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Technology to ship hydrogen ready by 2025, Hyundai Heavy unit says

A motorcyclist drives at a Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan, approximately 410 km (255 miles) southeast of Seoul June 28, 2013. REUTERS / Lee Jae-Won / File Photo

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LONDON / SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Reuters) – Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) expects to have the technology to ship hydrogen by 2025, said a manager who said a breakthrough in providing one of supporters than one An important source of touted fuel sought of clean energy.

The development of KSOE (009540.KS), the shipbuilding arm of the Hyundai Heavy Industries Group (267250.KS), one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, is growing amid growing global interest in the adoption of hydrogen as a cleaner fuel alternative. Ship manufacturers around the world are looking for ways to move the gas that is currently being delivered via pipelines and trucks.

A major challenge is to keep the hydrogen cooled to minus 253 degrees Celsius – only 20 degrees above absolute zero, the coldest possible temperature – so that it stays in liquid form while avoiding the risk of parts of a vessel breaking.

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“We have already developed a concept ship with a capacity of 20,000 cubic meters,” said Yoo Byeong-yong, vice president of the Energy System Research Institute of Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE).

Although small at 20,000 cubic meters compared to the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) super tankers that can carry up to 266,000 cubic meters, hydrogen tankers will grow in size as technology develops.

Around 20 ships with a capacity of 20,000 cubic meters are expected to be built in the decade from 2030, and if demand grows this could increase to 200 larger ships of 170,000 cubic meters by 2040, according to industry estimates in South Korea, one of the world’s shipbuilding powerhouses.

“We assume that the global hydrogen market will grow rapidly after 2030 and that the demand for ships will increase accordingly,” said Yoo in a video interview from Las Vegas during the CES technology fair. KSOE expects hydrogen tankers to be commercialized between 2025 and 2027.

KSOE’s Yoo said ships carrying hydrogen would run on LNG in the early stages, but the ships could run on hydrogen themselves once the hydrogen market matures.

Shipping, which transports around 90% of world trade and is responsible for almost 3% of global CO2 emissions, is increasingly being pressured by environmentalists to take more concrete measures.

Industry regulators say the first net-zero ships need to be added to the global fleet by 2030, and ships running on green hydrogen could help meet the target.

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Reporting by Jonathan Saul in London and Heekyong Yang in Seoul; Adaptation by Kenneth Maxwell

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