Project to Develop and Produce Large-Scale Maritime Fuel Cells by 2024

maritime hydrogen fuel cell production
Corvus opened an automated battery production plan n Bergen, Norway in 2019

Published Feb 1, 2021 3:16 PM by The Maritime Executive

A new project is launching in Norway to start the development and production of sustainable, large-scale maritime-certified hydrogen fuel cell systems. The project, which will be Norway’s first of its kind, expects to showcase its first marine fuel cell system on board a vessel in 2023 and to have its product marine certified and available for commercial delivery starting in 2024.

The goal of the project is to develop and produce modularized and cost-effective PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) fuel cell systems for the international marine market. The project will be led by Corvus Energy, a provider of batteries to the maritime sector, and will be based on a new agreement between Corvus and Toyota, which has 30 years’ experience in the development and production of fuel cells for the car market and other land-based applications.  

Corvus’ new dedicated fuel cell division will design and certify the marine fuel cell system using the Toyota fuel cell technology as a building block for larger systems. Furthermore, a specific marine control system uniting the battery and fuel cell operation will be developed for easy integration with power management systems from a range of system integrators. 

The project will involve a collaboration with Norwegian partners Equinor, shipowners Norled and Wilhelmsen, ship design company LMG Marin, which will bring key experience from ongoing hydrogen projects. Other partners, the NCE Maritime CleanTech cluster, and R&D institution, the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN), will contribute knowledge within hydrogen safety. The project has received approximately $6.3 million in funding from the state agency Innovation Norway.

“Fuel cell technology has reached a maturity level where scale-up of systems will be the next step,” said Corvus Energy CEO Geir Bjørkeli. “Toyota is at the forefront of the development and is by far the best partner for us to make this a success.”

According to Corvus, interest in hydrogen for maritime applications has been increasing rapidly, but reducing the cost of fuel cells and increasing access to the technology is crucial to accelerate the transition. The initiative represents an important step towards achieving both goals by producing modularized systems not available on a large scale today. 

“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. Our recently established Fuel Cell Business group in Brussels is looking forward to working with Corvus Energy and the consortium members to offer fuel cell solutions for marine applications. This project will play an important role in the development of the Hydrogen Society,” said Thiebault Paquet, Director of the Fuel Cell Business Group at Toyota Motor Europe.