Asia Outlook - - Contents - Writer: Jonathan Dy­ble

Re­ac­tive Re­sponse Toshiba’s H2One – an in­no­va­tive and en­er­gis­ing so­lu­tion

Har­ness­ing the power of hy­dro­gen, Toshiba’s H2One is help­ing to tackle global chal­lenges that face the world to­day

2 018 has been a sharp re­minder of the re­al­i­ties of cli­mate change.

This year, Cal­i­for­nia ex­pe­ri­enced its most de­struc­tive wild­fire sea­son to date and Arc­tic sea ice lev­els reached record lows, while France was forced to close four nu­clear re­ac­tors as the river wa­ter cool­ing them be­came too warm.

Heat­waves are quickly be­com­ing the norm in the face of ris­ing deforestation and in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion, rais­ing the alarm for solutions to is­sues that, in many in­stances, we don’t yet have the an­swer for.

How­ever, ris­ing aware­ness is driv­ing the de­vel­op­ment of in­no­va­tive tech­niques, ev­i­dent with the in­creas­ing use of clean en­ergy al­ter­na­tives, such as hy­dro­gen fuel cells.

One such com­pany that has recog­nised and be­gun to lever­age the po­ten­tial of fuel cell tech­nolo­gies is Toshiba En­ergy Sys­tems & Solutions (Toshiba ESS). A sub­sidiary of Toky­obased multi­na­tional Toshiba, Toshiba ESS has been tasked with tack­ling these global chal­lenges by de­vel­op­ing ground-break­ing hy­dro­gen-based tech­nolo­gies.

“Toshiba strives to de­velop tech­nolo­gies for the production, stor­age, and use of hy­dro­gen,” ex­plains Ryo Naka­jima, Tech­nol­ogy Gen­eral Man­ager of the New En­ergy Solutions Project Team at Toshiba ESS. “In our ef­forts to pro­mote a so­ci­ety pow­ered by sus­tain­able en­ergy, we de­vel­oped a ‘hy­dro­gen-based so­cial in­fra­struc­ture sys­tem’ util­is­ing CO2-free hy­dro­gen and an ad­vanced en­ergy man­age­ment sys­tem.”

Trans­for­ma­tive ideas

Hav­ing joined Toshiba ESS as a

R&D En­gi­neer, now po­si­tioned on its man­age­rial team, Naka­jima has con­tin­ued to play a key role in cre­at­ing in­no­va­tive solutions, in­clud­ing its re­cently launched H2One sys­tem.

“The H2One in­te­grates all the el­e­ments re­quired to re­alise a hy­dro­gen-based au­ton­o­mous en­ergy sup­ply sys­tem,” re­veals Naka­jima. “The tech­nol­ogy is able to utilise a so­lar power sys­tem to gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity; a sta­tion­ary bat­tery to store it; a wa­ter elec­trol­y­sis hy­dro­gen gen­er­a­tor; and a hy­dro­gen stor­age tank, all in or­der to cre­ate pure hy­dro­gen fuel cells.”

Ef­fec­tively, re­new­able en­ergy is stored in bat­ter­ies and used to elec­trol­yse wa­ter in or­der to pro­duce hy­dro­gen. This hy­dro­gen is then kept in a stor­age tank or fa­cil­ity, where af­ter it is then dis­charged as needed, pow­er­ing fuel cells that gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity.

What makes the sys­tem so suc­cess­ful is that hy­dro­gen is suit­able for long-term stor­age, mak­ing it ideal for ad­dress­ing elec­tric­ity needs all year round.

Where there may be a sur­plus of en­ergy, such as with so­lar en­ergy in sum­mer months, the H2One can then au­tonomously con­vert this into hy­dro­gen that can be used to cre­ate fuel cells at a later date when there may be short­ages.

“As the hy­dro­gen can be pro­duced from in­ex­haustible wa­ter and stored long-term un­til elec­tric­ity is needed, this serves as a good so­lu­tion for com­mu­ni­ties and in­dus­tries re­quir­ing a con­sis­tent and steady sup­ply of en­ergy, as well as en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly solutions,” Naka­jima adds.

Avert­ing crises

Iden­ti­fy­ing the au­ton­o­mous sys­tem’s prop­er­ties, Toshiba ESS has cre­ated an off‐grid so­lu­tion using the H2One that is help­ing to power a num­ber of re­mote com­mu­ni­ties with clean, sus­tain­able and re­li­able en­ergy.

“This is a dis­trib­uted en­ergy sys­tem that al­lows the sup­ply of sta­ble en­ergy, with­out in­flu­ence from the weather or en­vi­ron­ment, to is­lands cur­rently re­liant on diesel and other gen­er­at­ing sys­tems such as ther­mal power,” ex­plains Naka­jima.

