Chart Industries is using its deep knowledge of hydrogen to support shipping’s transition to zero-carbon fuels
When it comes to using liquid hydrogen as a fuel, Chart Industries has experience in storage and handling that goes back over 50 years, helping bring this new fuel to the transportation markets in a safe and cost-effective way.
“We started working in the late sixties with liquid hydrogen, mostly related to the Apollo programmes and aerospace industry,” says Chart Industries marine director, hydrogen and LNG Fraser Bennie. Chart has delivered liquid hydrogen storage and transfer systems for about 800 projects.
A designer and manufacturer of cryogenic storage and distribution equipment, Chart wants to leverage its experience with liquid hydrogen in the marine sector, supporting shipping’s transition to future zero-carbon fuels.
When he joined Chart Industries in 2019 in the new position of marine director, hydrogen and LNG, Mr Bennie says he “rapidly got in touch with the liquid form of hydrogen.” Chart has its eyes set squarely on the future fuels market. “We have a long history in cryogenics, especially in liquid hydrogen and helium for aerospace and scientific applications,” says Mr Bennie. “We’ve transitioned from an equipment supplier to a full-service equipment solutions provider, through a combination of organic growth, targeted acquisitions and strategic alliances,” he adds.
Mr Bennie has more than 20 years’ experience in LNG shipping, including management positions at cryogenic equipment manufacturer Cryostar, natural gas processing and compression equipment manufacturer Exterran and cargo-transfer system provider Trelleborg Oil & Marine.
“Chart has its eyes set squarely on the future fuels market”
Describing his transition to his new role, Mr Bennie, says: “For me, it’s adapting from a relatively warm cryogenic liquid – LNG – to a super-cool cryogenic liquid, hydrogen.” While he notes that hydrogen is quite different from LNG, Mr Bennie says: “it’s also quite manageable and the future capex is going to be manageable as well.”
Chart has achieved several technical milestones over the years, including the development of the first viable helium liquefaction system in 1951, supplying the brazed aluminium heat exchanger (BAHX) for the first baseload liquefaction plant utilising the ConocoPhillips Optimised Cascade Process in 1998 and designing and delivering the LNG fuel supply system – including the multi-stage high-pressure pumps – for Francisco, the world’s first dual-fuel, high-speed catamaran in 2013.
“We have some 40 projects where we have worked in the marine world with Chart LNG equipment, including vaporisers, onboard storage, fuel gas supply systems and heat exchangers for FLNG,” says Mr Bennie.
Unlike boil-off gas from LNG cargo that can be used as fuel, you need higher insulation with hydrogen to keep it as cargo as long as possible, explains Mr Bennie. “Our vacuum-insulated technology is perfect for this, with double containment – two walls of stainless steel,” he says.
Mr Bennie says Chart is looking to bring its liquid hydrogen products and knowledge to the marine sector, providing onboard LH2 FGSS and also including training and active participation in risk assessment to make sure that ship operations start and remain safe. “The IGF code doesn’t really cover hydrogen yet,” he says. “We use the Alternative Design Clause and we look to conclusive risk assessment with experienced makers, and we’ve been doing that with hydrogen for 50 years in the US.”