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MOL forms partnership to study liquified hydrogen transport

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Woodside Energy Ltd (Woodside), a major Australian energy company and shipbuilding and engineering company HD Korea Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering Co., Ltd. (HD KSOE) and shipping company Hyundai Glovis Co., Ltd. (Hyundai Glovis), both of South Korea, to jointly study the development of shipping solutions to enable bulk marine transportation of liquid H2, which the three companies have been pursuing since 2022.

H2, a lower-carbon energy source, is attracting a great deal of attention as the world seeks to move toward decarbonization. Demand for the transport of liquefied H2 is expected to rise in the coming decades.

In this project, the participating companies will study the technology, safety, construction, operation and economics of a carrier with 80,000 m3 tank capacity, with the aim of establishing a liquefied H2 supply chain in Asia and other regions. If a project results from the MoU, the parties' aspiration is to have the vessel built and in operation by 2030. The liquefied H2 carrier would, under its concept design, use H2 as its main fuel, which is anticipated to significantly reduce CO2 emissions during operation.

Liquefied H2 takes up about 1/800th the volume of H2 gas. While liquefied H2 is non-toxic and can be transported safely and efficiently, it must be cooled to -253°C, which requires advanced technology. Woodside, HD KSOE, and Hyundai Glovis have evaluated MOL's expertise gained through decades of experience in transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) and its various efforts to address decarbonization issues, and approached the company to cooperate in this study, leading to the conclusion of the MoU.

Discussions between the parties contemplate that, if a project results from the MoU, Woodside would be responsible for producing H2 and storing it at loading and discharging ports, HD KSOE would design and build the vessel, and Hyundai Glovis and MOL would be responsible for providing ship operational input into the vessel design, including logistics, propulsion, storage and cargo handling.