World-first hydrogen tanker arrives in Victoria to test potential for exporting fuel source to Japan - ABC News

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The Suiso Frontier is a world-first tanker built to transport hydrogen by sea. (Supplied: HESC project )

The world's first liquefied hydrogen carrier has arrived in Victoria as part of a project to test the viability of a hydrogen export market between Australia and Japan.

The carrier, the Suiso Frontier, docked at the Port of Hastings, east of Melbourne, yesterday and will transport hydrogen produced as part of the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project back to Japan.

The HESC pilot project is testing whether it is possible to create hydrogen using coal mined at the Loy Yang brown coal mine in the Latrobe Valley and transport it to Japan for consumption.

The mine produced its first hydrogen last year.

The project is being developed by a consortium of Japanese and Australian companies, including Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Japanese energy giant J-Power and AGL, which owns Loy Yang.

From Loy Yang, the hydrogen is transported in gas form where it is liquefied prior to export.

The Suiso Frontier, which has a gross tonnage of 8000 tonnes, will undertake a two-week voyage to transport the liquefied hydrogen to Kobe in Japan.

Its key feature is a 1,250-cubic-metre storage tank which is able to carry liquefied hydrogen at 0.125 per cent of its original volume when it was in its gas state.

The project has received $100 million from the Victorian and federal governments.

Carbon capture needed for expansion

Hydrogen is seen as an energy source of the future because it burns clean when consumed.

It is classified via a system of colour codes depending on how it is produced, including green hydrogen (produced from renewable energy) and brown hydrogen (produced from brown coal)

Environmental groups have criticised the HESC project because of the carbon emissions released by producing hydrogen from coal.

But the consortium says it will not commercialise the project unless it is able to capture and store the emissions.

The Victorian government is developing the Carbon Net project to investigate the feasibility of capturing emissions from local industry and storing it in disused gas and oil wells in Bass Strait.