HESC Project achieves another major milestone with the launch of the world’s first hydrogen carrier

HESC Project achieves another major milestone with the launch of the world’s first hydrogen carrier

Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project partners congratulate fellow partner, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (KHI) in achieving a major project milestone today, launching the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier, SUISO FRONTIER at its Kobe works site in Japan.

Image of the Suiso Frontier marine carrier

The carrier has been developed specifically for the HESC project to transport liquefied hydrogen from the Port of Hastings in Victoria to Japan.

The launch of the SUISO FRONTIER follows other recent and significant HESC milestones including the commencement of construction of the project’s hydrogen liquefaction and loading terminal at the Port of Hastings in July, and the commencement of construction of the brown coal gasification and gas-refining plant in the Latrobe Valley in early November.

It also follows hot on the heels of the release of Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy.

These events demonstrate a significant step forward in Australia and Japan’s pursuit of a hydrogen energy society and supports Australia in responsibly transitioning to a secure, economically viable, low carbon energy future.

The HESC project has the potential to be a game changer in the future, together with carbon capture and storage, providing an innovative, economically viable and environmentally conscious solution to producing hydrogen safely, through the conversion of brown coal to hydrogen.

Australia could be the first country to create a thriving hydrogen export industry with huge local economic benefits.

The Latrobe Valley has the resources, infrastructure and capacity to become the centre for a new energy industry using the area’s abundant coal resources in a sustainable manner and help Australia transition to a low carbon energy regime.

Following today’s launch the carrier will be installed with a vacuum insulated double-walled liquefied hydrogen storage tank with a capacity of 1,250m3.

Construction will be complete in late 2020 to complement the commencement of HESC pilot’s full operation by 2021.

Read the Kawasaki Heavy Industries media release.

Watch the launch event video.

SUISO FRONTIER Vital Statistics

  • ‘Suiso’ means hydrogen in Japanese
  • Length (overall): 116 m
  • Molded breadth: 19 m
  • Molded depth: 17.90m
  • Molded draft: 4.5m
  • Gross tonnage: approx. 8,000t
  • Tank cargo capacity: approx. 1,250m3
  • Main engine: Diesel Electric Propulsion
  • Sea speed: approximately 13 kn
  • Capacity: 25 people
National Hydrogen Strategy boosts Australia’s clean energy future

National Hydrogen Strategy boosts Australia’s clean energy future

National Hydrogen Strategy boosts Australia’s clean energy future


The HESC Project Partners welcome the approval of Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy by Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council Ministers.

Hydrogen is gaining momentum world-wide as one of the clean energy sources of the future.

The approval of the strategy by COAG Ministers highlights the bipartisan support for hydrogen and acknowledges the domestic and international opportunities it presents to Australia.

Government and industry have clearly stated that Australia could be a world leader in hydrogen given its abundant energy resources and proximity to emerging hydrogen import markets in North Asia.

The strategy represents a key milestone in this journey and we are hopeful that it will provide a conducive policy setting for our world-first end-to-end hydrogen energy supply chain pilot – HESC.

HESC is a significant collaboration between Australia and Japan, and a fundamental component of a new, clean hydrogen export industry.

The strategy’s reference to the HESC Project as a key catalyst to kick-start a commercially viable Australian hydrogen industry in the near term is encouraging.

At a commercial scale, incorporating carbon capture and storage in the production of hydrogen from brown coal would support government and industry’s efforts to responsibly transition to a secure, economically viable, low carbon energy future.

It would be a game changer for business and industry and the broader economy, generating significant jobs and export revenue.

We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Japanese, Victorian and Australian Governments to support the rollout of the Strategy through the successful implementation of the HESC Project.

HESC in the Latrobe Valley

HESC in the Latrobe Valley

Laying the foundations for Victoria’s hydrogen industry


HESC Project Partners, Japanese Government and diplomatic dignitaries, and Commonwealth, State and local government representatives gathered at the HESC Loy Yang plant site today to participate in a Cornerstone Laying ceremony to commemorate the start of construction.

In attendance at the ceremony were: The Honourable Tim Pallas MP, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, and Minister for Industrial Relations; H.E. Reiichiro Takahashi, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan in Australia; The Honourable Melina Bath MLC; representing Eastern Victoria; The Honourable Russell Northe MP, Member for Morwell; Mr Dan Clancy, Mayor of the Latrobe City Council; Mr Toshiyuki Shirai, Director, Advanced Energy Systems and Structure Division, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Department, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry [METI]; and, Mr Masayoshi Kitamura, Chairman, J-POWER.

Such ceremonies are traditional in Japan where foundation stones are laid at the start of construction of a new building or structure, along with a time capsule artefact. In this instance a document signed by Japanese, Commonwealth and Victorian government representatives was stored with the Cornerstone Box to acknowledge their support of the project and the journey to realise the end to end supply chain of brown coal to hydrogen.

