Kawasaki Completes Basic Design for World's Largest Class (11,200-cubic-meter) Spherical Liquefied Hydrogen Storage Tank

Dec. 24, 2020

Tokyo, December. 24, 2020 — Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced today its completion of the basic design for an 11,200 m3 (10,000 m3 storage capacity) spherical liquefied hydrogen storage tank, which will be one of the world's largest of its kind. It will be used to reliably store, for long periods of time, a large amount of cryogenic liquefied hydrogen reduced to a temperature of –253°C (–423.4°F) and one eight-hundredth its initial volume. In response to the increasingly widespread use of hydrogen, Kawasaki will make efforts to propose this storage tank to industrial gas companies, energy providers and other such organizations.

Planned appearance of the completed 11,200 m3
liquefied hydrogen storage tank
              Tank cross-section image  

Hydrogen is a clean energy source that emits no greenhouse gases during use in power generation, fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and other such applications. Annual usage of this energy source is expected to increase to approximately 300,000 tons by around 2030,*1 which means that developing related storage facility technologies and making infrastructure changes will be important moving forward.

Kawasaki's newly designed storage tank features a double-shell vacuum-insulation structure, comprising inner and outer shells with a vacuum-sealed layer in between to prevent thermal conduction from the outside air and convective heat transfer. Additionally, the tank adopts a spherical design—the best shape for reducing heat input—in order to achieve high-level thermal insulation and minimize gas evaporation (BOR*2) to the greatest extent possible. Because liquefied hydrogen is more than 10 times more susceptible to the effects of heat than liquefied natural gas (LNG), it is vital that storage tanks for the former adopt high-precision designs incorporating sophisticated manufacturing technologies to ensure excellent thermal insulation performance. In the 1980s, Kawasaki constructed 600 m3 (540 m3 storage capacity) liquefied hydrogen storage tanks for use at the Tanegashima Space Center operated by NASDA (now part of JAXA)*3 and carried out related maintenance and operations for more than 30 years. Furthermore, the company designed and constructed a 2,500 m3 (2,250 m3 storage capacity) liquefied hydrogen storage tank on Kobe Airport Island in 2020,*4 which helped strengthen the company's design and manufacturing technology foundations. For this latest project, Kawasaki utilized a wide array of liquefied-hydrogen-related technologies and knowledge accumulated over the years to complete the basic design for one of the world's largest storage tanks of its kind and expand its lineup of spherical liquefied hydrogen storage tanks.

In order to realize a hydrogen society, Kawasaki will continue creating even larger-sized tanks and expanding its offerings of liquefied hydrogen storage tanks. Moreover, the company will promote the spread of hydrogen energy usage and CO2-free operations in consideration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), working as one for the good of the planet.

Photograph of the 2,500 m3 (2,250 m3 storage capacity) liquefied hydrogen storage tank built on Kobe Airport Island

11,200 m3 Spherical Liquefied Hydrogen Storage Tank Specifications
 Tank typeDouble-shell spherical storage tank 
 Insulation method        Vacuum-sealed double-shell thermal insulation structure 
 BOR0.1 wt%/day or less 
 Storage tank dimensions    Approx. 30 m outer tank diameter
 Liquefied hydrogen
 storage capacity
 10,000 m3 (approx. 710 t)
 Liquefied hydrogen
 discharge method 
Self-pressurized discharge (no liquid pump required)
*1 Source: 2017 "Basic Hydrogen Strategy" from the Ministerial Council on Renewable Energy, Hydrogen and Related Issues
*2 Boil-off rate. The rate of gas volume that evaporates due to natural heat input.
*3 NASDA: National Space Development Agency of Japan. JAXA: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
*4 Completed with financial support from the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

Related Links
Kawasaki Hydrogen Road

Corporate brand video: Kawasaki: "Changing forward" (Hydrogen Based Society ver.)