Policy / Systems / Technology

January 15, 2017


Detailed Plans Begin in Fukushima on World's Largest (Carbon-Free) Hydrogen Energy Infrastructure Project

Keywords: Energy Policy Environmental Technology Renewable Energy 

Photo: Toyota MIRAI and Hydrogen Fueling Station
Image by Toshihiro Gamo Some Rights Reserved.

The Government of Japan is promoting the "Fukushima Concept for a New Energy Society," which aims to develop a showcase for a renewable energy and hydrogen-based society in Fukushima Prefecture. The following is a report about the moves toward developing of the world's largest hydrogen energy system, one of the featured projects in the government's concept.

Note: This article is adapted and translated into English with permission from Smart Japan, an online media services provider specializing in energy conservation, storage, and generation.

Toshiba, Tohoku Electric Power, and Iwatani Corporation jointly announced plans to start a commercial feasibility study in Fukushima Prefecture to create what would be the world's largest hydrogen energy system. Their joint proposal to a program named "Technology Development for the Realization of the Hydrogen Society / Technology Development of Systems Using Renewable Energy-derived Hydrogen" was selected on September 29, 2016, by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), which had invited industry proposals.

The main part of the Fukushima Concept, determined at the beginning of September, consists of three pillars: expansion of the introduction of renewable energy, creation of a model of a hydrogen-based society, and establishment of a "smart" community. The hydrogen energy system the three companies are examining with the commercial feasibility study is proposed for the second pillar.

The government aims to increase the introduction of renewable energy in Fukushima Prefecture. However energy output fluctuates depending on weather conditions. The use of rechargeable batteries is now being expanded to absorb fluctuations in output, and the Concept's plan includes the use of hydrogen for this regulating function.

The hydrogen energy systems the three companies are studying will use electricity generated by renewable sources such as solar and wind, to then produce and store hydrogen in hydrogen production equipment, so the new system can contribute to more stable operation of the electric power system. The output of the hydrogen production equipment is planned to be the world largest, with a capacity of 10,000 kilowatts.

The purposes of the Fukushima Concept include not only the production and storage of liquid hydrogen but also its effective distribution inside and outside the Tohoku region. The companies will develop a new control system to coordinate multiple systems related to the operation of hydrogen energy, power system control, and liquid hydrogen demand forecasting, with the aim of optimal operation of hydrogen production, power generation, and gas supply. The goal is to start operating in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The three companies will report their study results by September 2017 after examination of the components and specifications of the hydrogen energy system, as well as the commercial feasibility study.

Source: Smart Japan (in Japanese)