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HHI Group to Usher in Era of Hydrogen Carriers with Hyundai Glovis

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) Group, together with Hyundai Glovis, became the world's first to receive an Approval in Principle (AiP) to build a commercial liquefied hydrogen carrier, rising as the trailblazer of a new shipping era.
Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD), two of HHI Group’s shipbuilding arms, announced on October 22 that they obtained an AiP for a 20,000㎥ liquefied hydrogen carrier from the Korean Register (KR) and the Liberian Registry.

The vessel is the world's first large-sized liquefied hydrogen carrier to be put in commercial operation. Going forward, HHI Group will discuss further details of the actual operation with Hyundai Glovis and other partners.

A ship classification society's AiP is granted after the appropriateness and safety of a ship design are verified, giving the shipbuilder the green light to initiate the sales process.

This newly approved ship boasts double-walled vacuum-insulated tanks to minimize hydrogen boil-off losses during transportation.

Also, its electric propulsion system will allow the ship to use the boil-off gas to power fuel cells.

To ship a large amount of hydrogen, liquefaction is essential to reduce the volume to 1/800th of that in its gas phase, and to improve the stability of transport.

Because liquefaction of hydrogen requires cooling to a cryogenic temperature of minus 253 degrees Celsius, which is even lower than minus 163 degrees Celsius where natural gas liquefies, an advanced cryogenic technology is essential for a liquefied hydrogen carrier for stable transportation.

Working together on this vessel, KSOE took charge of developing the liquefied hydrogen processing system and evaporative gas processing system powered by fuel cells, while HMD took charge of the ship design.

Hyundai Glovis and its subsidiary G-Marine Service, for their part, analyzed the economic and safety aspects of storage and transportation of liquefied hydrogen.

According to the report 'Hydrogen, Scaling Up 2017' published by the Hydrogen Council, a global initiative of leading energy, transport, and industry companies aimed at positioning hydrogen among the key solutions of the energy transition, the hydrogen market is estimated to grow to USD 2.5 trillion by 2050, representing 18% of the global fuel demand.

"Our joint work on this liquefied hydrogen carrier holds significance in that the shipbuilding and shipping companies joined forces for the first time to nurture next growth engines in the run-up to the upcoming hydrogen economy era," said an official at HHI Group. "We will actively tap into overseas markets for transporting large amounts of hydrogen with our technological excellence."

"It is meaningful to participate in this joint industry project of hydrogen carriers from the standpoint of a flag state with a long history and technical verification capability," said Alfonso Castillero, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Liberian Registry. "As a flag state, our technical department has taken a very close look at the safety and regulatory aspects of the design and its implementation. We are very pleased to be working with these wonderful partners from the shipbuilding and shipping industries.”