Energy storage specialist Corvus Energy is set to start development and production of sustainable, large scale maritime-certified hydrogen fuel cell systems. Production will be located in Bergen, Norway, with Toyota as a key partner and supplier of mass-produced fuel cell technology.

Goal of the cooperation is to develop and produce modularised and cost-effective PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) fuel-cell systems for the international marine market. Other Norwegian partners in the project are
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 (USN).

The project has received EUR 5.2 million in funding from state agency Innovation Norway. The development is scheduled to showcase its first marine fuel cell system on board a vessel in 2023 and the product will be marine certified and available for commercial delivery from 2024.

The initiative combines Norwegian maritime expertise together with fuel cell modules supplied by one of the world’s largest fuel-cell producers Toyota. The latter has thirty years of experience in the development and production of fuel cells for the car market and other land-based applications. The agreement secures Corvus access to proven fuel cell technology while enabling large-scale production and competitive pricing. The production will be Norway’s first of its kind.

Accelerate the energy transition

Interest in hydrogen for maritime applications has been increasing rapidly, with hydrogen power seen as an important step to reach shipping’s ambitious goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by fifty per cent by 2050. 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 modularised systems not available on a large scale today.

Scale-up of fuel cell systems

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.

Also read: What are the benefits and limitations of marine battery propulsion?

‘Adding fuel cell modules to our product portfolio is a natural step for Corvus and advances our vision to be the leading supplier of zero-emission marine solutions,’ says Corvus Energy CEO Geir Bjørkeli. ‘Fuel cell technology has reached a maturity level where scale-up of systems will be the next step. Toyota is in the forefront of the development and is by far the best partner for us to make this a success.’