Japanese real estate firm starts residential solar hydrogen project


Sekisui House-W, one of Japan's largest real estate services providers, has launched a pilot project for the production of solar-powered hydrogen in a residential building. The project uses excess solar power generated by a rooftop PV array to power a small-sized electrolyzer for hydrogen production.

The generated hydrogen is then stored in hydrogen-absorbing alloy tanks, which are generally known for having increased compactness and safety levels.

The hydrogen stored in the tank is then used in fuel cells to produce electricity for the building regardless of the time of day or season, contributing to self-sufficiency in household power consumption.

The company said the hydrogen storage alloys used in the project have higher energy density than battery storage and do not have natural discharge, so they have the advantage of providing large capacity and long-term energy storage.

“In addition, compared to high-pressure gas tanks, it has a very compact design, so you can expect proposals that suit your home,” it said.

The company added that it expects to commercialize the proposed solution from the summer of 2025.

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Scientists from LUT University in Finland and the Regensburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany have recently studied whether seasonal hydrogen storage (SHS) can be a cost-effective solution for maximizing solar self-consumption in the coming decades.

The team conducted a global analysis across 145 regions from 2020 until 2050 in five-year increments under a “least-cost” model. They simulated a residential rooftop PV system with SHS using the software LUT-Prosume. The analysis included detailed projections for SHS system component costs obtained from various sources. The SHS components included a water electrolyzer, hydrogen compressor, storage tank, and fuel cell.

In January, a Dutch consortium led by the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and the social housing organization Woningcorporaties, connected an existing residential building located at TU Delft's campus to an underground hydrogen network that is now meeting all demand for space heating and hot water.

The results show that SHS can only be expected in a niche off-grid market, in regions limited to North America, Northern Europe, and Northwest Eurasia. Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar could also see small amounts of SHS capacity, according to the study.

Furthermore, a recent study conducted by scientists from German research center Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH has proposed an optimization model to integrate solar power generation from rooftop PV arrays with hybrid hydrogen storage in a self-sufficient, well insulated, highly energy-efficient residential building.

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