Hydrogen Energy Utilization System for Building Fully Operational

―Establishing the Optimal Control Technology to Rapidly Achieve a Hydrogen-powered Society―

  • Construction
  • Environment

June 1, 2017

Shimizu Corporation (President: Kazuyuki Inoue) and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST, President: Ryoji Chubachi) will begin full-scale experimental operation of a hydrogen energy system for a building on June 1 as a joint research project. The system was built in the Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute at AIST (FREA). The plan calls for experimental operation until March 2018 to verify system performance and to determine the optimal control technology via the Smart BEMS developed by Shimizu.

The joint research on this project began in February 2016. We first worked on joint development of a new hydrogen energy system, and began construction of an experimental system in November of last year following a development and design period of about 10 months. The system was completed in April 2017. The performance of the individual system components was then evaluated, and we were able to operate the system on a preparatory basis from May onward.

The hydrogen energy system uses surplus power to produce hydrogen through electrolysis of water. The hydrogen is stored in a hydrogen-absorbing alloy. The hydrogen is then released when needed, and is used to generate electricity and heat through a chemical reaction with oxygen. The experimental system consists of solar power generation equipment (output of 20 kW), water electrolysis equipment (5 Nm3/h), a hydrogen storage device (approx. 40 Nm3), a fuel cell (output of 3.5 kW), and a storage battery (output of 10 kW). The system was designed specifically for use in a building with a floor space of around 1,000 m2. We plan to gradually increase the capacity of these devices. The construction of the hydrogen storage device was based on the hydrogen absorbing alloy that AIST has accumulated expertise in.

The experimental operation is based on data on electricity and heating demand for an actual building. Shimizu Smart BEMS (Building Energy Management System) assesses the state of solar power generation, and monitors and controls the production, storage, and utilization of hydrogen based on that. We will determine the optimal control technology in the future, after operating the system on an experimental basis for about 10 months.

Hydrogen is clean energy and does not produce CO2. It can be easily produced from various kinds of energy, so it is expected to play a central role in secondary energy in the future. The goal of this joint research by Shimizu Corporation and AIST is to develop a compact system for buildings that can use hydrogen energy safely and install it in buildings and city blocks by 2020 to create a hydrogen-based society.

<<For Reference>>

Definition of Key Terms:

  • Hydrogen-based society: This refers to a society that is universally powered by hydrogen energy as an alternative to replace oil, coal and other fossil fuels or nuclear power.
  • Hydrogen-absorbing alloy: This is an alloy that absorbs hydrogen when cooled and subjected to pressure, and releases it when heated and subjected to reduced pressure. This enables simple and highly safe storage of hydrogen compared to storage in gas cylinders under high pressure.
  • Smart BEMS: A building energy management system developed by Shimizu Corporation. It enables comfortable and efficient energy conservation through optimal integrated control of distributed power sources and various kinds of building equipment.
Conceptual diagram of hydrogen energy utilization system
Conceptual diagram of hydrogen energy utilization system
Hydrogen energy system built at FREA
Hydrogen energy system built at FREA

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