The world’s first liquified hydrogen carrier ship en route from Japan to Australia

Since the end of December 2021, the world’s first liquefied hydrogen (LH2) carrier, the “Suiso Frontier”, is achieving its first round trip between Japan and Australia. The voyage is part of a pilot project to establish a supply chain of hydrogen derived from unused brown coal. 

The world’s first liquefied hydrogen (LH2) carrier, the “Suiso Frontier”, left Japan on 24 December 2021 to pick up the first cargo in Australia, and will return in late February 2022. According to the constructor, the SUISO FRONTIER can carry 75 tonnes of liquefied hydrogen in one trip. The liquefied hydrogen is produced by cooling gaseous hydrogen to minus 253°C therefore reducing its volume to 1/800. The voyage is a part of a “Demonstration project for establishment of mass hydrogen marine transportation supply chain derived from unused brown coal” between Australia and Japan. 


Japan is fully committed to developing technologies to facilitate its transition to a hydrogen-fuelled economy. The Hydrogen Energy Supply-Chain Technology Research Association (HYSTRA), a Japanese consortium, was founded in 2016. In 2018, funding was provided by Australian and Victorian governments for the construction of a gas refining facility in addition to a hydrogen liquefaction and loading terminal.  


In 2020-2021, HYSTRA undertook a pilot project to demonstrate brown coal gasification and hydrogen refining at Latrobe Valley in Australia, hydrogen liquefaction and storage of liquefied hydrogen at Hastings, marine transportation of liquefied hydrogen from Australia to Japan and unloading of liquefied hydrogen in Japan. After the brown coal has been gasified and converted into a syngas containing hydrogen, it is possible to separate and capture carbon dioxide during the hydrogen extraction process. This should be done at the gas refining facility, so that the HYSTRA project can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions inherent in hydrogen production. 


According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), hydrogen can only be considered as a clean fuel if the technologies utilized in its generation and consumption are also clean. There are three classes of hydrogen: (1) Grey Hydrogen produced from a hydrocarbon-based fuel, which implies that CO2 emissions were associated with its production; (2) Blue hydrogen, where grey hydrogen is accompanied by carbon capture technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; (3) Green hydrogen produced by electrolysis using electricity generated by renewable sources such as wind and solar.


Supply chain demonstration framework (source: HYSTRA




[1] The first liquefied hydrogen (LH2) carrier under voyage to Australia. 

[2] Liquefied Hydrogen Carrier -SUISO FRONTIER- Receives Classification from Nippon Kaiji Kyokai. 

[3] Al-Enazi, A., Okonkwo, E. C., Bicer, Y., & Al-Ansari, T. (2021). A review of cleaner alternative fuels for maritime transportation. Energy Reports, 7, 1962-1985. 

[4] United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). The hydrogen economy : a non-technical review. (2006) 

(Image source:,_2020_02.jpg)