SOLUTION 01 / Environmental Load Reducing

Hydrogen Fuel Cell System
Towards a Carbon Neutral Society

Recent years have seen increasing efforts, all over the world, to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions towards the realization of a carbon neutral society. Hydrogen is attracting global attention as a clean energy source that can replace fossil fuels. Yanmar has developed a fuel cell technology that uses hydrogen to produce electricity towards the realization of a carbon neutral society.


Air pollutants and GHG emissions from ships.

In the maritime sector, the International Maritime Organization adopted a GHG reduction strategy in 2018, aiming to achieve zero emissions from international marine transportation as early as possible this century, as well as to improve emissions per unit of transport by at least 40% by 2030 and reduce total GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050, both compared to 2008 levels. Recently, there have been discussions about moving up the schedule. At the same time, there are movements towards reducing NOX emissions in urban areas, environmentally protected areas, and large ports especially in Europe and the U.S. Unlike internal combustion engines, hydrogen fuel cells emit only water and do not emit any greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) or air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOX)… On the other hand, it is necessary to develop new technology to comply with the operating environment and safety regulations of ships. In addition, to commercialize the technology, it is necessary to consider hydrogen refueling methods.

Benefits of "Hydrogen" as a Next-generation Energy

  • Abundant on earth.
  • It can be produced from water and electricity generated by renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, or geothermal.
  • There are no CO2 emissions at the time of usage.


From National Safety Guidelines to demonstration tests: challenges that transcend the boundaries of the Yanmar Group and companies

Over the three years from 2015, Yanmar was commissioned by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to formulate the outline of the "Safety Guidelines for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Ships" in collaboration with the National Maritime Research Institute and others. After that, Yanmar developed a maritime hydrogen fuel cell system and conducted verification tests with a test boat by utilizing components of Toyota Motor Corporation's fuel cell vehicle "MIRAI". Engineers in hull design, electrical design, and control design from various departments within the Yanmar Group participated in the development of this test boat. Fuel cells and high-pressure hydrogen tanks were installed according to the requirements of the safety guidelines, fuel cells and a high-pressure hydrogen tanks were installed. At the same time, a power management system that coordinates and controls the operation of the fuel cells, lithium-ion batteries, and motors was also developed.

Demonstration test boat under construction.
The team gathered knowhow and carried out trial and error development to realize both safety and compactness.


Experience gained and relationships forged through on-site work on real products open the door to the deployment of maritime hydrogen fuel cell systems

With the test boat, engineers were able to verify the operation of the hydrogen fuel cell system and the control of the electric power train during actual sea trials. The team also collected data under various navigation and sea conditions, and studied improvement ideas. In collaboration with Toyota Tsusho and Iwatani Corp., Yanmar is also verifying shore-to-ship high-pressure hydrogen refueling technology and implemented the world's first 70MPa high-pressure hydrogen refueling using a mobile hydrogen station. The results and experience obtained from these on-site activities involving real products will contribute to future commercialization of the hydrogen fuel cell system and development of marine hydrogen infrastructure. It is expected that the in-house and inter-company connections created through these efforts will lead to new activities in the future.

70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen refueling demonstration test.

FUTUREFuture applications of hydrogen fuel cells toward the realization of a carbon neutral society

Image of 300kW class marine hydrogen fuel cell system (CG)

Yanmar is developing a 300kW class marine hydrogen fuel cell system that can be mounted on various types of ship and is aiming to bring it to market in 2023. In addition to fuel cells, Yanmar is also working to provide our customers with electric powertrains that are combined with lithium-ion batteries and motors. Development of hydrogen fuel cells for land-based generators, etc., in addition to those for ships are also under consideration. Going forward, Yanmar will continue to accelerate efforts to provide customers with various solutions related to hydrogen and electric powertrains and lead the transition to a carbon neutral society.

* Affiliation information as of October 2021

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Yanmar Develops Maritime Hydrogen Fuel Cell System Towards a Carbon Neutral Society