Project announcement

Project announcement

HESC welcomes Sumitomo Corporation as a Project Partner


The HESC project partners are pleased to announce that Japanese trading giant Sumitomo Corporation have joined the project consortium to deliver the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain project.

Sumitomo joins a group of highly experienced industry partners comprising Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), Electric Power Development Co. (J-Power), Iwatani Corporation, Marubeni Corporation and AGL.

Sumitomo will take a lead role in communicating with the CarbonNet Project throughout the HESC pilot phase. Funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments, CarbonNet is investigating the potential for establishing a commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) network in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley and is a critical enabler of HESC moving to a commercial phase.

In May 2018, Sumitomo established the ‘Hydrogen Working Group’ to centralise their business opportunities and build their network within the hydrogen community. Sumitomo is actively seeking further opportunities to discuss and encourage the materialisation of a hydrogen-based society.

Sumitomo joins the HESC project during a period of great momentum for hydrogen in Australia. Project partners have presented at several forums to highlight the technologies involved in the HESC project as well as joining the broader discussion on developing Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy.

Together, the project partners will demonstrate the coal gasification process, inland transportation, liquefaction of hydrogen and overseas transportation to Japan via specialised marine carrier. Construction of these facilities commenced earlier this year and the project partners look forward to seeing the first shipment of hydrogen leave the Port of Hastings next year.

The hydrogen story

The hydrogen story

The hydrogen story

Why hydrogen?

A global, clean energy solution

Hydrogen is a clean, adaptable energy and a commodity of the future. The most plentiful element in the universe, it can generate heat and power for everyday commercial, transport and residential use.

Hydrogen is also an energy ‘carrier’, meaning it is very effective for storing the energy used to produce it. It has the exciting potential to enable an energy transition that will result in a substantial reduction of global carbon emissions.

Demand for hydrogen is growing

Global demand for hydrogen is growing at a remarkable rate.

According to the Hydrogen Council, hydrogen could supply up to a fifth of global energy needs and generate a market worth US$2.5 trillion by 2050.

Exciting potential

Only certain countries, like Australia, have the capacity to produce hydrogen at scale.

Australia’s large brown coal reserves, such as those in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, can be used to create a new and thriving hydrogen export industry.

Establishing a safe, cost effective global supply chain for hydrogen will present huge local economic benefits, the capacity to generate a significant number of jobs and a future clean energy source for domestic use in Australia. It is likely to reinvigorate Victoria’s energy industry by generating a competitive edge in a thriving new market.

A strategic project for Australia

With Australia’s economy centred on decades of successful energy development and export, Australia is now on track to claiming a large stake in the emerging hydrogen industry. To do this, Australia must find a cost-effective way to get hydrogen to customers – wherever they are in the world.

Now underway in the Latrobe Valley Victoria, the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain project is a world first trial to demonstrate hydrogen production from brown coal and safe and efficient transport of liquefied hydrogen to Japan.

This world first initiative will further strengthen Australia’s enduring trade and investment ties with Japan. It could lay the foundations for a new industry built around hydrogen exports, mobility and hydrogen power generation.

On the home front, the commercialisation phase of the project is likely to generate a significant number of Australian jobs.

Australia has an opportunity to be a significant player in this market given it has one of the world’s largest recoverable brown coal reserves in Victoria. Producing hydrogen from brown coal is currently the most cost effective way of doing so.

The energy sector is examining what the future of energy will look like and there is a growing interest in hydrogen. From a social perspective, exploring an end-to-end hydrogen supply chain in the Latrobe Valley has great potential to bring an entire new industry to this region. This will help local communities transition to a clean energy future.

Japan’s hydrogen future

Japan is committed to a clean energy future and is investing in the technology and global supply chain partnerships to become a ‘hydrogen society’ by 2050.

In 2015, Japan became the first country in the world to introduce stationary hydrogen fuel cells into households. Today more than 70,000 Japanese homes have a fuel cell installed. Hydrogen demand in transport is booming, with more than 2,000 fuel cell vehicles on the roads in 2017.

Key targets of the Japanese Government’s hydrogen energy roadmap, approved by the Japanese Cabinet in December 2017, include:

  • 2030 – Development of CO2-free international hydrogen supply chains, including HESC
  • 2030 – Large-scale hydrogen power generation will be operating, three million homes will have a hydrogen fuel cell and around 800,000 Fuel Cell Vehicles on Japanese roads
  • 2050 – Replace traditional residential energy systems and Fuel Cell Vehicles to be able to replace conventional gasoline mobility.

Capturing carbon

Capturing and storing carbon will be essential for hydrogen production to be scaled up to commercial levels. This will ensure carbon emissions are minimal and make hydrogen production virtually CO2 free.

The Australian and Victorian Governments’ CarbonNet Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Project presents a potential solution for CO2 mitigation in the commercial phase.

