Developing Large-Scale Hydrogen Fuel Cells Suited to Shipping

effort to develop large fuel cells designed for shipping and large scale transportation
Raicho N operated with a small 3.5kW pure hydrogen fuel cell system - courtesy Toshiba ESS

Published Oct 13, 2020 7:08 PM by The Maritime Executive

While numerous projects are underway to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology, pure hydrogen fuel cell systems developed for large modes of transport such as vessels, railroad vehicles, and construction machinery will require unique engineering and capabilities to withstand the requirements of the applications.

While small applications for cars and buses are being developed and commercialized, the larger applications will not only require greater power generation but will also require greater durability. They will also require better response, consideration for environmental effects such as vibration, and safety according to safety codes and standards of these applications.

Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation announced that it has signed an agreement with New Energy and the Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) for a multi-utility pure hydrogen fuel cell module for large modes of transport. As a part of technology R&D programs for widespread implementation of fuel cells, this project will develop a compact, lightweight, and high-power 200kW class standard module of a pure hydrogen fuel cell. It will be designed for use by vessels, railroad vehicles, construction machinery, and other large modes of transport. The goal is to complete the project by 2024.

Concept design for large scale fuel cells suite to marine and other large transportation - courtesy Toshiba ESS

“We are dedicated to developing pure hydrogen fuel cell systems for modes of transport, expanding hydrogen usage, and facilitating hydrogen energy implementation said,” Yoshihisa Sanagi, General Manager of the Hydrogen Energy Business Div. at Toshiba ESS

Toshiba ESS will employ technologies from its stationary pure hydrogen fuel cell power generation systems to develop a high-power pure hydrogen fuel cell module for large modes of transport which offers greater durability and is more compact.

Toshiba ESS has already been developing pure hydrogen fuel cell systems for large modes of transport, including a 30kW mobile pure hydrogen fuel cell system developed and supplied for field verification testing in 2019. Demonstration tests of a fuel cell ship, the Raicho N, operating with a small 3.5kW pure hydrogen fuel cell system began in October 2016 and in 2019 they installed with a larger 30kW pure hydrogen fuel cell system for the validation experiment of pure hydrogen fuel cell systems at sea,

In September 2020, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has approved a partnership of companies, including NYK Line, Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK), and ENEOS Corporation, participation in a demonstration project for the commercialization of high-power fuel cell vessels. This project is working to develop an approximately 150-ton high-power fuel cell vessel that will function as a medium-sized tourist ship. The goal is to begin the construction of the vessel in 2023. The pilot operation of the vessel along the coast of Yokohama port is scheduled to begin in 2024.