Toyota Brings The Hydrogen Fuel Cell To The Marine Industry

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Toyota continues its lonely crusade to make the oft-promised hydrogen future happen, this time expanding from trucks, cars, and Popemobiles into more… “liquid” arenas. And by that, I mean: Toyota is developing a hydrogen fuel cell for marine applications.

It’s called the REXH2, and it’s a modular power system designed to be easily integrated into existing naval architecture. Much more than a concept, the REXH2 already seen more than 7000 nautical miles’ worth of real-world use plus a trans-Atlantic crossing aboard the Energy Observer. Toyota says this proves that “silent maritime and river mobility without emissions of CO2 or fine particles (is) possible.”

Toyota hydrogen fuel cell
Image courtesy Toyota Motor Europe

“Following the integration of our Fuel Cell module in the Energy Observer boat, we have further adjusted the module to fit in the EODev Hydrogen Range Extender,” explains Thiebault Paquet, Director of the Fuel Cell Business Unit at Toyota Motor Europe. “Together with the EODev team, we can demonstrate that zero emissions and zero noise technologies for different types of mobility and power applications are already possible today. Making the different applications available is a great opportunity to decarbonize energy usage already, today, and contribute to the development of the hydrogen society.”

The next application of the REXH2 system will be in HYNOVA 40 yacht, which can be used as a regular yacht (for poor people who can still afford yachts) or as 40′ long tender for a superyacht (for rich people). And, before y’all start accusing me of being overly cynical, the actual press release from Toyota reads, “the HYNOVA 40, a 12m boat from HYNOVA Yachts, which can be used as a day-boat or a superyacht tender.”

HYNOVA 40 on … some kind of big boat?

Take that, I guess?

Anyway, while the Energy Observer boat’s main propulsion comes from electricity directly generated from solar cells and on-board wind turbines, the HYNOVA 40 is a battery electric boat that will use the Toyota fuel cell tech as a “Hydrogen Range Extender.”

With a capacity of 12 passengers, the HYNOVA 40 will be the first pleasure boat equipped with fuel cell technology, bringing hydrogen to the wider maritime industry. And, yeah, Toyota is still betting the farm on hydrogen, it seems. That said, some apparently smart people have gone on record several times to say that hydrogen makes sense for long-haul applications where large-scale electric charging infrastructure is going to be hard to put in place.  And, looking at those big, blue oceans all over the map, I have to admit that they do seem a bit tricky to build Supercharger networks on, don’t they?

Take a look at the Toyota fuel cell in the pictures, above, then let us know what you think of hydrogen’s chances as a maritime power source in the comments section at the bottom of the page. And don’t worry about starting a flame war, either — there’s plenty of water out there to put out the fire.

Sources | ImagesToyota, via Elecdrive.

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