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Asahi Kasei starts construction of alkaline electrolysis pilot plant for hydrogen production

| By Mary Bailey

Asahi Kasei (Tokyo) has started the construction of an alkaline water electrolysis pilot test plant for hydrogen production at its Kawasaki Works. Construction and operation of the plant is supported by the “Green Innovation Fund1” of Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

Asahi Kasei installed a large 10 MW-scale alkaline water electrolysis system at the Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R) as part of a NEDO project,2 and performed several trial operations since 2020. Based on the technological achievements obtained at FH2R, Asahi Kasei plans to commercialize a larger-scale alkaline water electrolysis system comprising multiple 10 MW modules4 by 2025.

Asahi Kasei’s pilot plant comprises several electrolyzer modules to perform various trial operations regarding responsiveness to power fluctuation, long-term durability, etc. Asahi Kasei expects that this will greatly accelerate the development of its water electrolysis technology.
As the system comprises multiple modules, the behavior of equipment under various conditions can be replicated, such as the case where one module malfunctions during operation, or the case of low output operation at night. This facilitates verification and improvement of apparatus design, operation methods, and control technology.

As renewable energy sources such as solar and wind provide unstable power output, water electrolysis equipment needs to be highly responsive to fluctuations. As the equipment is designed to simulate such fluctuations, it enables verification of compatibility with renewable energy and coordination with the power system.

Start of operation is targeted in early 2024 following construction work, equipment installation, and trial operation.