New FPSO will be first able to produce hydrogen for fuel

Written by Nick Blenkey
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NOVEMBER 13, 2014 — ClassNK has granted Approval in Principle (AIP) to a new a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facility design for the production and offloading of hydrogen (H2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) made from associated petroleum gas (APG).

Developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Chiyoda Corporation, the H2/CO2 FPSO will be the world’s first FPSO capable of producing hydrogen energy.

There is growing interest in the use of hydrogen as a fuel, with research taking place around the world. However, the storage and transport of hydrogen continues to present a number of difficult technical challenges for industrial and commercial use.

The H2/CO2 FPSO uses a new organic chemical hydride method to convert hydrogen into highly stable methylcyclohexane (MCH), which can be stored in liquid form at an ambient temperature and pressure. As MCH can be transported in standard chemical tankers, converting hydrogen into MCH not only reduces the risks and challenges related to hydrogen storage, but also optimizes it for transport using existing transportation networks.

MCH produced by the H2/CO2 FPSO could be transported by chemical tankers to hydrogen demand sites and converted back to hydrogen using a dehydrogenation reactor developed by Chiyoda.

The carbon dioxide extracted by the unit would be stored onboard and be used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), a commonly used process that uses gas injections to displace and subsequently extract residual oil from subsea reservoirs.

The facility’s topside plant and floating body were developed by Chiyoda and MHI respectively with support from ClassNK’s Joint R&D for Industry Program. The new design is understood to be world’s first H2/CO2 FPSO design, as well as the first such facility to receive Approval in Principle.

Approval in Principle (AIP) is an essential step in the process of developing conceptual designs for practical application in the maritime and offshore industries. As part of the process, ClassNK conducted an extensive review of the concept design, including both risk assessment and a thorough review of structural and topside plans for the H2/CO2-FPSO to ensure the design complies with both ClassNK’s independently developed rules and relevant international regulations and standards.

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