Shell and Alfa Laval to develop GCU for liquid hydrogen carriers


Sweden – Shell and Swedish Alfa Laval have a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of a new gas combustion unit (GCU) for use on liquid hydrogen carriers.

Alfa Laval will develop a system to safely burn hydrogen boil-off gas (BOG) from a vessel’s storage tank as part of a new liquid hydrogen carrier.

Alfa Laval will design and engineer the new hydrogen GCU with the goal of receiving a preliminary approval from an IACS classification society (AIP). Once the AIP has been reached, a GCU prototype will be built for testing and type approval. The new Alfa Laval GCU system for hydrogen will be based on the current Alfa Laval GCU for liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Preferred fuel

Hydrogen is a preferred fuel for internal combustion engines due to its clean burning and lack of greenhouse gas emissions. However, a vessel must be compressed (to a pressure of 700 bar) or liquified (to a temperature of -253 °C) in order to securely store hydrogen at such low temperatures while retaining the structural integrity of the tanks and the entire vessel. This necessitates a great deal of engineering creativity.

When the BOG raises safety concerns that go beyond the tank’s design restrictions due to the cargo’s restricted ability to vent, a GCU offers a solution to lower tank pressure and temperature.