Panasonic’s perspective on hydrogen technology


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One of the problems that must be solved for the future of humanity is related to energy, global warming and the depletion of fossil fuels. Panasonic is deploying significant financial and technical resources to improve hydrogen technology applied in future cars and in our homes. In an interview with EE Times Europe, Junichi Suzuki, Chairman and CEO of Panasonic Europe B.V. Max Fujita, President of European Fuel Cells at Panasonic, spoke of plans to help shape and propel the hydrogen community along with its hydrogen technology. In the market. Hydrogen produces energy through a chemical reaction that includes oxygen, and the only by-product of the process is water. Renewable hydrogen is clean, highly efficient and an energy source that has no environmental impact. This is why Panasonic has continued its decades-old research and development on hydrogen. “Decarbonizing is a global issue and Panasonic’s philosophy is to contribute to protecting the environment with clean energy sources. Hydrogen is one of the elements that will contribute to the goal of reducing zero emissions.” Junichi Suzuki, Chairman and CEO of Panasonic Europe BV since 1999 We are developing fuel cells. And at that time, we extracted hydrogen and from hydrogen we used fossil fuels to produce energy and heat. In Japan, we have been launching products since 2009. We have done more than 200,000 facilities (the total number of hydrogen facilities in Japan is 360,000) to make hydrogen available as the preferred natural gas. We are cooperating with several European companies to contribute to the zero emissions impact through hydrogen fuel cell technology, which is our goal for the coming years, ”Fujita said. Max Fujita, European Fuel Cell Head at Panasonic Japan, was the first country to adopt a” hydrogen core strategy “and want Now to become the “hydrogen community.” Hydrogen and renewable energies Hydrogen is a very light gas, so it tends to bind to other atoms, thus creating more complex molecules. To be used as a fuel, it must therefore be “captured” by chemical processes. Hydrogen is the most widespread chemical element in the universe It can play an important role in achieving net zero emissions and others such as wind energy and geothermal energy.Clean or low-emission hydrogen can be produced through electrolysis process from renewable sources (green hydrogen) or through refining processes from fossil sources, especially natural gas, Combined with Carbon Capture and Storage (blue hydrogen) technology, which captures carbon dioxide and stores it in hot Legacy. Either way, the costs are much higher than that of producing gray hydrogen. Today, 90% of gray hydrogen is produced, which generates carbon dioxide and thus increases emissions. Increasingly developing high-performance technologies and increasing available renewable sources can reduce green hydrogen costs and make it more viable. Panasonic Roadmap Panasonic has been developing household fuel cells (micro-CHP / heat and power combined) since 1999 and launched the world’s first system, called ENE-FARM, in May 2009 in Japan, making it commercially available to produce electricity and hot water in homes. After its success in the Japanese market, Panasonic now intends to expand its operations to Europe and a new R&D center will be essential to achieving this goal. The domestic fuel cell currently in use in many homes and facilities is helping to put clean hydrogen technology on the map. Panasonic is working on several initiatives to use hydrogen in our homes. The speakers shed light on how they are working on a new technology to generate hydrogen using a proprietary photocatalyst technology and renewable solar energy. Speakers said, “We are also exploring all possibilities using the New Technology Pioneers in Energy and Environment Program, a program funded by the Japan New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and aims to implement it by 2030.” 2). Figure 1: How a solar hydrogen generating device works. When sunlight collides with the photocatalyst, hydrogen and oxygen are produced through the electrolysis of water (source: Panasonic) Figure 2: Complete studies on the entire value chain of hydrogen production, package and use (source: Panasonic) Panasonic’s goal is to deliver hydrogen directly to your doorstep so you can It produces energy with high efficiency and low cost. It also contributes to the development of future service stations for hydrogen compounds. On “Solar Kan Yamanashi Day”, Komikurayama, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, a test site for renewable energy, several solutions are being tested. The CHP small fuel cell generates electricity through a chemical reaction between oxygen in the atmosphere and hydrogen extracted from natural gas (methane, CH4). The heat generated is also used as a by-product of this process for home heating and hot water (Figure 3). Figure 3: A fuel cell and a hydrogen fuel cell (Source: Panasonic) The installation of a hydrogen fuel cell will enable a clean energy source to be produced. A home hydrogen fuel cell system like this can help reduce the causes of global warming instead of using traditional fossil fuels to generate electricity. In Japan, a home powered by an ENE-FARM fuel cell can save up to 1.5 tons of CO2 emissions each year compared to a home where electricity is provided by a heat plant and gas heating system. The strategy aims primarily to achieve cost parity with competing fuels, such as gasoline in the transportation sector or LNG in power generation, and encompasses the entire supply chain from production to final market applications. In Japan, everyone can buy a fuel cell car, for example. But it is very expensive and so the goal is to make some changes to the model in order to reduce cost as well as increase efficiency as well as durability with efficient infrastructure. ”In 2014, Toyota introduced the Mirai, the first commercial hydrogen-powered vehicle based on a hydrogen-powered, non-emitting battery. That is, carbon dioxide and can be recharged quickly. The second prototype of the Mirai is scheduled to be introduced in December 2020. Even in Japan, the hydrogen market is not yet economically viable. Speakers noted that all hydrogen and fuel cell technologies nowadays rely heavily on public funding. The strategy of Panasonic and Japan as a whole could have positive repercussions at the global level, in particular contributing to the creation of new synergies in international energy trade and trade cooperation. These partnerships will be essential to promoting development and making technologies more accessible. In the automotive field, a number of companies have established the joint venture. “Japan H2 Mobility (JHyM)” in 2017 to accelerate deployment of hydrogen distributors across Japan with the help of government subsidies.There were 12,900 fuel cell vehicles Worldwide at the end of 2018, about a quarter of it was produced by Japanese companies, including Honda and Toyota. The Japanese government’s roadmap envisages lowering the price premiums for fuel cell vehicles compared to hybrid vehicles. In order to increase the general public’s acceptance of hydrogen, fuel cell vehicles will also be used as an official transportation during the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. Another short-term project of the Japanese government is the hydrogen train. JR East Japan announced the development of a hybrid system train that combines fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries. Producing hydrogen with low-carbon energy is expensive at present: the cost of fuel cells, refueling stations, and electrolyzers can be reduced through the overall economy, and infrastructure development is needed. This article was first published on its sister site, EETimes Europe


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