Japanese companies join forces for liquefied hydrogen supply chain

Shipping companies Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) have joined JSE Ocean, a subsidiary of Japan Suiso Energy (JSE), with JSE remaining the majority shareholder with 50.2% of the stock, whilst the shipping companies hold 16.6% each.

Illustration; Archive; Courtesy of MOL

The companies said they partnered up to establish a global liquefied hydrogen supply chain.

JSE Ocean was established in January 2023 to research the marine transportation of LH2 by using a large-scale LH2 carrier, and JSE and the three shipping companies are expected to establish the marine transport of LH2 at a commercial scale through JSE Ocean.

The companies highlighted that they will collaborate to explore the safety and efficient operation of the world’s first large-scale LH2 carrier by 2024, as well as develop a viable marine transportation business scheme, adding that the LH2 carrier will be powered by hydrogen, significantly reducing CO2 emissions during operation.

‘Japan’s Basic Hydrogen Strategy,’ identifies hydrogen as the alternative to fossil fuels as it targets decarbonization, K Line said, noting that in the strategy Japan commits to a target of 3 million tons/year of hydrogen by 2030, 12 million tons/year by 2040 and 20 million tons/year by 2050.

To achieve this targeted volume and certain price costs, as well as to create a secure global supply chain, transport by ship is crucial, K Line stated.

To note, in August 2021, Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) allocated a grant from the Japanese Government’s ‘Green Innovation Fund’ to JSE, Iwatani Corporation and ENEOS Corporation for the ‘Liquefied hydrogen supply chain commercialization demonstration project.”

In the project, JSE committed to establishing what is said to be the world’s first large-scale hydrogen liquefaction and transportation technology, as well as to demonstrate a comprehensive and reliable global liquefied hydrogen (LH2) supply chain, covering hydrogen production, liquefaction, export from Australia, marine transportation and import.