With the goal of increasing sales in its hydrogen-related business to 100 billion yen (US$839 million) by 2020, Toshiba Corp. (IW 1000/66) announced on April 6 the opening of the Toshiba Group Hydrogen Energy Research & Development Center (HRDC) at its Fuchu Complex in western Tokyo.
The HRDC will install a solid oxide electrolysis cell being developed as a New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization project and use it in combination with solar photovoltaic generation systems, fuel cells and other apparatus to carry out demonstration experiments, toward achieving practical use. The center will also be an exhibition space for hydrogen-related technologies.
The company’s technologies including photovoltaic, wind, hydro and other renewable generation systems, water electrolysis systems and fuel cells, will be used in end-to-end solutions, extending from production to utilization of hydrogen.
The objective is to use realized local energy production for local consumption. To do that Toshiba will “develop a practical energy supply system that uses renewable energy to power hydrogen-generating water electrolysis systems, and then uses fuel cells to convert that hydrogen to electricity as and when needed. The system will be deployed in locations where electricity generation and transmission costs are high, such as isolated islands and remote places, so as to help cut costs and achieve a stable electricity supply.”
Looking to the future, Toshiba also aims to establish a hydrogen supply chain by 2025. For example, hydrogen produced overseas at low cost, using large-scale windmills, will be used to generate electricity in hydrogen-fired gas turbine power plants in Japan. This will allow large amounts of hydrogen to be stored and supplied without any need for a transmission line to connect the overseas power generation source, and Japan, the power consumption point.
The combined annual market scale for fuel cells and other hydrogen-related equipment and infrastructure is projected to reach 40 trillion yen by 2030.