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Corvus plan June launch for zero-carbon hybrid propulsion setup

Image: Corvus Energy FC-Enclosure.1891-1[75].jpg
Corvus Energy is planning to launch a carbon-free battery-fuel cell hybrid propulsion system suitable for a broad range of ship types at Nor-Shipping next month.

The Bergen-based company is to release details of the scalable H2NOR fuel cell system that can be combined with batteries to provide zero-carbon propulsion. The arrangement is potentially suitable for including offshore vessels, ferries, ropax ships, container feeders, chemical tankers, coasters and workboats.

The June launch of the ‘inherently gas safe’ system will be followed by a series of pilot projects to test the technology in real-life operation. Extensive tests have already been carried out at the laboratory, workshop, and test site in Bergen. Systems are likely to become available commercially next year, the company says.

Corvus Energy has an impressive setup, with investors including Shell Ventures, Equinor, Hydro and BW. In 2021, the company teamed up with Toyota on fuel cell development and optimisation of the technology for marine applications.

Thor Humerfelt, Product Architect and a Corvus SVP, says that scalability has always been a priority. And although the first systems are likely to be installed on relatively small ships, a power range from 320kW to 10MW will enable larger systems to become available for ocean-going ships in the future. In the meantime, the energy technology can be used to supply power for large vessels during port calls – cruise ships in harbour, for example, or tankers and gas carriers on the terminal.

Humerfelt notes that the company received Approval in Principle from DNV for the fuel cell system in April last year. However, since then, he says that the company has held discussions with several major classification societies, all with positive feedback.

“The inherently gas-safe design of our fuel cell falls straight into the design philosophy of IMO’s IGF Code,” he explains. “We have had lots of interest from shipowners, designers, electrical integrators, and charterers.”

The first commercial vessel to have a fuel cell installation is the Eidesvik-owned offshore supply vessel, Viking Lady. Her fuel cell, with an electric output of 330 kW, was installed in December 2009.