The Dutch company C-Job Naval Architects has presented a new class of liquid hydrogen tanker, a project carried out in collaboration with LH2 Europe, which is committed to sustainability in a double sense.
The tanker by C-Job Naval Architects is 141 meters long and has three dams with a capacity of 12,500 cubic meters each, resulting in a total storage capacity of 37,500 cubic meters of liquid hydrogen. The vessel has enough capacity to supply hydrogen to 400,000 fuel cell cars, or 20,000 heavy duty trucks.
“Hydrogen will be essential to the future of energy. It is up to us how quickly we can achieve this,” said Peter Wells, CEO of LH2 Europe, adding: “The design of this tanker is a key step in providing the necessary infrastructure to make that clean energy future a reality. Current ships are not capable of supplying hydrogen on the scale that we expect to be required to meet market needs.”
LH2 Europe aims to have a liquid hydrogen supply chain operational by 2027. The company plans to initially produce 100 tons per day of green hydrogen (obtained with renewable energy and without carbon emissions) and increase production to 300 tons per day within three years, depending on demand. The vessel is expected to be ready by the end of 2026 and will start operations six months before the first delivery of hydrogen.
LH2 Europe will use Scotland’s abundant renewable electricity to produce green hydrogen there and market it at a price ‘competitive’ with diesel. The new tanker will transport the liquid hydrogen to Germany, and they do not rule out expanding the supply to other markets as demand increases.
Liquid hydrogen storage poses significant challenges in ship design and engineering. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers use water as ballast to compensate for weight loss after cargo delivery and ensure sufficient draft for seaworthiness. Liquid hydrogen has a large volume but is 20 times lighter than LNG, so they had to adopt an unconventional solution, designing a trapezoid-shaped hull to create enough space for the tanks to fit without the need for ballast. .
The ship, in turn, moves thanks to fuel cells that feed on hydrogen from the tanks themselves. Its creators say that the tanks will have “a much lower boiling” than those currently used in the maritime industry. Even so, the very low temperature necessary to maintain liquid hydrogen (below -253º C) means that continually evaporate, which generates gaseous hydrogen that must be captured to prevent it from mixing with the air in the atmosphere. The captured hydrogen gas will be used in the ship’s fuel cells, providing power to the ship’s propellant, which will only emit water during operation.
- Length: 141.75m
- Beam: 34.90m
- Operational draft: 5.80 m
- Installed power: 5,000 kWe
- Maximum speed: 14 knots
- Crew capacity: 14 crew
- Loading capacity: 37,500 m3 (3 x 12,500 m3)