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Modelling of Boil‐Off and Sloshing Relevant to Future Liquid Hydrogen Carriers


This study presents an approach for estimating fuel boil‐off behaviour in cryogenic energy carrier ships, such as future liquid hydrogen (LH2) carriers. By relying on thermodynamic model‐ ling and empirical formulas for ship motion and propulsion, the approach can be used to investigate boil‐off as a function of tank properties, weather conditions, and operating velocities during a laden voyage. The model is first calibrated against data from a liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier and is consequently used to investigate various design configurations of an LH2 ship. Results indicate that an LH2 ship with the same tank volume and glass wool insulation thickness as a conventional LNG carrier stores 40% of the fuel energy and is characterised by a boil‐off rate nine times higher and twice as sensitive to sloshing. Adding a reliquefaction unit can reduce the LH2 fuel depletion rate by at least 38.7% but can increase its variability regarding velocity and weather conditions. In calm weather, LH2 boil‐off rates can only meet LNG carrier standards by utilising at least 6.6 times the insulation thickness. By adopting fuel cell propulsion in an LH2 ship, a 1.1% increase in fuel delivery is expected. An LH2 ship with fuel cells and reliquefaction is required to be at least 1.7 times larger than an existing LNG carrierto deliverthe same energy. Further comparison of alternative scenarios indicates that LH2 carriers necessitate significant redesigns if LNG carrier standards are desired. The present approach can assist future feasibility studies featuring other vessels and propulsion technologies, and can be seen as an extendable framework that can predict boil‐off in real‐time.

Funding source: Jessie Smith was funded by an EPSRC Doctoral Training Grant
Related subjects: Safety

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