A greener future with hydrogen energy


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Hydrogen is a very light gas. They tend to bond to other atoms, thus forming more complex molecules. To be used as fuel, it must be “captured” by chemical processes. Hydrogen is the most prevalent chemical element in the universe and can play an important role in achieving net zero emissions and other goals such as wind power and geothermal energy. In a video interview with EE Times Europe, Max Fujita, Head of European Fuel Cells at Panasonic, discusses the importance of hydrogen technology to boost the clean energy transition “Every country is increasing a portion of renewable energies such as solar or wind turbines. But this renewable energy is unstable. Green renewable energy can never be provided. In order to support the goal of zero emissions, our answer is a pure hydrogen fuel cell system,” said Fujita. “We have tried to install more than 200,000 units with this technology,” he added. Many initiatives are turning to hydrogen as another solution to support renewable energy and contribute to a green society. Hydrogen use can be an important energy carrier in some sectors such as road and residential transportation and services. Speakers: Maurizio DiPaolo Emilio, Max Fujita 00:12 MAURIZIO DiPaolo Emilio: Hey everyone, this is Maurizio, Editor of Power Electronics News and EEWeb. Today, I am pleased to have, in this interview, Max Fujita, President of European Fuel Cells at Panasonic. Hi Max, how are you 00:27 Max Fujita: I’m fine. Thank you. And you? All is well? 00:31 Maurizio DiPaolo Emilio: Yes, everything is fine. everything is fine. Thanks. So, today I want to talk to you about a great topic: hydrogen..hydrogen for the energy future. But before we get started, before we go into details, before we get started, please introduce yourself, Max. 00:53 Max Fujita: All right! So, my name is Max Fujita. I am responsible for fuel cell sales and marketing and am also the head of the European Fuel Cell Project. 01:05 Maurizio DiPaolo Emilio: Good.. Thank you, OK. There is one problem, as you know, that must be solved for the future of humanity related to energy, but not just energy and global warming and the depletion of fossil fuels. Panasonic deploys significant financial and technical resources to improve hydrogen technology applied in many future technologies and vehicles, especially in our homes. Decarbonization is a global issue and the philosophy of many companies, like yours, is to contribute to protecting the environment with clean energy sources. Hydrogen, today’s topic, is one of the elements that will contribute to the zero emissions goal. Hydrogen produces energy through a chemical reaction that includes oxygen and the only by-product of the processes is water, and renewable hydrogen is clean and, as you know, highly efficient. It is an energy source that has no environmental impact. So tell me: What is the current situation? How is your technology going and what is Panasonic’s next roadmap for that? 02:35 Max Fujita: Well, yeah, the contribution to global warming, that’s also one of the main themes of our company: what kind of contribution? What can we do? That’s the main topic, and in this case, Panasonic has been developing a stationary fuel cell, which can provide CO2 for residential homes since 2000. So, this is kind of… one of our main actions. And since 2009, Panasonic wants the stationary fuel cell for the residential market in Japan. Also, for Europe, we have been running products together with our European partner since 2014. As of the end of March in Japan, in total, 360,000 homes are already equipped with fuel cells. But this means that 360,000 homes already use hydrogen at home, and out of 360,000 Panasonic homes it is 200,000. For these products, you can compare with the replacement from an existing regular gas boiler for this natural gas versus fuel. Therefore, one unit we can save 1.4 tons of CO2 per year. That’s a bit too big but of course people can’t shoot 1.4 tones of CO… I think you’re driving a car and I’m also driving a car, for example, if we’re driving 10,000 kilometers a year that’s some CO2 emissions… 1.4 tons. But, in order to save global warming, I can’t stop driving because I need a car to work, but if people can switch from a regular gas boiler to fuel, they can affect CO2 emissions…which is kind of the current situation. We are not satisfied with only 1.4 tons savings, that’s okay. But we aim to reduce zero emissions. Therefore, in order to achieve zero emission technology, our answer is to switch to a pure hydrogen fuel cell cogeneration system: these are some of the zero emission technologies. So, I told you everything we’ve tried: Installing more than 200,000 units, with this expertise and technology we transfer to pure hydrogen fuel cell technology. So, now we are in the process of final tuning for higher efficiency: this is our situation. 09:46 Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio: Good, excellent. So, Max, installing hydrogen fuel cells will enable a clean energy source and hydrogen fuel cell system at home as you know as you mentioned can help reduce the causes of global warming instead of using traditional fossil fuels you know. To generate electricity Tell me what are the next challenges we must face? What should we expect in the future? 07:39 Max Fuega: Right. So, I think all the people, every country is increasing some portion of renewable energy like PV or wind turbines … that’s kind of a cool technology, but, you know, this renewable energy is a little bit unstable, so in order to recover for the For the unstable part there is hydrogen. In fact, we believe that in order to achieve a zero-carbon society using hydrogen, we have to somehow work with the community. For example, if we look at our picture, like a wind turbine or photovoltaic to make some hydrogen, this kind of job is required. And once we make the hydrogen, there’s transportation with some supply networks, that means a bigger part of the infrastructure is needed. And our part of Panasonic is just kind of an end point. So, with some infrastructure for hydrogen and green hydrogen production and a green hydrogen supply network ready, our fuel cell can use this hydrogen to produce green energy. 09:46 Maurizio DiPaolo Emilio: Yes, good. So I have another question for you. Only the last. What changes must occur in the industry to make hydrogen more viable as a fuel? So that’s not only the many industry and applications I mentioned, but I can also see the automotive part, what do you think? 10:14 Max Fujita: For example, fuel for electric cars…that’s great for the car itself as there are zero carbon emissions! Of course, if we can cover 100% of green energy, that’s some great technology, but if we electrify everything not only for cars, but also for the home, I think green renewable energy can’t be saved at all. So, this means that for some parts of energy production we still have to use fossil energy to balance demand. Of course, the electrified society is very nice, but Panasonic is considered a kind of balance. We can cover an electrified society with renewable energy..but for the unbalanced part using hydrogen also in the automotive field for the fuel cell car and electric vehicles..we need some kind of balance if we achieve a zero carbon society. We are 11:57 Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio: Excellent. Thanks a lot Max. Thank you for sharing such great information about hydrogen and your company. Thank you so much. It was my pleasure! 12:08 Max Fujita: Thank you very much, Maurizio. Thank you. good bye! .


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