As part of efforts to support Japan’s shipbuilders fast-track production of hydrogen-fueled vessels, Japanese engine manufacturers have teamed up to try to produce hydrogen marine engines for massive coastal and ocean-going ships by around 2025.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), Yanmar Power Technology, and Japan Engine have formed a consortium to build hydrogen-fueled engines for large commercial ships traveling domestic and international routes. The team also wants to achieve system integration, which would combine hydrogen storage and fueling facilities with a hydrogen fuel propulsion system.
The companies want to finish designing a product line that can satisfy a variety of needs for use as a main or auxiliary marine engine or a power generator. KHI intends to build a four-stroke engine with a medium speed. Yanmar will focus on medium- and high-speed four-stroke engines, while Japan Engine will finish low-speed two-stroke engines.
KHI and Yanmar are already working on developing small hydrogen-powered ferries for domestic routes. In 2024, KHI and other Japanese companies, including shipping company NYK Line, intend to test a hydrogen-powered fuel cell passenger ferry at Yokohama port. Yanmar is collaborating on the development of a small hydrogen-fueled ferry with Mitsui OSK Line’s subsidiary Mol Techno-Trade in Japan.
Japan is anticipating the official launch of the HydroBingo, the country’s first hydrogen-powered vessel. CMB, a Belgian shipping company, and Tsuneishi Facilities & Craft, a Japanese shipbuilder, are working on the 19-tonne hydrogen-fueled ferry.
As the international shipping industry aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels, demand for hydrogen as a marine fuel is expected to grow. In order to compete against their Chinese and South Korean rivals, a number of countries, including Japan, have tightened their greenhouse gas commitments to achieve decarbonisation by 2050. This has prompted Japanese shipbuilders to accelerate the transition to greener, zero-emissions vessels and tap decarbonisation potential.