Kawasaki Heavy Industries launching the first vessel, the Suiso Frontier, to carry liquid hydrogen in Kobe, Japan on December 12, 2019 seems to kick off a new era in location scouting for hydrogen production and distribution.  Transporting liquefied hydrogen at 1/800 of its original gas-state volume and  cooled to –253°C, Kawasaki plans to install a 1,250 m3 vacuum-insulated, double-shell-structure liquefied hydrogen storage tank. Once complete, the vessel will be used for technology demonstration testing in Japanese  aimed at the establishment of an international hydrogen energy supply chain*1 in which liquefied hydrogen produced in Australia will be shipped to Japan. Kawasaki  is cooperating since i2016 with Iwatani Corporation (Iwatani), Shell Japan Limited, and Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. (J-POWER) to form the CO2 free Hydrogen Energy Supply-chain Technology Research Association (HySTRA).  With the support of NEDO, an energy supply chain is being developed  enabling economical and reliable sourcing of hydrogen in large volumes. In addition to this latest liquefied hydrogen carrier, a liquefied hydrogen unloading terminal is being built in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture,

As the International Maritine Organisation IMO will impose its high sulfur fuel oil (HSFO) ban in 2020, the bunker fuel demand landscape is due  change dramatically. Demand for HSFO, the main vessel fuel since the 1960’s, will fall from 3.5 mb/d to 1.4 mb/d in just one year according to the IEA Oil market report 2019. indicating that  4000 scrubbers will have been installed on large vessels by the end of 2020, consuming 700 kb/d of fuel oil.

Many shipping companies will prefer to use marine gasoil (MGO) instead of a new very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO), despite its higher price. The quantity of VLSFO produced will initially be limited to 1 mb/d because of reduced availability of low sulphur blending materials. Some shipping companies may also be reluctant to adopt a new fuel immediately, and would prefer to use MGO until they have confidence that VLSFO will be easily available in ports and stable and compatible with similar grades.

In view of these developments the Dutch HyChain program, coordinated by the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology(ISPT), looks at an optimisation of a future renewable hydrogen value chain, with the
Netherlands as a focal point. One of their recent reports, HyChain 2, focusses specifically on the cost implications of importing renewable electricity, hydrogen and hydrogen carriers into the Netherlands. A high-level model (which is freely available as an appendix) evaluates import costs and their dependencies on the various input parameters. The model calculates the costs of importing renewable electricity, hydrogen and hydrogen carriers from virtually every country in the world to the Netherlands, using a greenfield approach and 2050 as a reference year.

Ten years ago the EHA published its study “Energy Infrstructure 21, the Role of Hydrogen in Addressing the Challenges in the new Global Energy System”. Many of the conclusions and recommendations are still remarkably valid today. Maybe except the first one “Peak oil is now”……as latest IEA predictions have been moved to 2040.

Wishing you a lot of successful “transitions” and “green deals”  in 2020!

The EHA team in Brussels