Consortium moves ahead with HESC pilot for conversion of Australian coal to LH2 for transport to Japan
The Australian, Japanese and Victorian governments and a consortium of companies have launched the pilot of an innovative supply chain that will deliver liquefied hydrogen from the Latrobe Valley in Australia to Japan.
The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project will convert brown coal from the AGL Loy Yang mine into hydrogen at an adjacent site and then transport the gas by road in high pressure tube trailers to a liquefaction terminal at the Port of Hastings.
A liquefaction plant at the Port of Hastings will convert the hydrogen gas into liquefied hydrogen (LH2). The liquefaction process will cool the hydrogen gas to −253°C and reduce it to 1/800th of its gaseous volume. The plant will be the first hydrogen liquefaction facility in Australia for demonstration purposes. The liquefied hydrogen (LH2) will then be shipped to Japan for use predominantly in the transport industry.
The liquefied hydrogen will be held in a storage container before being loaded onto a marine carrier for transport to Japan. KHI is developing a specialized system to load the liquefied hydrogen onto the carrier. The liquefied hydrogen will then be unloaded at a specially designed base in Kobe, Japan.
The amount of hydrogen being produced for the pilot is small and the emissions released are expected to be minimal.
The Port of Hastings facility is expected to:
Have an overall footprint of approximately 1 hectare
Have a 0.25 tonne per day liquefaction capacity
Have a 41m3 LH2 storage container.
The pilot phase specialized marine carrier is expected to:
Have a ship tank capacity of 1,250m3
Make approximately one trip every 3 months, between Australia and Japan, over the one-year pilot.
To mitigate any impact, carbon offsets will be purchased by the consortium. If the project is expanded in the future, the project partners recognize the need for carbon capture and storage.
The HESC Project brings together industry leaders in Australia and Japan and is led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI). It includes Australia’s AGL, the operator of the country’s largest electricity generation portfolio, as well as Japanese energy and heavy industries corporations, J-Power, Iwatani, Marubeni Corporation and global energy company Shell.
J-Power will use its gasification technology for gasification of brown coal.
Kawasaki is a supplier of cryogenic equipment and has built LNG storage tanks and receiving terminals as well as equipment for the rocket launch complex on Tanegashima.
Iwatani is Japan’s only producer and supplier of liquefied hydrogen.
Shell Japan is a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, which has experience with LNG supply chains and carrier operation. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. is designing a liquefied hydrogen carrier in collaboration with Shell for the pilot HESC.
AGL’s in-kind support for the pilot project includes land for the plant and up to 160 tonnes of brown coal.
In 2016, Kawasaki Heavy, Iwatani, Shell Japan and J-Power established a CO2-free Hydrogen Energy Supply-Chain Technology Research Association (HySTRA). The companies transferred the HESC demonstration project to HySTRA.
To date, the HESC project team has completed the Front End Engineering and Design work. Construction of the pilot facility in Australia is expected to commence in early 2019, following planning approvals.
Takaoka, Yukichi & Kagaya, Hiroaki & Saeed, Ahmer & Nishimura, Motohiko. (2017). “Introduction to a Liquefied Hydrogen Carrier for a Pilot Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project in Japan.”