AUSTRALIAN energy company Provaris has received design approval for its H2Neo compressed hydrogen carrier.

Classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) reviewed, verified and approved plans for the 26,000-cubic-metre vessel.

Provaris said it is the first vessel of its kind to receive this level of approval. It allows shipbuilders to provide quotes for the construction of a fleet of H2Neo carriers.

The company said it would now focus on selecting a shipyard. Provaris has engaged ship broker Clarksons to conclude a global shipyard identification and selection process in early 2023.

Provaris chief technical executive officer Per Roed said design and engineering works by the company’s team of discipline experts and consultants had supported the development of the H2Neo.

“Through our close collaboration with ABS throughout this three-year process, we are confident that our compressed hydrogen carriers can safely and effectively establish the maritime transportation of hydrogen,” he said.

He noted it would occur at a time when storage and transport are key to unlocking markets with ambitions for hydrogen imports at scale from 2026.

Patrick Ryan, ABS senior vice president – global engineering and technology, said safe and efficient storage and transportation of hydrogen at sea will be critical to the development and viability of the global hydrogen value chain.

“We have been working closely with Provaris, initially granting AIP in 2021 and subsequently reviewing their comprehensive FEED level package for the H2Neo,” he said.

“ABS is pleased to award Provaris approval of their design, and we look forward to continuing this relationship into continued testing and construction stages of H2Neo carriers, including a yard selection process, and to support Provaris during ship operations on the numerous, interesting projects on the H2 horizon.”

Provaris said ABS approval for the carrier allows the company to progress the development of a larter 120,000-cubic-metre H2Max carrier and hydrogen storage barges.

Provaris managing director and CEO Martin Carolan said the energy company had set itself ambitious targets for engineering and approvals required to develop the vessel.

“I am pleased to say our team has delivered on time and under budget a unique approach to marine hydrogen transport that is also a world first,” he said.

“Our marketing program over 2022 continues to raise the awareness of compressed H2 as a first mover and feasible alternative for regional hydrogen trades.

“We expect this approval milestone to assist with the validation requirements in our commercialisation pipeline, transition Provaris to construction award status in 2023, and de-risk the development and approvals pathway for our large-scale H2Max carrier and our design for hydrogen storage barges.”