Tokuyama and Panasonic utilize hydrogen from caustic soda production

At the Tokuyama factory in Shunan, Yamaguchi Prefecture, the companies Tokuyama and Panasonic have begun demonstration tests of fuel cell generators powered by pure hydrogen created from by-products.

The demo period is planned to finish in March 2023. Electrolysis of brine across an ion-exchange membrane yields hydrogen during the manufacture of caustic soda. The usage of hydrogen from by-products is especially significant in light of the recent uptick in decarbonization initiatives. Six Panasonic pure hydrogen fuel cell generators were installed, all of which were built at the Tokuyama plant.

The hydrogen supply line, thermal communications, and power supply are integrated with the main unit, which made it feasible to accomplish coordinated operation from six generators on pure hydrogen fuel cells. This is the first example of integrated control of six hydrogen fuel cell generators. Tokuyama guarantees a consistent flow of secondary hydrogen for fuel cells in power plants.

The demonstration plant’s energy supplies the business’s administrative hub, while the heat is converted into hot water for use in the rest of the company. System integration is made possible by Panasonic. The system’s six generators, which can each generate 700 watts of electricity, can be turned on and off independently.

As a result, the system’s output power may be varied freely within a range of 700 W to 4.2 kW. This is being done with an eye toward potential applications where integrated system control will play a pivotal role in the future. The other five generators can keep working even if one of them stops working.

This increase in operational flexibility is a direct result of the integrated control, which allows the system to produce electricity constantly while still maintaining the separate generators in sequence.