Industry leaders talk up marine hydrogen prospects

Speaking at the Gastech Virtual Summit today (8 September), the panellists were asked to consider hydrogen in the context of an industry refocus. Asked to comment on the importance of hydrogen in the context of climate aspirations, De La Rey Venter, Executive Vice President, Integrated Gas Ventures, Shell, said, ‘bluntly put, it is mission critical.’

Venter said the fuel ‘uniquely can provide a way’ to fully decarbonise shipping among other segments where ‘today, we do not have any other credible full decarbonisation solution.’

Venter said: ‘That means that hydrogen must come of age… and it must be deployed to its full potential for a net-zero energy system by or before 2050 to become a reality.’

Venter then highlighted some of the projects the company is currently involved in as it bids to develop the supply chain.

Venter said: ‘We’re part of a partnership that is trialling the world’s first liquid hydrogen ship carrier to help open up large-scale shipping, in this case, between Australia and Japan. We’re involved in another consortium that’s working on net-zero emission ships and the liquid hydrogen or ammonia supply chain behind that.’

Next to comment was Niek den Hollander, Executive Board Member, Uniper SE, who said that hydrogen was ‘on top of our agenda’.

He said: ‘Our clear expectation is definitely that hydrogen will be an integral part of the customers’ future demand, and consequently, of our own portfolio.’

Den Hollander highlighted ammonia as a hydrogen-based fuel which he described as ‘an interesting or a relevant, I should say, commodity, because it can be a solution to overcome the transportation problem.’

Keisuke Sadamori, Director, Energy Markets and Security, International Energy Agency, provided an intergovernmental organisation perspective but was equally enthusiastic about the importance of hydrogen as a transportation fuel.

Sadamori said: ‘Hydrogen use needs to be greatly expanded in both existing sectors like the refining and chemicals, but also the new sectors like building, transport, and power generation.
‘They will take time to develop, and there’s a lot of opportunity now for hydrogen probably more than ever before, so we must start now.’

Sadamori noted that much of the refining and the chemical production that use hydrogen is ‘concentrated in coastal industrial zones’, so encouraging these plants to shift to clean hydrogen production ‘will drive down overall costs’.

Sadamori said: ‘These large sources of hydrogen supply can also fuel ships, trucks serving the ports, and power other nearby industrial facilities like the steel plants.’

Rhys Berry

Rhys Berry