The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has approved the design of the H2Neo compressed hydrogen carrier, allowing Provaris Energy Ltd. (Provaris) to move forward on construction of the 918,181-scf (26,000-m3) vessel. The hydrogen carrier is the first of its kind to receive this level of approval and follows extensive ABS review of front-end engineering design (FEED). The next steps will be prototype testing, followed by shipyard selection and detailed designs for construction. Provaris will work with shipping services provider Clarkson PLC for shipyard identification and selection beginning in early 2023. The company plans to have an operational vessel by 2026.
“Compressed hydrogen can deliver a safe, economic, and energy efficient hydrogen shipping and transport solution that is essential to meet the climate targets for 2030 and beyond. Provaris has set itself ambitious targets for the detailed engineering and approvals required to develop the H2Neo carrier, and I am pleased to say our team has delivered a unique approach to marine hydrogen transport that is also a world first,” said Martin Carolan, managing director and CEO of Provaris. “Our marketing program continues to raise the awareness of compressed hydrogen as a first mover and feasible alternative for regional hydrogen trade. We expect this approval milestone to assist with the validation requirements in our commercialization pipeline, and transition Provaris to construction ready status in 2023.”
Provaris spent 12 months completing the FEED-level design package for the H2Neo. The ship design is verified as capable of transporting compressed hydrogen at bulk scale at 3625 psi (250 bar) pressure.
“ABS recognizes the potential that hydrogen shows in supporting a sustainable, lower-carbon future. Safe and efficient storage and transportation of hydrogen at sea will be critical to the development and viability of the global hydrogen value chain,” said Patrick Ryan, ABS senior vice president of Global Engineering and Technology. “We have been working closely with Provaris, initially granting AIP in 2021 and subsequently reviewing their comprehensive FEED-level package for the H2Neo. ABS is pleased to award Provaris approval of their design.”
ABS carried out risk and safety workshops (HAZID) and specialized studies concerning gas dispersion, explosion, and fire analysis to help assess and mitigate the risks associated with the storage and transportation of hydrogen. According to Provaris, this is the first time that an extensive HAZID and FEED-level design for a novel hydrogen carrier has been concluded. Provaris will continue to work with ABS throughout the next phases of detailed production design, cargo tank testing, and construction. Construction of a prototype for testing is expected to take place in 2023.
The H2Neo design incorporates two large-diameter cylindrical tanks, one in each of the port and starboard cargo holds, with a maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) of 3625 psi.
The patented design integrates a thick steel layered tank into the hull of a conventional ship-sized hull with low operating drafts. Leveraging its experience with gas and compression, Provaris assessed various compressed cargo containment solution options, considering the characteristics of hydrogen, including MAOP, temperature levels, and hydrogen embrittlement.
The cargo tank construction is composed of layers of steel nested together and a stainless-steel inner layer to protect the high-strength carbon steel from hydrogen embrittlement. According to Provaris, this nesting ensures that sudden through-wall cracks are impossible, so the tanks won’t suddenly rupture and release a catastrophic amount of energy.
Additional safety measures are applied through continuous monitoring of the cargo tank’s integrity, including a monitoring system that will be installed on the outermost layer of the cargo tanks.
Compression technology will load compressed hydrogen directly into the carrier, eliminating the need for onshore hydrogen storage and/or facilities to convert the hydrogen into alternative forms like ammonia or liquefied hydrogen at the loading port. The hydrogen will be delivered directly through the energy expelled through decompression from the ship’s cargo tanks, eliminating facilities at the receiving terminal previously required to store and/or crack, change, or regas the cargo before distribution.