Game-Changing Developments in Hydrogen Transport

Global Energy Ventures (GEV) have their sights set on “the holy grail for a net-zero future”. That’s a zero-emission supply chain for overseas shipping of 100% green hydrogen. For a hydrogen industry expecting $300 billion worth of investment in the next decade, GEV’s innovations could be a game changer.

Global Energy Ventures, or GEV, is proud to be not just a global developer of integrated compressed gas shipping solutions, but one that’s committed to facilitating the energy transition. Set up in 2016 by managing director and CEO, Martin Carolan, the company has for the last half-decade been offering shipping solutions to clients across Asia and the
Pacific, but is most excited about its two flagship products. Firstly, a new compressed natural gas (CNG) vessel, known as the CNG Optimum. And, thrillingly, a ship designed for hydrogen transport, the C-H2. Still in development, this promises to have a serious impact in the hydrogen transportation space.

Both vessels are serious technical achievements – and efficiency is the virtue that drives GEV’s work on each. The CNG Optimum, firstly, is designed to maximise the amount of CNG that can be stored in its hull, with a capacity of 200 million ft³. Its innovative construction uses hexagonal closepacked, high-strength pipes that run the entire length of the cargo hold to ensure the gas storage pipes are tightly held together. And, designed
through 2018-2020, the ship has now been granted approval by the American Bureau of shipping and is ready for production.

Yet, the company’s second vessel is that with which GEV will lead the world into its carbon-free future. This is the C-H2, the world’s first hydrogen-carrying ship. While still under development, a recent scoping study has shown the project to be extremely promising, with minimal technical barriers for commercialisation and a very competitive cost.

In this way, the C-H2 offers the opportunity for a zero-emission supply chain for the marine
transport of 100% green hydrogen. In GEV’s words, this is “the holy grail for a net-zero future”.

The C-H2 builds on the technologies developed during the design of the CNG Optimum. Yet,
hydrogen has different demands to natural gas. The storage and transport equipment becomes more brittle in the presence of H2, for example, and so greater attention needs to be given to safety. As a result, six layers of high-strength steel are to surround each cylinder, so that if one layer cracks, the H2 can be captured by the next protective layer.

Chart 1: Hydrogen Transportation Value Chain Options

But GEV recognises the contradiction of a hydrogen shipment fueled by conventional bunker, or marine fuel. That’s why they are working closely with Ballard Power, the leading fuel cell manufacturer, to install a 1MW fuel cell that can power the vessel. Ballard has been working on developing fuel cells for shipping for a number of years, but this project has its unique problems. With so much hydrogen being stored on the ship, for example, where can
hydrogen be stored to fuel the ship itself?

While there will be specific logistical challenges to solve, these pale in significance next to the benefits that the project offers. Firstly, all things considered, compressed hydrogen is much more easily managed and used than transport alternatives such as ammonia and liquid hydrogen – and there’s the not-insignificant benefit that compressed hydrogen
is not toxic.

Chart 2: Levelised Cost of Hydrogen (LVOH)

Meanwhile, shipping routes could be much more flexible too – at least when ports are equipped to- receive the carrier. All of these factors contribute to make the levelised cost of hydrogen highly competitive across distances up to 2,000 to 4,500 nautical miles. That’s the distance from Australia to Japan, China, or South Korea.

There’s good reason then why GEV has just received funding to build a prototype C-H2 ship. But they’re not satisfied to stop just there. In a hydrogen industry that is expected to receive $300 billion in investment in the next decade, GEV wants to expand into other parts of the supply chain too. By becoming involved in renewable electricity generation, or in electrolysis, the company could become a fully integrated hydrogen shipping solution. In that way, even the holy grail is not enough.

Key Features:
Company: Global Energy Ventures
Focus: Shipping Solutions for the Energy
Martin Carolan: Executive Director, Corporate & Finance
Twitter: @GEVmarineCH2
LinkedIn: Global Energy Ventures Ltd (ASX: GEV)