“For ex­am­ple, In­done­sia, a na­tion con­sist­ing of many is­lands, has the chal­lenge of sup­ply­ing low-cost en­ergy to each is­land – a chal­lenge that has been out­lined in its power sup­ply busi­ness plan called RUPTL. This aims to in­crease the coun­try’s to­tal power gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity rate of re­new­ables from the 12.52 per­cent recorded in 2017 to 23 per­cent by 2020.”

As part of this ini­tia­tive, Toshiba

ESS and In­done­sia’s Agency for the As­sess­ment and Ap­pli­ca­tion of Tech­nol­ogy (BPPT) signed a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing in Au­gust that would see the H2One sys­tem im­ple­mented and as­sessed across the ar­chi­pel­ago.

Equally, Toshiba ESS has signed a sim­i­lar agree­ment with the Philip­pines due to its high reliance on coal and oil‐fired ther­mal power, and its depen­dence on the im­por­ta­tion n of these fu­els.

Ev­i­dent in these two use cases, the H2One Sys­tem is also be­com­ing widely ac­cepted across is­land na­tions due to its ef­fec­tive­ness in en­hanc­ing disas­ter readi­ness of com­mu­ni­ties.

Naka­jima con­tin­ues: “Nat­u­ral dis­as­ters bring­ing down life­lines s have left a deep aware­ness of the need for com­mu­ni­ties to take ke ef­fec­tive mea­sures in re­sponse to emer­gen­cies. Toshiba H2One can n work and gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity even ven when power lines are cut, at­tract­ing ct­ing at­ten­tion as a so­lu­tion for any en­erg­y­n­er­gyre­liant con­ti­nu­ity plan.”

Ris­ing to the chal­lenge

Along­side the broad use of H2One across In­done­sia and the Philip­pines, it is also be­ing used ef­fec­tively in a num­ber of spe­cific projects across other parts of Asia.

One ex­am­ple of this is its ap­pli­ca­tion within the Rakuten Seimei Sta­dium in Miyagi, Ja­pan.

A 23,000-seater baseball sta­dium and home of the To­hoku Rakuten Golden Ea­gles pro-baseball team, H2One is be­ing utilised to pro­vide an un­in­ter­rupted, off‐grid sup­ply of en­ergy that keeps the Rakuten.FM TO­HOKU ra­dio sta­tion and part of the sta­dium’s light­ing sys­tems up and run­ning in times of short­ages.

Mean­while, on a day-to-day ba­sis, the sys­tem helps to sup­ply en­ergy to the sta­dium’s elec­tronic dis­play and the ra­dio sta­tion, and light a nearby park.

“The sta­dium’s H2One in­te­grates a hy­dro­gen tank fab­ri­cated with a very high-den­sity stor­age al­loy,” Naka­jima states. “The tank al­lows all nec­es­sary equip­ment to be stored in one con­tainer, short­en­ing the con­struc­tion pe­riod by two thirds.”

Fur­ther, Toshiba has also been using its al­ter­na­tive sys­tem, the H2Rex pure hy­dro­gen fuel cell de­liv­ery sys­tem, to help pro­vide clean en­ergy to Showa Denko K.K. (SDK), a Tokyo-based chem­i­cal com­pany, and the new Kawasaki King Sky Front Tokyu REI Ho­tel.

In this in­stance, hy­dro­gen is ex­tracted from re­cy­cled plas­tics by SDK that is then used to help meet the en­ergy demands of the ho­tel.

“H2Rex is a clean en­ergy so­lu­tion that uses hy­dro­gen as a fuel for CO2-free elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion,” says Naka­jima. “It’s highly re­spon­sive and can boot up and start gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­ity in just five min­utes.”

As a re­sult, the ho­tel will co­gen­er­ate hot wa­ter in each room using a com­bi­na­tion of H2Rex and elec­tric­ity.

Lev­er­ag­ing their in­di­vid­ual ex­per­tise, the col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Toshiba ESS and SDK in this in­stance is sym­bolic of the co­op­er­a­tion that will be nec­es­sary in ad­dress­ing to­day’s chal­lenges on a global scale.

From in­no­va­tive solutions such as the H2One to widen­ing co­op­er­a­tion, many of these use cases are prime ex­am­ples of busi­nesses and gov­ern­ments alike ris­ing to the chal­lenge, fun­da­men­tally mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in help­ing to cre­ate a sus­tain­able fu­ture.

Naka­jima con­cludes: “To­day, the world faces the se­ri­ous issue of global warm­ing, and many gov­ern­ments and com­pa­nies have pledged to do their part to lower their car­bon foot­print. We recog­nise that we must do the same.”

‘One ex­am­ple of this is its ap­pli­ca­tion within the Rakuten Seimei Sta­dium in Miyagi, Ja­pan’

Ryo Naka­jima

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