The first liquid hydrogen tanker

Sep 10 2020

The hull of the world’s first liquid hydrogen tanker was christened Suiso Frontier in Japan in December 2019, to be used as part of a pilot project to carry hydrogen between Australia and Japan.

The ship is not yet floating – delivery and installation of the hydrogen tank is planned for Autumn 2020.


The ship is operated by the Hydrogen Energy Supply-chain Technology Research Association (HySTRA), a consortium of several companies and organisations founded four years ago under the leadership of Kawasaki Heavy Industries.


It will carry “blue” hydrogen (made from methane with carbon capture in place) produced and liquified in Australia.


The vessel’s capacity will be 1250m3, compared to up to 267,000m3 for an LNG vessel.


The hydrogen is carried at -250 degrees C.


Japan is keen to develop usage of other fuels to reduce dependence on oil and gas.


The vessel is fitted with a Gas Combustion Unit and burner made by Saacke Marine Systems of Bremen, Germany.


This is used to safely combust boil off gas, hydrogen which gasifies due to imperfect insulation.


Testing and acceptance of the equipment in northern Germany was done in October 2019.


The hydrogen needs to be burned rather than released to the atmosphere, because it may contain methane, which is a dangerous greenhouse gas.


Saacke developed a system which allows the hydrogen to be combusted at pressure of just 0.15 bar, no compression is needed. This system, known as “freeflow”, was adopted due to concerns that a compression system could fail, or there could be a dangerous build up of hydrogen in a holding tank.


“This advantage was the deciding factor for the HySTRA customer order, because this SAACKE 100 % free-flow solution is technologically unrivalled, especially for large capacity ranges," Saacke says.


The whole project seeks to prove that transporting liquid hydrogen is as safe as liquid LNG.


Further information at about the hydrogen project is online at


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