The world’s first liquefied hydrogen transporter could leave Japan for Australia to collect its first cargo of hydrogen at the end of the month, although a return date has yet to be set due to COVID- 19, Japanese company Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. said on Friday.
The A $ 500 million ($ 353 million) pilot project, led by Kawasaki and backed by the Japanese and Australian governments, was initially scheduled to ship its first shipment of lignite-mined hydrogen to Australia in the spring. It was postponed to the second half of Kawasaki’s fiscal year from October to March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It will still depend on the pandemic situation, but we believe the ship could leave Japan for Australia as soon as the end of the month,” a spokesperson for Kawasaki said.
Kawasaki Heavy aims to replicate its success as a major producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) with hydrogen, a key element that can help decarbonize industries and foster the global energy transition.
In March of this year, the Japanese-Australian company began producing hydrogen from lignite as part of the test project which aims to show that liquefied hydrogen can be produced and safely exported to the Japan.
Kawasaki spokesman said the hydrogen carrier “Suiso Frontier” has been registered by ClassNK, a ship classification society, which gives it recognition for its compliance with International Maritime Organization standards.
The schedule for the return trip from Australia has yet to be set due to uncertainty over the impact of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, he said, adding that a one-way trip takes around 16 days.
Australian partners in the project include Japanese company Electric Power Development Co (J-Power), Iwatani Corp, Marubeni Corp, Sumitomo Corp and Australian AGL Energy Ltd, whose mine supplies lignite.
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