Liquid hydrogen oil tanker receives first AiP

ClassNK has issued the first Approval in Principle (AiP) for the design of an oil tanker powered by liquefied hydrogen.

Uyeno Transtech, Yanmar Power Technology Co. and Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding Co. are working on the novela propulsion system which would fuel a 5,000KL oil tanker, under a demonstration project with the Nippon Foundation.

ClassNK carried out a review of a design concept of the ship based on its alternative fuel regulations for fuel and fuel cell power systems.

It will contribute to the project from the perspective of safety evaluation to support the decarbonisation of shipping.

Shipping hydrogen in liquid form is regarded as more practical than gas because of its higher energy density. However, it presents some extra challenges, particularly related to safe storage, according to DNV.

“To liquefy hydrogen, it must be cooled to -253 degrees Celsius,” said Tom Klungseth Østvold, Principal Engineer, Structures at DNV Maritime Advisory.

“Once this is done, the liquefied hydrogen needs to be stored in tanks with the highest standards in vacuum insulation. Exposing the hydrogen to normal gases will lead to significant impairment as well as many safety hazards.”

A collaboration between DNV, CB&I and Shell has led to an AiP for a large-scale liquid hydrogen cargo container system, which could pave the way for the development of a global hydrogen supply chain.

But even as a liquid, hydrogen storage takes up significant space compared with marine gas oil.

“To get the same equivalent energy content requires a tank volume that is almost eight times more than that of marine gas oil,” said Kaj Portin, General Manager, Sustainable Fuels & Decarbonisation, Wärtsilä.

Powering ships with liquefied hydrogen has so far only been carried out on smaller vessels. The MF Hydra is the first passenger and car ferry using liquid hydrogen, which is powered by two Ballard 200kW FCwave™ fuel cell modules.

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