Toyota Tsusho Conducts Joint Research with Yanmar on Fuel Cell System for Boats
-Toward the Creation of a Hydrogen Society by Expanding the Use of Hydrogen-

Toyota Tsusho Corporation (Toyota Tsusho) hereby announces that it has completed joint research with Yanmar Co., Ltd. (Yanmar) on a fuel cell boat installed with a fuel cell system using hydrogen as fuel. This fuel cell boat was used by a consortium formed by Yanmar, Japan's National Maritime Research Institute (NMRI), and Japan Ship Technology Research Association (JSTRA) to test an actual boat in the verification of a project assigned by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) to study the development of safety guidelines for hydrogen fuel cell ships. The demonstration trial was conducted in March 2018.

Overview of Demonstration Trial

The consortium referenced above investigated safety guidelines (draft) for fuel cell boats under the Research and Investigation Project for Establishment of Fuel Cell Boat Safety Guidelines as part of a three-year plan launched in FY 2015 by the MLIT to develop a hydrogen-based society. In FY2017, the last year of the plan, a demonstration trial was conducted by installing a 60kW-class pure hydrogen fuel cell system, building on the results obtained from fundamental trials conducted to date, such as measures to protect fuel cells against salty air damage, and seaworthiness testing of fuel cells. Moving forward, the knowledge on safety criteria for fuel cell boats obtained from this trial will be consolidated and submitted to the MLIT for the establishment of safety guidelines for fuel cell boats.

About the Fuel Cell Boat

The 60kW-class fuel cell system for boats was jointly researched by Yanmar and Toyota Tsusho. It was made using fuel cells produced by Ballard Power Systems Inc. (Ballard) based in Canada, whose distributors in Japan are operated by Toyota Tsusho. The demonstration trial was led by Yanmar and NMRI by installing the fuel cell system and a lithium-ion battery system manufactured by Uzushio Electric Co., Ltd. on a test boat managed by NMRI.

Incorporating into Toyota Tsusho’s Fuel Cell Business

In 2016, Toyota Tsusho signed a distribution agreement with Ballard, a developer and manufacturer of direct hydrogen fuel cells, to sell Ballard's fuel cell products in the Japanese market. In the past, Ballard’s fuel cells were used in Japan, such as in stationary systems, and this is the first time fuel cells for boats are being adopted in Japan. By clearing trials for boats operating in an environment with pitch and roll, vibrations, and salty air damage, there is potential to develop new uses as a form of propulsion.

Toyota Tsusho will continue to promote development and sales of new applications for fuel cells centered on the field of transport by developing and utilizing Toyota Tsusho’s lineup and knowledge of fuel cells.


Main Specifications of Test Boat

Fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP)
Total tonnage
17 tons
Sea trial area
Radius of 4 nautical miles centered on Kushihana, Shigei-cho, Innoshima, Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture
Max. speed (full load)
11.5 knots (9.0 knots on electric propulsion)
Fuel cell system
Polymer electrolyte fuel cell module (Yanmar) 60kW x 1 unit
Secondary battery system
Lithium-ion battery module (Uzushio Electric) 60kWh
Propulsion motor
50kW IPM motors x 2 units
Inspection agency
Japan Craft Inspection Organization (JCI)

Demonstration trial (1) (test boat)
Demonstration trial (2) (electric propulsion)
Power management system (example)
Navigation support system (example)