During the pilot phase, carbon emissions from the project will be very low – about the same as emissions from 20 cars. 

The International Energy Agency projects that Carbon Capture and Storage is vital for reducing emissions across the global energy system.

Supply chain

Supply chain

The HESC Project will adopt well-developed technology already used around the world, including in Australia. It will also bring new technologies to Australia that have been exhaustively tested and successfully demonstrated in other countries, including Japan.

The pilot phase will aim to demonstrate a fully integrated supply chain from source to destination. Construction of the pilot facilities, to be located in the Latrobe Valley and at the Port of Hastings, will commence in early 2019 and be operational for approximately one year from 2020 to 2021.


Hydrogen Production (Latrobe Valley)

A newly constructed hydrogen production plant located at the AGL Loy Yang Complex in the Latrobe Valley will produce hydrogen gas using technologies adapted specifically for Victorian brown coal.


Transport (Latrobe Valley to Port of Hastings)

Hydrogen gas will be transported to a liquefaction and loading terminal the Port of Hastings.

Conventional high pressure tube trailer trucks will be used in the pilot phase. A pipeline is envisaged for the commercial phase.


Liquefaction and loading (Port of Hastings to Japan)

The hydrogen will be liquefied to low temperatures, then shipped to Japan by an innovative, world first carrier specifically developed for the task.

Latrobe Valley

Hydrogen gas will be produced at a newly constructed plant located at the AGL Loy Yang Complex in the Latrobe Valley.

Port of Hastings

A newly constructed liquefaction, storage and loading facility will convert hydrogen gas (H2) to liquefied hydrogen (LH2) using existing commercial technology already in use overseas.

Community and sustainability

Community and sustainability

Hydrogen is the clean energy and commodity of the future to help address the need to diversify the world’s energy sources and reduce carbon emissions. HESC has potential to create a new thriving hydrogen export industry for Australia, with huge local economic benefits.



HESC will bring huge local economic benefits.

The global hydrogen market is expected to grow to approximately $2.5 trillion by 2050 (Hydrogen Council).


The commercial phase is predicted to create a significant number of Australian jobs and lay the foundations for a new industry in Australia.


Australia has the unique opportunity to learn from innovative technologies through the development of this new industry.
HESC Project Partners have established working relationships with credible research organisations to share insights, technology and innovation emerging from the pilot project.

The HESC Project, like any new commercial industry development, is projected to trigger the development of downstream opportunities for hydrogen in Australia, including in mobility, power generation, storage and broader technology sectors. A new domestic hydrogen market will act as a catalyst for further research and development activities, attracting further investment in Australia.


The global hydrogen market is growing. Hydrogen is not merely the energy of the future, it is a real opportunity, right now. Hydrogen belongs to a mix of technological solutions which have been identified as able to provide affordable, reliable, safe and secure and sustainable energy and mobility systems.

Hydrogen is tipped as one of the most promising and clean energy carriers for the 21st century. The global Hydrogen Council says hydrogen could supply up to a fifth of worldwide energy needs by 2050 (Hydrogen Council, Hydrogen Scaling Up, November 2017).


Hydrogen gives off no carbon emissions when used for electricity production in fuel cells or gas turbines. It can be produced with near-zero emissions from coal or gas, when coupled with carbon capture and storage (CCS), at a relatively low cost.

The HESC project will create a sustainable solution for the use of Australian coal deposits that does not contribute to carbon emissions. The project is considering carbon offsets to mitigate the CO2 produced by gasification and gas refining process. 

With its abundant natural resources and first class (export) infrastructure, Australia could be the first to create a commercially viable global supply chain for hydrogen, a commodity in growing demand globally.

Carbon capture and storage

CCS involves capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere from industrial sources and transporting it to a suitable geological storage site for safe, long-term storage deep underground.

CCS is a proven technology at commercial scale. There are now 22 commercial scale CCS facilities globally (17 operating, 5 under construction/commissioning).

CCS is an important part of global action on climate change to meet the goals set at Paris in 2015 as emphasised by the IEA (2017) and as acknowledged through Mission Innovation (2017) – a global group of 22 nations and the EU advancing clean energy technologies.

As such, CCS will be an integral part of the commercial scale hydrogen supply chain from Victoria to Japan to enable a low emissions future.


The CarbonNet Project, which is jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments, is investigating the potential for establishing a commercial-scale CCS network from the Latrobe Valley to offshore storage sites in the Gippsland Basin.

CarbonNet presents a potential CCS solution for the HESC commercial phase.

For more information on CCS, we recommend visiting the CarbonNet web page: www.earthresources.vic.gov.au/carbonnet

During the pilot phase, the hydrogen production process will create a small amount of CO2 – equivalent to annual emissions from about 20 cars.

While CCS will be a key aspect of a commercial-scale phase, CCS will not feature during the pilot project due to the small volumes of CO2 involved.