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Solar Power-derived Hydrogen Powers Forklifts at Toyota's Factory

2017/03/25 02:24
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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The ceremony to celebrate the start of the project (source: Fukuoka Prefecture)

The government of Fukuoka Prefecture announced March 21, 2017, that it has performed a ceremony to celebrate the start of a project called "Introduction of Renewable Energy-derived Hydrogen Energy Management System for Local Production/consumption" at the Miyata Plant of Toyota Motor Kyushu Inc.

In the project, solar power-derived hydrogen is used at the manufacturing plant. The prefectural government, Toyota Motor Kyushu, Kyuden Technosystems Corp and Toyota Tsusho Corp formed a partnership for the project.

Solar power generation facilities were installed at the Miyata Plant, and solar electricity is used to electrolyze water and produce hydrogen. The hydrogen is stored in a tank and used as a fuel for fuel-cell forklifts, etc.

This is the first time in Japan that solar power-derived hydrogen has been used for fuel-cell forklifts at a manufacturing plant, according to the prefecture. It plans to install a stationary fuel cell system and establish "Hydrogen EMS (energy management system)," which optimally operates and controls machines that are used for different purposes and in different time slots such as vehicles and power generation equipments, in fiscal 2017.

When there is surplus solar electricity, it is used in the plant. Also, it can be used as a backup power source when the power grid goes down. The project will reduce the amount of power coming from the power grid and cut CO2 emissions by about 50%, compared with the case where conventional electric forklifts are used, according to the prefecture.