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Suzuka City Uses Solar Electricity to Produce Hydrogen for FCVs

2017/08/09 18:36
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Institute
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The hydrogen station installed at the city hall (source: Nikkei BP)
The solar power generation system installed at the city hall (source: Nikkei BP)

The government of Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture, Japan, established a hydrogen supply system combining a solar power generation system and hydrogen production equipment and started to use hydrogen as a fuel for fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs).

A hydrogen station for official vehicles was built on a roundabout located to the west of the city hall. The government had an opening ceremony for the station and started full-scale operations at the end of May 2017. The total project cost is about ¥165 million (approx US$1.5 million), about ¥118 million of which is covered by a subsidy that the Ministry of the Environment provides for the introduction of regional renewable energy-based hydrogen stations.

The hydrogen station is "Package-type Smart Hydrogen Station (SHS)," which was jointly developed by Honda Motor Co Ltd and Iwatani Corp. The station features a high-pressure water electrolysis system and can store high-pressure hydrogen without using a compressor. It has a production capacity of 1.5kg/day and a normal pressure of 35MPa and can store about 19kg of hydrogen.

At the city hall, a solar power generation system with an output of about 30kW was built on its roof in October 2016, and all the electricity generated is consumed in the hall. On clear days, solar electricity is used as part of the energy for hydrogen production via the power system of the city hall during daylight hours.

In Suzuka City, Honda's "Clarity" FCV was introduced as an official vehicle by using a leasing method (¥115,000 per month). With 1.5kg of hydrogen, which the SHS can produce per day, the FCV can run about 150km (93.2 miles).

The government of Suzuka City formulated "Suzuka City Hydrogen Society Roadmap" in February 2016, aiming to introduce 210 FCVs and two hydrogen stations by 2020 and 4,900 FCVs and eight hydrogen stations by 2030. The hydrogen station that was installed at the city hall this time is used only for the city's official vehicles. But the city government expects that the second station will be installed by a private company for commercial use.