CLASSNK has issued an approval in principle for a maritime hydrogen fuel cell system developed by Japan’s Yanmar Power Technology.

The classification society said this is the first AiP certification for a maritime hydrogen fuel cell system developed by a Japanese manufacturer.

“Hydrogen fuel cells are gaining attention as a potential means to help reduce GHG emissions from shipping,” ClassNK said.

It said hydrogen has characteristics that are distinct from conventional gas fuels, and safety discussions are underway at the International Maritime Organization

“Based on IMO’s interim guidelines and relevant IEC standards, ClassNK has issued the Guidelines for Fuel Cell Power Systems On Board Ships (Second Edition), specifying safety requirements for the design of ships using fuel cell power installations and the systems themselves to promote and expand the utilization of fuel cells in ships.”

Yanmar designed its maritime hydrogen fuel cell system with key auxiliary components such as gas valve units integrated within the system enclosure, aimed to facilitate easy installation on ships.

“On top of that, the system allows for parallel connection of multiple units and adjustments to the number of hydrogen fuel cell modules, making it adaptable to various ship power output requirements,” ClassNK said.

ClassNK reviewed the system in line with its guidelines, examined the results, and issued the AIP having confirmed it complied with prescribed requirements.

ClassNK said it plans to continue to take part in decarbonisation initiatives and incorporate knowledge gained through collaboration with front-runners into rules and guidelines.