Global Energy Ventures (ASX: GEV) has commenced the development of a pilot-scale compressed hydrogen (C-H2) ship to capitalise on downstream market opportunities for green hydrogen projects under consideration in Europe and the Asia Pacific region.
The 430-tonne ship will be a scaled-down version of last year’s 2,000t model which received Approval in Principle (AIP) from American Bureau of Shipping in March.
It will benefit from completed engineering and hazards identification analysis studies designed to highlight any risks associated with the ship’s design and operations which could compromise its overall viability.
The downstream market application for pilot-scale volumes of green hydrogen will include customers to inject the renewables product into existing natural gas pipeline grids (also known as blending).
Global Energy managing director and chief executive officer Martin Carolan believes regions with aspirations to develop a hydrogen economy are likely to turn to grid injection as a means of cultivating a market and stimulating investment into supply.
“Blending is an attractive source of near-term demand for hydrogen at small volumes due to low incremental costs and aligns with our modular approach for production scale-up,” he said.
“The scale of [this pilot] ship can alleviate additional infrastructure requirements that a liquefaction or ammonia project will require to deliver pure hydrogen gas to the end user.”
Global Energy has appointed Capilano Maritime, C-FER Technologies, Tekkara Project Services and American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) for engineering, design and safety analysis work required to achieve class approvals for the pilot-scale project later this year.
The program will also focus on material selection, welding specifications and prototype design for required ABS testing next year.
The hydrogen containment system is the most critical component of Global Energy’s C-H2 ship.
Its proprietary design features two 12m diameter circular steel tanks within the ship’s hull to store ambient temperature hydrogen at an operating pressure of 250 bar and a combined containment capacity of 430t.
A key consideration in designing the tanks was the size of hydrogen molecules, which are so small they can enter the steel’s molecular structure and over time cause the steel to suffer from embrittlement.
“Embrittlement is managed in our design by providing a liner such as stainless steel which prevents the steel structure from becoming damaged by the hydrogen,” Mr Carolan said.
“The cargo tanks will be constructed with a liner of stainless steel surrounded by multiple high-strength steel layers [so] should a fatigue crack initiate, it cannot grow beyond the layer in which it originated.”
He said the ship will be fuelled with hydrogen from the storage tanks providing a ‘zero-carbon’ solution. It will also be equipped with dynamic positioning for rapid connect and disconnect of near-shore buoys.