Hydrogen Field Demonstration in Osaka


Toyota Mirai fuel cell technology hits the water as powertrain for a Yanmar boat.

The 2025 Melbourne to Osaka yacht race might be the most fuel efficient way of travelling the 5,500 nm between the two cities but sailing may be just the precursor to an age of emissions free, motorised, transport on the high seas.

Recent, highly successful, sea trials of a hydrogen fuel cell powered boat developed by Yanmar Holdings and using technology contributed by Toyota, could open the door to a whole new approach to travelling on the water. The tests were conducted at the Osaka North Harbour Marina, the home of the Osaka Hokko Yacht Club – Japanese host Club for the M2O race, in late March.

Interestingly one of the competitor yachts in the 2018 M2O race carried a small hydrogen powered fuel cell system to provide onboard electricity during the race.

Fuel tanks for the latest test vessel were unloaded at the Osaka North Harbour Marina and the sea trials conducted in the adjacent waters, the same area where the M2O entrants will complete their long voyage in mid 2025. Given the global shipping industry is widely acknowledged as a major contributor to atmospheric emissions contributing to climate change it makes sense that at least some oceangoing vessels are being developed that won’t produce carbon dioxide.

The Yanmar Test Boat

Toyota Motor Corp and Yanmar Holdings have combined to develop a boat powered by a hydrogen fuel-cell system using parts from the power-train of the Toyota’s Mirai car. For now, the Hydrogen powered boat is just a concept, but Yanmar says these kinds of vessels would work well for moving tourists around urban areas.

Yanmar announced its new boat as part of a memorandum of understanding the company has signed with Toyota. Its mission is to “develop a hydrogen fuel-cell system for maritime applications.” Toyota’s contribution includes the high-pressure hydrogen tanks used in the Mirai.

Yanmar wants to create a H2 powertrain that is easy to install and has “superior cruising range” and hopes to expand the hydrogen technology “for a variety of applications and deployments.” This is not Yanmar’s first foray into hydrogen-powered boats. In 2018, the company partnered with Toyota Tsusho, another member of the Toyota Group, and Ballard Power Systems to field test a 16.5-meter, H2-powered boat called Shimpo.

That boat used a 60-kW hydrogen fuel-cell system and a 60.0-kWh lithium-ion battery system developed by the Uzushio Electric Company. The project was part of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s 2015 project to create a hydrogen-based society. Back in 2018 Yanmar said a potential market for its first hydrogen vessels could be tour boats operating in urban waterways.

This year it has raised its sights, suggesting its lower-greenhouse-gas boats are in line with the International Maritime Organization’s strategy to bring boat greenhouse-gas emissions to zero by the end of the century.

Earlier this year, Toyota said that a maritime version of the Mirai’s powertrain would be used in the Energy Observer, a 31-meter renewable-energy oceangoing vessel that can make its own hydrogen onboard using seawater. Adapting the fuel cell system to work on the water took only seven months at the Toyota Technical Center Europe and required a system redesign to reduce the size of the system.

Toyota originally opened its Marine Business Planning Office to work on pleasure craft in 1990. Late in March this year Yanmar Power Technology Co., Ltd conducted a field demonstration test for the maritime fuel cell system in its newly developed boat at Oita, Japan. The International Maritime Organization has announced a strategy to reduce industry emsisions and supports tighter environmental regulations.

In December last year, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry formulated its “Green Growth Strategy towards 2050 Carbon Neutrality”. The strategy highlights the development of energy and power sources that reduce the impact on the environment, including those for vessels powered by carbon free fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia.

Osaka Hokko Yacht Club Marina

Yanmar was among the first companies to comply with environmental regulations with its development of dual-fuel marine engines and with an eye on the tighter regulations in the future has developed a maritime fuel cell system that incorporates hydrogen fuel cell modules from Toyota’s MIRAI automobile. The system was installed into Yanmar’s EX38A FC pleasure boat for field testing.

The boat is the first to officially comply with the safety guidelines for hydrogen fuel cell vessels formulated by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Japan.

Yanmar aims to verify specific issues and solutions in a maritime environment for deployment of the maritime fuel cell system. Looking to the future, Yanmar has plans to scale the maritime fuel cell system by connecting multiple units. The system is planned to be deployed to larger vessels by 2025.

M2O entrants are always looking at technology to help in the world’s longest longitudinal race. The technology theme for the M2O 2025 – ‘Hydrogen – the long distance fuel of the future’ has been adopted for the race.

Demonstration test boat specifications

Model :EX38A(FC prototype)

Weight :7.9 t Length/Beam :12.4 m / 3.4 m

Power :250 kW

Fuel Cell Type :Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell x 2 modules

Hydrogen tank :70M Pa x 8 tanks

Inspection body :Japan Craft Inspection Organization

George Shaw checking out the Toyota FCEV

Compiled by Ian Howarth

Photographs courtesy of Tadahiko Tohata

















今年初め、トヨタはMIRAIのパワートレインの海上バージョンが、海水を使って船上で水素を自給できる31メートルの再生可能エネルギー外航船「Energy Observer」に搭載されると発表しました。トヨタテクニカルセンターヨーロッパでは、燃料電池システムを水上で使用できるようにするために、わずか7カ月でシステムの再設計を行い、システムの小型化を実現しました。






 このシステムをヤンマーのプレジャーボート「EX38A FC」に搭載し、実証実験を行いました。





M2O 2025の技術テーマである「水素未来の長距離燃料」がレースに採用されています。


型式 EX38AFCプロトタイプ

重量 7.9 t 全長/ビーム長 12.4 m/3.4 m

出力 250kW

燃料電池タイプ :高分子電解質燃料電池×2モジュール

水素タンク 70M Pa×8

検査機関 :日本船舶検査機構

Translation by Hiroshi Horiuchi