As the world scrambles to reduce their dependency on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions, the decades long search for an efficient renewable energy resource rages on. Hydrogen is among the many potential renewable energy resources being pursued today, as it is widely considered a promising prospect that boasts zero carbon emissions.
One of the major problems with using hydrogen as an energy source is transporting it across great distances, particularly oceans. Gaseous hydrogen is usually transported through pipelines, while liquid hydrogen is transported through truck tankers. This year, Australia and Japan devised a pilot project to see if boat tankers were a feasible method of transportation. Using a KHI-built Suiso Frontier tanker, liquified hydrogen was transported from Australia to western Japan, landing and unloading safely by the end of last month. Leaders of this project noted that this proved that the technology was currently available to achieve this feat, making liquified hydrogen a viable competitor to liquefied natural gas.
Critics have noted that hydrogen requires intensive energy input to produce, with many estimating that the emissions from hydrogen are twice that of natural gas when derived from certain sources. However, when other renewable resources are used to produce hydrogen, this amounts to net zero emissions.
This project marks an important milestone in the use of hydrogen fuels. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, the Japanese firm that led the project, seeks to commercialize this business by the 2030s as Japan transitions to decarbonized industries. While Australia is preparing to become a major exporter of hydrogen in the coming years.