Toshiba Corporation, a leader of the development of technologies for the low carbon hydrogen economy, today unveiled Japan's largest alkaline water electrolysis hydrogen production system*1, pointing the way to low cost, high volume production of hydrogen for various applications. The system can produce approximately 100Nm3/h of hydrogen in an hour, an amount sufficient for two vehicles powered by fuel cells.
Alkaline water electrolysis uses an alkaline solution as the electrolyte in the hydrogen producing chemical reaction, removing the need for expensive precious metals in the system’s electrodes. Enlarging the electrodes and output capacity is cheaper than for other systems that do require precious metals, making alkaline water electrolysis suitable for high capacity systems.
Toshiba's new system also offers other advantages allowing use in cold regions; while the technologies optimizes the energy efficiency of the overall system and the purity of the hydrogen it produces.
Commenting on the new system, Mr. Hiroyuki Ota, General Manager of Toshiba's Energy Systems & Solutions Company, noted: "In recent years, hydrogen power has started to prove its value, as can be seen in the increasing use of stationary fuel cells, fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen power generation. This is stimulating demand for high capacity hydrogen production systems in locations like hydrogen fueling stations, and for efficient power utilization on mega solar power plants and wind farms. Toshiba already offers hydrogen solutions, including H2One™, our hydrogen-based autonomous energy supply system, and our new alkaline water electrolysis hydrogen production system positions us to meet diversifying needs for hydrogen production."
Toshiba has already demonstrated and tested a smaller version of the system as part of the "Regional Cooperation and Low-Carbon Hydrogen Technology Demonstration Project" funded by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment. Installed in the Shoro Dam in Shiranuka-cho, Shiranuka-gun, Hokkaido, the system produces approximately 35Nm3/h of hydrogen for a small community.
Alongside its work on the alkaline electrolysis system, Toshiba is also promoting other contributions to achieving a hydrogen economy. With the support of Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), it has developed a hydrogen production system with a next generation solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC), which is highly suited to high temperature, low power hydrogen production, and is investigating optimization according to application.
Going forward, Toshiba's Energy Systems & Solutions Company is a diverse technology provider and a world leader in hydrogen development for domestic plus ultimately global markets and will continue to contribute to realization of a hydrogen economy by developing hydrogen solutions from production through to use and support efficient use of hydrogen energy in diverse situations.
 Based on company data as of June 2016