Monday, February 26, 2024

Yamaha to exhibit hydrogen outboard motor at Miami boat show

Yamaha plans to meet carbon neutrality goals and continue its multi-directional clean energy strategy, which was emphasized during a marine technology presentation last week.

One of the key components of its comprehensive clean energy strategy is the new hydrogen-powered outboard motor that it will be exhibiting at the upcoming Miami International Boat Show, scheduled to be held from February 14 to 18, 2024, in Miami, Florida, USA. This innovative product will offer boaters and marine consumers a greener alternative to fossil-fueled outboard hanging off the back of a boat.

Yamaha has set a goal to achieve net-zero emissions from its own operations (Scope 1 and 2) by 2035, but the challenge is much bigger for the emissions from its value chain (Scope 3), which represent 98.6% of its total carbon footprint, according to the company estimates.

The Scope 3 emissions cover the entire life cycle of Yamaha’s products, from the extraction and processing of raw materials to those created while selling and delivering the finished product. The largest share (more than 80%) comes from the end use of Yamaha’s products, such as motorcycles, personal watercraft, and outboard engines.

Yamaha realizes that different markets and products require different approaches to clean energy. Marine products face unique challenges due to their exposure to water resistance, which requires significantly more energy for propulsion than land vehicles. Moreover, the performance and engineering requirements for marine products can differ based on various factors such as the usage environment, such as the ocean, rivers, or lakes, as well as the usage itself. This makes battery electric systems – with limited use cases and ranges – unsuitable for many marine applications.

To achieve carbon neutrality in this sector, Yamaha is promoting a multi-directional development approach, looking to other new energy sources and technologies in addition to its electrification efforts. This will also include synthetic fuels that are carbon-neutral, fuel cells, and hydrogen engines.

We have seen more progress in fuel cell-electric powertrains for marine applications that use hydrogen, but Yamaha is speeding up the development of outboards that use hydrogen combustion, which it will unveil as a prototype at the Miami show. The hydrogen-powered outboard will produce combustion power without CO2 emissions, like Yamaha’s hydrogen engines for land vehicles, and will allow Yamaha to leverage the technologies it has developed over decades of designing engines that use gasoline and diesel.

The company hasn’t unveiled more details about its hydrogen outboard engine but will probably reveal more in the Miami boat show. The company will also demonstrate its advanced autonomous docking technology and its biofuel innovations at the event.