Liquid hydrogen swappable storage solution for ships in the making

The Sustainable Hydrogen Powered Shipping Project (sHYpS), which is centred around the idea of developing a liquid hydrogen (LH2) swappable storage solution for multiple types of vessels, is gaining ground.

sHYpS kickoff meeting. Courtesy of sHYpS

Launched in the summer of 2022, the sHYpS project gathers 13 partners in six countries with a €14.3 million budget and an objective to support the decarbonisation of the shipping industry.

Partners in the project include NAVALPROGETTI S.r.l., Viking Hydrogen AS, CHART, CENERGY, Universita Degli Studi di Trieste, Plug Power, Jeumont Electric, The Port of Bergen, Kontor 17 MPM GmbH, PNO Consultants, Ricardo plc and Lloyd’s Register EMEA IPS. 

As explained, the project set out to develop a liquid hydrogen swappable storage solution, which can be adapted to multiple types of vessels,  based on new c-type ISO containers. The concept aims to upgrade the container technology and enable its use as a fuel tank, which also requires adding a connection space to transform the stored liquid hydrogen into gas.

On the one hand, the project will set up a logistic based on swapping pre-filled containers, on the other hand, it will define a perspective scale-up of the storage capacity and the supply, applied to the Port of Bergen use-case. This will allow to kick start a supply chain without waiting for the full infrastructure to be in place, the partners explain.

The project will implement and demonstrate the storage technology on one of Viking’s newbuild fjords cruise vessels, with its complete gas handling and energy management system. Furthermore, it will prepare a concept design extending to freights in view of new demonstrators by 2027.

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During the project, a full demo will be conducted. Tests will occur during the shakedown cruise by 2026, with a limited-power fuel cell. However, by integrating the liquid hydrogen storage system in the overall design of a 6MW PEM FC-based powertrain, sHYps will support reaching the megawatt level in the marine sector: when the 6MW is in place, it will allow to already cut 50% of emissions in a 14 days fjord cruise, the project states.

Designing, developing, and testing the use of 40ft ISO-sized cryogenic container tanks, which can exchange empty for full in ports with minimal adjustments to the port’s existing infrastructure, will represent a marine first-in-kind use-case, the project developers claim.

Ricardo plc, as one of the partners in the project responsible for fuel cell integrated design and overall energy management of liquid hydrogen ISO storage containment, has placed an initial order of high-speed electric fuel cell compressors with Australia-based firm Sprintex.

The initial trial will power six cruise liners, each with approximately 100MW of electrical power, generated by modular hydrogen fuel cells. The order for the development phase of the program is valued at approximately A$270,000 (around US$180,000). Following the development phase, a six-ship trial is expected to provide approximately A$1.5 million (about US$1 million) revenue to Sprintex.