Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. reported that it is about to develop a practical technology to convert natural gas into a solid for low-cost maritime transportation.
The planned natural gas hydrate (NGH) technology is expected to become practical in fiscal 2008, Mitsui Engineering said in a joint report with such concerns as Osaka University and the National Maritime Research Institute to an international study forum in Tokyo.
Mitsui Engineering is also developing a special transport ship in time for the practical application of the NGH technology.
NGH is an ice-like solid formed from a mixture of water and natural gas and is easy to handle due to low combustibility.
Compared with LNG, the sea transport of NGH requires 20% less in initial investment and reduces the cost of building a transport ship by half to two-thirds, Mitsui Engineering reported.