Australia exports world’s first shipment of liquified hydrogen to Japan

14 Feb 2022

Australia is sending the world’s first shipment of liquified hydrogen to Japan.

It is a major milestone in the A$500 million Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) pilot project. The project is the first in the world to extract, liquefy and transport liquid hydrogen by sea to an international market.

The Suiso Frontier will transport the super-cooled liquid hydrogen from Victoria’s Port Hastings to Kobe. The 116-metre vessel is the world’s first purpose-built liquefied hydrogen carrier.

An Australia–Japan collaboration

The HESC project involved a consortium of top energy and infrastructure companies from Australia and Japan. They include:

  • Kawasaki Heavy Industries
  • J-Power
  • Iwatani Corporation
  • Marubeni Corporation
  • Sumitomo Corporation
  • AGL

The Australian, Japanese and Victorian governments also supported the project.

The consortium built a hydrogen production plant at AGL’s Loy Yang site in the Latrobe Valley. The plant produced 99.99% pure hydrogen using brown coal and biomass. The hydrogen was trucked to Hastings and cooled to minus 253 degrees. It was then liquified to less than 800 times its gaseous volume to create liquefied hydrogen.

‘The HESC project … cements Australia’s position as a world leader in hydrogen,’ says Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor.

‘The HESC project has the potential to become a major source of clean energy. It will help Australia and Japan both reach our goals of net zero emissions by 2050.’

Moving towards commercialisation

Over the next two years, the project partners will research and develop the technical and operational requirements for a commercial-scale project.

If it reaches commercial scale, the HESC would produce an estimated 225,000 tonnes of carbon-neutral liquefied hydrogen. This would help reduce global emissions by around 1.8 million tonnes per year. This is the equivalent of emissions from 350,000 petrol cars.

Australia’s support for clean hydrogen

Australia is investing more than A$1.3 billion to speed up the development of its hydrogen industry. This includes A$464 million to develop clean hydrogen industrial hubs in regional Australia.

It has also launched the A$150 million Australian Clean Hydrogen Trade Program. The program will support Australian-based hydrogen supply chain projects that secure overseas public or private sector investment. The first round of the program will focus on the export of clean hydrogen to Japan under the Japan-Australia Partnership on Decarbonisation through Technology.

Austrade support for the hydrogen industry

Austrade has supported the HESC project since 2011. Advisers have brought together Japanese and Australian government and businesses to bring this project from study to export.

This includes helping Japanese companies to become established in Australia. Austrade advisers helped stakeholders gain introductions, assisted with site selection, and provided information about grants and government support.  

Austrade looks forward to supporting the HESC project as it grows. Austrade is supporting the Australian hydrogen industry by promoting Australia as a world-class destination for clean hydrogen investment and a future global supplier.

If your business is interested in hydrogen investment or off-take, please contact an Austrade investment specialist.

Find out more about Australia’s hydrogen industry.

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