Japan begins solar powered hydrogen production at Fukushima plant | RenewEconomy

Japan begins solar powered hydrogen production at Fukushima plant

FH2R project completed at former nuclear hub, able to produce “green” hydrogen powered by a 20MW solar farm and some grid power.

Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R). Source: Toshiba Energy

The 10MW solar-powered Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R) project has been completed, according to Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation, which oversaw the construction and will oversee the hydrogen energy management system in the former nuclear powered prefecture.

The FH2R project can apparently produce as much as 1,200 Nm3 of hydrogen per hour and is powered by a 20MW solar farm and some power from the grid.

So-called “green hydrogen” projects such as FH2R are becoming more attractive and commonplace, using renewable generated electricity to power the electrolysis of water to create hydrogen.

In the case of the Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field, a 10MW-class hydrogen production unit – the largest in the world – produces, stores, and supplies up to 1,200 cubic newton meters (Nm) of hydrogen per hour.

The project will now enter a stage of testing which will seek to use the hydrogen energy management system to achieve an optimal combination of production and storage of hydrogen as well as power grid supply and demand balancing adjustments without the use of storage batteries.

Testing will therefore seek to identify the optimal operation control technology that combines power grid demand response with hydrogen supply and demand response.

Overview of FH2R system. Source: Toshiba Energy

“Hydrogen produced at FH2R will also be used to power stationary hydrogen fuel cell systems and to provide for the mobility devices, fuel cell cars and buses, and more,” Toshiba said in their press release.

“Hydrogen produced at FH2R will mainly be transported in Hydrogen tube trailers and hydrogen bundles, to be supplied to users in Fukushima Prefecture, the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, and other regions.”

Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, the scene of the world’s most recent nuclear disasters in 2011, has embarked on a $US2.7 billion renewable energy rebirth over the past decade, including plans to transform its now unusable agricultural land into wind and solar farms.

As RenewEconomy reported in November of 2019, the federal government-backed project includes plans for 11 solar farms and 10 wind farms with a total capacity of 600MW, scheduled for completion by March 2024.

An 80km long grid connection is also planned for construction, to connect the renewables hub with the network of Tokyo Electric Power Co – a task that is separately costed at roughly ¥29 billion ($A388 million).

The electricity generated will be sent to the Tokyo metropolitan area – as it was by Tepco before the 2011 earthquake and tsunami destroyed its Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

The Fukushima government has said it expects the new renewables hub to provide 13-14 percent of Japan’s national energy mix by 2030.

The Toshiba renewable hydrogen project also involved New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc., and Iwatani Corporation.

It is now the fourth green hydrogen project to be announced this year alone, following the January unveiling of a green hydrogen project in the port area of Ostend, Belgium, to be developed by Port of Oostende, offshore engineer DEME Concessions, and financier PMV.

In late February, the British government committed £7.5 million to fund the next phase of Gigastack, a new project which will use electricity generated from the world’s largest offshore wind farm to produce renewable hydrogen.

And most recently, the Queensland region of Gladstone has been announced as the host of a new green hydrogen production hub.

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