Entitled ‘Optimised Hydrogen Powered Maritime Mobility’ (‘OptHyMob’), the project aims to improve operations of hydrogen-driven marine vessels in order to reduce costs and extend the lifetime of hydrogen fuel cells and batteries in hybrid configurations.

It builds on the ongoing H2NOR project, funded in part by Innovation Norway, where Corvus Energy and partners will develop, demonstrate and certify the inherently gas-safe modularised maritime PEM-based FC system based on technology from Toyota.

Svenn Kjetil Haveland, Vice President of Development Projects at Corvus Energy, said, “The lifetime of current fuel cell installations and high cost of hydrogen are barriers for upscaling the hydrogen-driven vessel. By solving this we can accelerate decarbonisation of shipping.”

He added that knowledge gained, as well as the models and systems developed through the OptHyMob project, will enable cost-effective use of hybrid fuel cell-battery systems applied for ship propulsion.

“Through increased efficiency, and extended lifetime of the systems, the total cost of ownership will be reduced which is essential to the maritime industry’s progress toward zero-emission fuels,” he said.

Power usage and energy consumption will vary a lot for different operational modes, such as acceleration and transit, and also depend upon weather conditions and waves. In addition, the hydrogen consumption in a fuel cell system will vary depending on how the system is operated.

Haveland explains, “Simply, a fuel cell system prefers a stable load, but the power requirement fluctuates rapidly. To increase the effectiveness and lifetime of the fuel cell system you also need batteries, and it is vital to optimise the continuous balance of power from the fuel cell system and power from the batteries.”

The project will develop models and systems for real-time recommendations of optimal load distribution that system integrators may use in the power management system.

Research will be held in close collaboration with another Research Council funded KSP project, ‘Energy efficient operation of hydrogen-powered vessels,’ (‘HyEff’), led by NORCE and involving the same partners.

Fionn Iversen, Chief Scientist at NORCE, said the IPN project will allow knowledge transfer between academia and industry, and help establish best practices in batteries and fuel cell hybrid operation into the Norwegian and, ultimately, global maritime industry.

The projects will combine experimental and full-scale operational data to develop a cost-optimised system that can recommend the optimal load distribution between fuel cells and batteries applied for ship propulsion.

Next-minute wave and load predictions will be developed using physics-based and data-driven models which will be implemented in an industrial clustered edge computing infrastructure.

In addition, research on degradation mechanisms in batteries and FC systems used in maritime applications will be performed to determine how these components affect each other and how they can best be combined to limit system degradation and extend system lifetime.

They correlate with the ambitions for the government-funded Norwegian Centre for Hydrogen Research, HyValue FME.