Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei CleanTech Institute
Yamanashi Prefecture, Toray Industries Inc, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc and Takaoka Toko Co Ltd announced Nov 4, 2016, that they have concluded an agreement to jointly promote the technological development and experimental study of a "P2G (Power to Gas) system" for realizing a CO2-free "hydrogen energy society."
A P2G system produces hydrogen by using renewable energy-derived electricity and stores and uses it. The system is expected to stably utilize renewable energy-derived electricity, which fluctuates in accordance with weather changes, by exploiting the characteristics of hydrogen, which can be stored for a long period of time and transported.
Yamanashi Prefecture and Tokyo Electric Power jointly run "Komekurayama Solar Power Plant," a 10MW solar power plant, in Kofu City. In addition, at "Yume Solar Kan Yamanashi," which adjoins the plant, it has been operating a verification facility that produces hydrogen with a 20kW on-roof solar power generation system, stores it and uses it for a fuel cell system.
The four organizations that have formed the agreement aim to establish a P2G system that produces, stores and uses 450,000Nm3 (planned value) of hydrogen per year by using solar electricity in the Komekurayama area, where such verification facilities are located. They jointly applied for a project commissioned by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), and the application was adopted Sept 27, 2016. Then, they started to consider basic issues including the clarification of technological problems.
In the verification project, the shift to the technological development phase will be judged through the "stage gate examination" planned in June 2017. Based on the results of the examination, the four organizations plan to engage in technological development and experimental study until the end of fiscal 2020.
Through the project, Yamanashi Prefecture will promote the introduction of renewable energy by promoting the development of power storage technologies as a measure to stabilize a power grid. At the same time, by building bases for technological development and experimental study related to P2G systems in the prefecture, they aim to stimulate industrial development.
Among the participants in the project, Toray is responsible for the development of materials for fuel cells and water electrolysis such as electrolyte films and electrode substrates. Takaoka Toko will design power equipment that uses renewable energy to produce hydrogen and deal with an energy management system (EMS).