KSOE's Yoo, but after the hydrogen market is established, the tankers could be powered entirely by hydrogen.
Environmentalists are putting pressure on the shipping industry, which moves over 90 per cent of the global trade and emits about 3 per cent of CO2 emissions, to take more meaningful action.
According to industry officials, the first net-zero ships must enter the global fleet by 2030, and green hydrogen-powered ships could assist accomplish that goal.