Japanese manufacturers cooperate on development of hydrogen solutions

Three of Japan’s leading marine engineering giants have this week announced the formation of a consortium to pursue joint development of hydrogen fuelled marine engines. The collaboration between Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Yanmar Power Technology Co, and Japan Engine Corporation will focus on ocean-going and coastal vessels to establish a world-leading position in hydrogen engine technologies.

With the growing need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, marine engines are expected to transition to various alternative fuels in the coming years. Among the many alternatives, hydrogen is attracting global interest for its application in a wide range of energy and mobility industrial sectors as a fuel that offers zero-emissions. The companies are looking to develop technologies in the hydrogen value chain towards global expansion of this important alternative fuel. By cooperating on common fundamental technologies such as basic experiments and analysis on hydrogen combustion, materials, and sealing techniques, as well as classification society requirements, each company aims to bring hydrogen fuelled engines to the market by 2025.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries will develop medium-speed 4-stroke engines, Yanmar Power Technology will focus on medium- and high-speed 4-stroke engines, and Japan Engine Corporation will embark on the development of low-speed 2-stroke engines. All three simultaneous developments will enhance the product lineup of propulsion and auxiliary (generator) engines for a wide range of vessels. In addition, a hydrogen fuel storage and supply system will be developed as part of the integrated hydrogen fuel system.

By developing advanced hydrogen marine engine technologies based on the distinctive engines and quickly launching in the market, the consortium will contribute to the Japanese shipbuilding industry. Furthermore, the companies aim to revitalise the Japanese maritime industry and realise a sustainable society by promoting the uptake of hydrogen fuelled engine technology for marine vessels.

An important collaboration towards a greener future for sure, something we can expect to see more of moving forwards, with questions of future energy becoming more and more relevant in the powerboat space.

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