What’s claimed to be the world’s largest facility yet for green hydrogen production from renewables has been completed in Fukushima, Japan, not far from the site of the 2011 nuclear disaster.
The Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R) uses a 20MW solar array, backed up by renewable power from the grid, to run a 10MW electrolyser at the site in Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture.
A consortium including Toshiba, Tohoku Electric Power and Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) said the project is the largest electrolyser yet to produce hydrogen from clean power sources. The FH2R system can produce up to 100kg of hydrogen an hour, said the partners.
The project will be used as a test bed for mass production of green H2, with initial output directed to fuel hydrogen cars and buses in Japan – including some to be used at the Tokyo Olympics later this year.
The location of the facility – visited by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this weekend – is symbolic, as Japan seeks to reinvent the Fukushima region as a centre for clean energy as part of the rebuilding process from the nuclear disaster that devastated the region last decade.
FH2R is the latest in an ever-growing and ever-larger number of facilities around the world linking renewables to production of green hydrogen, which is increasingly seen as a vital part of the energy transition thanks to its ability to reach hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as heating and transport.
A project in Austria began operating in November last year that claimed at that stage to be the world’s largest green hydrogen plant using a 6MW electrolyser.
Offshore wind has also emerged as a leading contender for renewable hydrogen production with big projects announced by Orsted and Shell this year.