Photo: Interior view of Corvus Energy factory in Bergen. Image Courtesy: Corvus Energy

Corvus Energy teams up with Toyota on production of hydrogen fuel cell systems

Energy storage company Corvus Energy is set to start the development and production of sustainable, large scale maritime-certified hydrogen fuel cell systems.

As informed, production will be located in Bergen, Norway with Japanese car manufacturer Toyota onboard as a key partner and supplier of mass-produced fuel cell technology.

Interior view of Corvus Energy factory in Bergen. Image Courtesy: Corvus Energy

Specifically, Corvus is spearheading a collaboration with Norwegian partners 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) to develop and produce modularised and cost-effective proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel-cell systems for the international marine market.

The project has received EUR 5.2 million (about $6.3 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, Corvus Energy said.

Corvus and Toyota ink MoU towards marine deployment of fuel cells

The initiative combines Norwegian maritime expertise together with fuel cell modules supplied by one of the world’s largest fuel-cell producers Toyota.

In December 2020, Corvus Energy and Toyota signed a partnership agreement securing 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, strengthening the country’s position in the global efforts towards decarbonizing shipping.

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 50% by 2050. Reducing the cost of fuel cells and increasing access to the technology is crucial to accelerate the transition. The initiative is said to represent an important step towards achieving both goals by producing modularised systems not available on a large scale today.

“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,” Geir Bjørkeli, Corvus Energy CEO, commented.

“Decarbonisation 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, pointed out.

“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.”

Collaboration on green shipping initiatives

As explained, 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.

Backed by strong owners in the form of Norsk Hydro, Equinor, Shell and BW Group, Corvus plans to scale up production. The development partners USN and NCE Maritime CleanTech will contribute knowledge within hydrogen safety, while Equinor, Norled, Wilhelmsen and LMG Marin will bring key experience from ongoing hydrogen projects.

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