Mitsubishi Heavy Industries starts SOEC testing at Takasago Hydrogen Park

Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has commenced the operation of a test module of the solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC), a next-generation hydrogen production technology, at Takasago Hydrogen Park, located within the company’s Takasago Machinery Works in Takasago City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan.

400kW class SOEC test module; Courtesy of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI)

The test module with a capacity of 400 kW was designed and manufactured based on the technology adopted for the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC), following the development of core technologies at the Nagasaki Carbon Neutral Park (Nagasaki City). Then, it was installed at the Takasago Hydrogen Park and started operation. The results of the research will be utilized to support even higher output and greater capacity, MHI noted.

The SOEC test module comprises a module with multiple cartridges of 500 cell stacks bundled together, MHI revealed, adding that during test operations, the electrolytic efficiency of the module was 3.5 kWh/Nm3, confirming that the module was operating with high efficiency.

At Nagasaki Carbon Neutral Park, the company also conducted cartridge tests under larger amounts of electric current condition per cell stack, making progress toward the development of a “megawatt-class” SOEC with high power density. MHI said that the company 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 reported to have the capability for integrated verification of hydrogen technologies, from production to power generation, and 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 was put into operation in September 2023, and the hydrogen storage area is equipped with a storage facility with a 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 conducted a demonstration operation of 30% hydrogen fuel co-firing using a J-series Air-Cooled (JAC) gas turbine at the gas turbine combined cycle (GTCC) demonstration power plant located in the hydrogen utilization area.

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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 the 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 said the company will further expand its facilities with construction to increase the total capacity of the hydrogen storage facility to 120,000 Nm3. This is 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.

To note, MHI Group aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. By utilizing Takasago Hydrogen Park, MHI claimed the group will accelerate the development of hydrogen production and power generation technologies and verification of systems, and by providing highly reliable products, it will continue to contribute to the stable supply of electricity worldwide and the rapid realization of a carbon neutral world.

Takuya Murase, Senior Fellow, Senior General Manager for the GTCC Business Division of Energy Systems and Head of Takasago Machinery Works, commented: “The expectations placed on Takasago Machinery Works, both internally and from society at large, to implement MHI Group’s MISSION NET ZERO and achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, are higher than ever. The year 2024 marks the 60th anniversary of Takasago’s founding. We will continue to pursue the energy transition with Takasago Hydrogen Park at the core of our efforts, and make further leaps forward.”