Japanese multinational company Asahi Kasei has commenced construction of an alkaline water electrolysis pilot test plant at its Kawasaki Works facility in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Construction and operation of the plant for hydrogen production is backed by the “Green Innovation Fund” of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

Operation of the plant is expected to commence in early 2024 after construction work, equipment installation and trial operation.

To ensure large-scale production of hydrogen, electrolysis equipment need to be compatible with fluctuating electrical power input produced from clean energy sources.

In an effort to address this issue, Asahi Kasei will launch a pilot plant consisting of many “Aqualizer” electrolyser modules to carry out several trial operations regarding responsiveness to power fluctuation and long-term durability in Kawasaki.

The system comes with a changeable configuration with 1–4 water electrolysis modules of 0.8MW.

Leveraging several modules, the behaviour of equipment under different conditions can be replicated. This enables verification and improvement of apparatus design, operation methods as well as control technology.

Additionally, the “Aqualizer” electrolyser is intended to replicate fluctuating output of renewable energy.

Currently, Asahi Kasei is progressing its hydrogen-related business focused on the alkaline water electrolysis system for hydrogen production developed by leveraging its expertise with the membrane process for chlor-alkali electrolysis.

Asahi Kasei deployed a 10MW-scale alkaline water electrolysis system at the Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R) as part of a project led by NEDO and carried out many trial operations since 2020.

Following the technological achievements gained at FH2R, the company intends to commercialise a larger-scale alkaline water electrolysis system consisting of several 10MW modules by 2025.

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Image: Operation of the plant is expected to commence in early 2024. Credit: Asahi Kasei /Business Wire.