Toshiba develops more Japanese solar and hydrogen


The Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation (ESS) unit of Toshiba will build as EPC contractor two large scale PV power plants with a combined generation capacity of 58.1 MW owned by U.S. module manufacturer First Solar in Japan.

The 31.9 MW Yatsubo Solar Power Plant will be built near Nasushiobara City, in the Tochigi prefecture and the 26.2 MW Ikeda Solar Power Plant will be developed at Nasu-gun, also in Tochigi.

Both projects will use First Solar panels and are set for completion in April 2023. They will be built under Japan's feed-in tariff program. “First Solar has signed a full turnkey EPC [engineering, procurement and construction] contract with Toshiba ESS to construct the Yatsubo facility while the Ikeda project will be built by a joint venture owned by Toshiba ESS and Asunaro Aoki Construction Co Ltd,” stated Toshiba.

The electronics giant also announced it will extend by two years the hydrogen technology development project it is developing with utilities Tohoku Electric Power Co Inc, Tohoku Electric Power Network, energy company Iwatani Corporation and chemical business Asahi Kasei Corporation.

The core of that research project will remain the 10 MW Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R) operated by Toshiba. “Research and development to heighten each control system is directed toward greater functionality of the hydrogen energy system as [a] resource for adjusting supply and demand through the addition of a reverse-power-flow function for the solar-generated power, based on electric power system reforms and electricity market trends,” said Toshiba.

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Testing at the pilot facility is being conducted with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization. The large scale electrolyzer features a solid polymer fuel cell stack which eliminates the need for an external humidifier, according to its manufacturer. The stack is internally humidified and dehumidified automatically. “Research and development to further heighten water electrolysis technology is directed toward optimization of membrane replacement frequency, based on evaluation of [the] degradation of components and apparatus over time as well as reducing the cost of the water electrolysis equipment by reviewing the structure and materials of the electrolysis cell frames,” added Toshiba.

The Japanese brand and Iwatani recently started a demonstration of a holistic supply chain of hydrogen for electricity generation. Toshiba ESS constructed a 200 kW hydropower plant at the Shoro Dam in Shiranuka, near Hokkaido’s Pacific coast. The plant powers a 35m³/hr hydrogen electrolysis facility.

*The article was amended to reflect that the two solar plants are owned by First Solar and not by Toshiba.

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