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Tuesday, September 1, 2020 

NYK Line, Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK), and ENEOS Corporation report that Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has approved the companiesí joint demonstration project for the commercialisation of high-power Fuel Cell (FC) vessels.

The project, which will begin in September, is Japan's first effort to develop a commercially available FC vessel and carry out a demonstration operation involving the supply of hydrogen fuel. By using FCs as a power source, it will be possible to completely eliminate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during navigation.

The project aims to develop a 100-passenger capacity vessel of about 150t, powered by the high-power FC, that will function as a medium-sized tourist ship, and in 2024 carry out a demonstration operation of the FC vessel together with a demonstration supply of hydrogen fuel. The vessel and hydrogen fuel supply feasibility study will begin in September, starting with the design of the vessel followed by the fuel supply equipment in 2021. Construction and production is expected to start in 2023, and pilot operation of the vessel along the coast of Yokohama port is scheduled to begin in 2024.

The project is in response to the IMO carbon reduction targets. The Japanese government's Strategy for Developing Hydrogen and Fuel-Cell Technologies includes FC systems in its view of transport beyond passenger cars as part of the action plan of industry, academia, and government for the realisation of a hydrogen society. From the development of small FC vessels (under 20gt) that has already been promoted in Japan, the spread and expansion of high-power FC to larger vessels is expected.

The Companies will target newly constructed domestic vessels in the entire vessel value chain (i.e., hydrogen equipment development, hull design and construction, operation, fuel supply), focusing on the following items:

  1. Implementation of high-power FC system on vessels and development of operation technology
  2. Development of onboard hydrogen fuel supply system/equipment; development of energy management system (EMS) combining FC and storage battery
  3. Development of hydrogen fuel supply system
  4. Application to vessels through new vessel design and development (i.e., newly design and develop the vessel’s hull so that it can optimally operate with FC as power)

The role of each company participating in the demonstration project will be:

  • NYK Line - Project management, ship design and legal compliance
  • Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions - Implementation of high-power FC system on vessels and development of operation technology
  • Kawasaki Heavy Industries - Development of onboard hydrogen fuel supply system and EMS
  • Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) - Safety assessment of FC vessel
  • ENEOS Corporation - Development of hydrogen fuel supply system.

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