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Comment Sustainability

Japan’s new technology-development project focused on green hydrogen

By Mary Page Bailey |

Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation (Toshiba ESS; Kawasaki, Japan), Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc., Tohoku Electric Power Network Co., Inc., Iwatani and Asahi Kasei Corp. will work together to develop green hydrogen technologies, with focus on further heightening system control and water electrolysis technologies under a technology development project previously solicited by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), “Hydrogen social construction technical development project/Hydrogen energy system technical development/Technical development concerning business model construction and the large-scale actual proof of a re-energy use hydrogen system”

With the expanding use of renewable energy such as solar and wind, there is an increase in occasions for output-controlled variables in order to maintain the power grid supply-and-demand balance. Power-to-gas technology using hydrogen to enable large-scale long-term energy storage is a way to enable effective use of power from renewable sources with the least output-controlled variable. The efficient advancement of such hydrogen energy storage and use will require not only a power grid supply-and-demand balancing function (demand response) but also establishment of the optimal operation function based on a hydrogen demand and supply forecasting system.

hydrogen

Through this Project, the five companies will advance technology development for commercialization of a sustainable power-to-gas business model (Source: Toshiba ESS)

The Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R), which opened in March 2020 using a 10 MW hydrogen production unit, is designed to fully utilize highly fluctuating power output from renewable energy without using storage batteries by performing supply-and-demand adjustment with respect to the power grid while producing clean hydrogen at low cost.

Henceforth, Toshiba ESS, Tohoku Electric Power, Iwatani, and the newly joined Tohoku Electric Power Network and Asahi Kasei, will extend the current Demonstration Phase until February 28, 2023, aiming to establish practical technology for power-to-gas by further heightening each control system (hydrogen energy operation system, power grid control system, and hydrogen demand-and-supply forecasting system) and water electrolysis technology.

Research and development to heighten each control system is directed toward greater functionality of the hydrogen energy system as resource for adjusting supply and demand through the addition of a reverse-power-flow function for the solar generated power based on electric power system reforms and electricity market trends.

Research and development to further heighten water electrolysis technology is directed toward optimization of membrane replacement frequency based on evaluation of degradation of components and apparatus over time as well as reducing the cost of the water electrolysis equipment by reviewing the structure and materials of the electrolysis cell frames.

Through this Project, Toshiba ESS will contribute to Supervision of overall project and the overall hydrogen energy management system. Toshiba ESS expects to contribute to the formulation of the hydrogen supply chain in Fukushima and we will continue to support expanding hydrogen energy for a low carbon society through hydrogen-related technologies and solutions.

Tohoku Electric Power will verify how to apply the large-scale power-to-gas system, which is based on the premise of a stable power supply, aim to expand the development of renewable energy, and contribute to the reconstruction of Fukushima Prefecture as a local power company continuously.

Tohoku Electric Power Network will verify the improvement of the supply-and-demand balance through demand response using the power grid control system, and work to expand the introduction of renewable energy as well as ensure the stable operation of the power system simultaneously.

Iwatani will contribute its knowledge of hydrogen transportation, storage and supply systems and construction and operation of hydrogen stations.

Asahi Kasei joined this Project from the position of a supplier that delivered a newly designed world-leading scale 10 MW-class alkaline water electrolysis plant based on original technology. Now, the group is leveraging the results of this Project to commercialize large-scale water electrolysis equipment.

 

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