Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has started operation of a 400 kW test module of its Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC), a hydrogen production technology, at Takasago Hydrogen Park, located within its Takasago Machinery Works in Takasago City, Hyogo Prefecture in west central Japan.

SOEC is based on technology for the previously developed Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC). MHI says its proprietary tubular cell stack supports development as a technology capable of operating at high pressures. MHI said results of this research will be utilized to support higher output and greater capacity.

The SOEC test module includes multiple cartridges of 500 cell stacks bundled together. During test operations, the electrolytic efficiency of the module was 3.5 kWh/Nm³ (101% higher heating value).

At Nagasaki Carbon Neutral Park, MHI said it has also successfully conducted cartridge tests under larger amounts of electric current condition per cell stack, which MHI said will help make progress toward development of a “megawatt class” SOEC with high power density. In addition, MHI plans to install a megawatt-class SOEC system demonstration facility at Takasago Hydrogen Park within the next few years, and is moving forward with preparations for integrated verification within the park, with the aim of commercialization of the system following actual operation.

Takasago Hydrogen Park is divided into three areas according to functions for hydrogen production, storage, and utilization. In the hydrogen production area, an alkaline electrolyzer manufactured by Norway’s HydrogenPro AS, which has a hydrogen production capacity of 1,100Nm³/h, was put into operation in September 2023. The hydrogen storage area is equipped with a storage facility with total capacity of 39,000 Nm³, part of a project subsidized by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

In November 2023, using hydrogen produced and stored in the park, MHI also conducted a demonstration operation of 30% hydrogen fuel co-firing using a state-of-the-art J-series Air-Cooled (JAC) gas turbine at the gas turbine combined cycle (GTCC) demonstration power plant (commonly known as T-Point 2, rated output of 566 MW) located in the hydrogen utilization area. In 2024, MHI plans to conduct a 100% hydrogen-firing demonstration using a small- to mid-sized H-25 gas turbine (40 MW class) that had been previously installed for compressor driving at the combustion test facility in the park.

Going forward, in the hydrogen production area of Takasago Hydrogen Park, MHI plans to proceed with demonstrations aimed at the commercialization of hydrogen production equipment with different characteristics, such as anion exchange membrane (AEM) water electrolysis and methane pyrolysis. In addition, in the hydrogen storage area, MHI will further expand its facilities with construction to increase the total capacity of the hydrogen storage facility to 120,000 Nm³, which is about three times the current capacity, in preparation for the demonstration operation of a JAC-type gas turbine using a 50% hydrogen fuel co-firing using the JAC gas turbine at T-Point 2.

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