Corvus Energy, consortium advances maritime fuel cell systems project with Toyota
Japan-headquartered Toyota is set to supply its hydrogen fuel cell technology to global energy storage company Corvus Energy and its consortium to start developing fuel cell systems for the maritime industry as decarbonization objectives in shipping gather pace.
“Decarbonization is inevitable and at Toyota, we are convinced that hydrogen will play a central role in creating a better future, both environmentally and economically,” Thiebault Paquet, director of the Fuel Cell Business Group at Toyota Motor Europe said in a statement published by Corvus Energy on Feb. 1.
Production will be located in Bergen, Norway, and Toyota’s recently established Fuel Cell Business group in Brussels will work with Corvus Energy and its consortium members to offer fuel cell solutions for marine applications, Corvus Energy said.
Its partners include Equinor, shipowners Norled and Wilhelmsen, ship design company LMG Marin, the NCE Maritime CleanTech cluster and R&D institution the University of South-Eastern Norway, or USN, it said.
The project, which aims to develop and produce modularized and cost-effective proton exchange membrane fuel cell systems for the international marine market, has already received Eur5.2 million ($6.28 million) in funding from state agency Innovation Norway.
The development is scheduled to showcase its first marine fuel cell system onboard a vessel in 2023 and the product will be marine certified and available for commercial delivery from 2024, it added.
Hydrogen for GHG emission cuts
Interest in hydrogen for maritime applications has been ramping up rapidly, with hydrogen power seen as an important step to reach shipping’s ambitious goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Reducing the cost of the new technology, demonstrating scalability as well as increased access are vital to accelerate this transition, industry sources said separately.
The International Maritime Organization in April 2018 laid out its strategy on greenhouse gas emissions, aiming to cut the shipping industry’s total GHG emissions by at least 50% from 2008 levels by 2050, and to reduce CO2 emissions per transport work by at least 40% by 2030.
In November 2020, IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee agreed to a draft of new mandatory measures designed to reduce GHG emissions from shipping. The draft amendments to the MARPOL convention would require ships to combine a technical and an operational approach to reduce their carbon intensity.
Meanwhile, a new report released in January on hydrogen decarbonization pathways by the Hydrogen Council showed that low-carbon hydrogen supply at scale is economically and environmentally feasible and will have significant societal benefits if the right localized approach and best-practices for production are used in various sectors.
Across eight illustrative pathways explored in the report, analysis showed that if hydrogen is used, significant GHG emission reductions can be made: as much as 60%-90% or more, compared to conventional fossil alternatives.
“While developing a low-carbon hydrogen production infrastructure is ambitious, it is already set in motion and a prerequisite for growing hydrogen’s role in the clean energy system,” Benoît Potier, chairman and CEO of Air Liquide and co-chair of the Hydrogen Council, said in a statement on Jan. 21.