The world’s first liquefied hydrogen tanker left Japan to pick up its first cargo in Australia, and is expected to return to Japan by the end of February, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. said.
The A$500 million ($362 million) pilot project, led by Japan’s Kawasaki and backed by the Japanese and Australian governments, initially planned to ship its first cargo of hydrogen extracted from lignite in Australia in the spring.
But it was delayed to the second half of Kawasaki’s fiscal year, which runs from October to March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It depends on the weather, but the hydrogen ship ‘Suiso Frontier’ will arrive in Australia in mid-January and is expected to return to Japan around the end of February,” a spokesman said.
The one-way voyage takes about 16 days.
Kawasaki Heavy aims to repeat its success as a major producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) with hydrogen, a key element that can contribute to the decarbonization of industries and the global energy transition.
In March this year, the Japanese-Australian company began producing hydrogen from lignite in the test project that aims to demonstrate that liquefied hydrogen can be safely produced and exported to Japan.
Partners on the Australian side of the project include Japan’s Electric Power Development Co (J-Power), Iwatani Corp, Marubeni Corp, Sumitomo Corp and Australia’s AGL Energy Ltd, whose mine supplies the lignite.