ClassNK creates guidelines for liquefied hydrogen carriers

ClassNK creates guidelines for liquefied hydrogen carriers
Illustration purposes only (Image courtesy of Kawasaki Heavy Industries)

Japanese classification society, ClassNK has released guidelines for safe operation of liquefied hydrogen (LH2) carriers based on provisions of the IMO Interim Recommendations.

“The realization of a low-carbon society is an impending global issue driven by the rapidly growing awareness of environmental consideration in the public and tightening international anti-global warming regime,” ClassNK said in its statement.

The use of hydrogen as a fuel is seen as one of the solutions to environmental problems caused by fuel emissions, as only water is discharged at the time of power generation, and can be manufactured from many different feed materials.

“However, in order to realize the best and practical use of hydrogen, its production in economically viable and environmentally friendly method and the secure supply chain to transport hydrogen to the place of consumption is essential,” ClassNK said.

The classification society added that hydrogen transportation by ships is expected to expand together with the development of related technologies.

Currently, the International Code for the construction and equipment of ships carrying liquefied gasses in bulk (IGC Code) outlines safety requirements for gas carriers like LNG. However, there are no specific requirements defined in the code applicable for LH2 carriers that take into account the hazards associated with the handling and transport of LH2.

ClassNK notes that hydrogen must be kept at temperatures below −253°C in order to maintain its liquid state under atmospheric pressure, presenting an even tougher challenge than LNG. In response to growing interest in LH2 transportation, IMO developed Interim Recommendations for Carriage of Liquefied Hydrogen in Bulk which

In response to growing interest in LH2 transportation, IMO developed interim recommendations for carriage of liquefied hydrogen in bulk which were adopted at MSC 97.

ClassNK guidelines for liquid hydrogen carriers provide safety requirements for the design and construction of LH2 carriers based on the IMO Interim Recommendations, various international standards as well as additional requirements taking specific hazards arising from the handling of LH2 into consideration.