Supported by Shell, the world’s first LH2 service Suiso Frontier made its maiden voyage in December-January 2022 (supply: KHI)
02 Feb 2023by Jamey Bergman
An incorrectly fitted solenoid valve on liquified hydrogen (LH2) service Suiso Frontier prompted a quick flare from a gasoline combustion unit vent stack on the vessel’s maiden voyage, in line with an Australian Transport Security Bureau (ATSB) report
The Australian authorities security physique’s incident report on Suiso Frontier’s maiden voyage mentioned a employee on board the ship noticed a yellow gasoline flame “briefly propagate from the gasoline combustion unit’s (GCU) vent stack on the ship’s deck. There was no subsequent hearth or explosion, and no accidents or harm had been reported”.
The 116-m LH2-carrying vessel was docked at Australia’s Port of Hastings, Victoria when the incident occurred on 20 January 2022, in line with the report. The vessel had loaded further LH2 on board the day previous to the incident.
The ATSB report discovered the GCU’s air fan discharge damper actuators – which regulate the movement of air into the GCU – “had been fitted with direct present electrical solenoid valves, which had been incompatible with the 230-V alternating present provide from the GCU management system”.
As a result of venting cargo is restricted, a gasoline combustion unit gives a way of controlling tank stress and temperature when the boil-off gasoline poses security dangers past the tank’s design circumstances.
“Throughout roughly 400 hours of service previous to the prevalence, the solenoid valves had been subjected to circumstances for which they weren’t designed,” ATSB chief commissioner Angus Mitchell mentioned in his findings.
The liquified hydrogen cargo on board the vessel, which was constructed as a prototype to trial and assess transporting LH2 by sea, is very flammable. As US area company NASA mentioned in reviewing its early trials of the gasoline for its missions, “even small quantities of liquid hydrogen may be explosive when mixed with air, and solely a small quantity of vitality is required to ignite it. Each its explosiveness and the extraordinarily low temperatures concerned make dealing with it safely a problem”.
The report mentioned that along with the wrong solenoid valve being fitted, the ATSB discovered the gasoline combustion unit was not outfitted to detect the failure of the valve, nor the following closing of the damper.
“When one in every of these solenoid valves failed, the fan discharge damper it was working closed. Consequently, the temperature of the gasoline combustion unit elevated, ultimately ensuing within the discharge of flame from the unit’s vent stack. Automated security controls meant to detect a malfunction to forestall such an incident weren’t efficient,” Mr Mitchell mentioned.
In response to the incident, the producer of the gasoline combustion unit, Saacke, fitted restrict switches on every air fan discharge damper to observe damper place and programmed the system’s management logic to cease the unit if a fault is detected.
“The ATSB’s investigation highlights the significance of making certain automated shipboard working techniques are outfitted with security controls to forestall hazardous penalties within the occasion of a malfunction,” Mr Mitchell mentioned.
“The incident additionally reveals the significance of stringent producer qc to make sure appropriate system elements are specified and fitted to gear.”
Earlier this week, UK design and engineering consultancy Houlder carried out a gasoline and propulsion feasibility examine and idea structural design work on a 20,000-m3 liquid hydrogen service for oil main Shell’s Worldwide Buying and selling and Delivery Co.
Shell supported the event of Suiso Frontier by Kawasaki Heavy Industries via Japan’s CO2-free Hydrogen Power Provide-Chain Analysis Affiliation.