Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “Japan”

Toyota Brings a New Hydrogen Engine to the Market

Of all major car manufacturers, Toyota is the one that consistency stayed loyal to its belief that hydrogen could play a major role in future automobility. I believed that too, but recently so much progress has been achieved on both the battery and the electrolyzer front, that I now tend to believe that batteries and hydrogen will coexist, just like diesel and gasoline do today.

Read more…

First Liquid Hydrogen Exports From Australia to Japan

YouTube text:

The world’s first ever liquid hydrogen transport ship is on its way from Australia to Japan, carrying a cargo of brown hydrogen (made by gasifying brown coal with no carbon capture). Once it gets there, it’ll either be used to generate electricity or perhaps to fuel cars. Either way, it’ll be more expensive, more complicated and worse for the climate than if Australia just shipped coal for Japan to burn in a coal power plant.

So why am I a fan of this project? Finally, we are moving past the talking phase of the hydrogen economy and into the testing phase. How much energy will it take to transport liquid hydrogen thousands of kilometers? Will most of the liquid hydrogen boil off and leak out during the trip? Is there any way liquid hydrogen transport can ever be cost-effective? This project will help us answer these questions.

Just don’t called it “clean” energy.

Vattenfall Offers High-Temperature Heat Pump


Next year, Vattenfall will bring a new ‘plug-and-play’ high-temperature heat pump onto the market, that is suitable for older homes, eliminating the need to replace conventional radiators with an expensive floor heating. ‘Plug-and-play’ meaning: gas heater out, electric heat pump in. Temperatures: 70-90 C, power 6 kW base, 11 kW peak. The project is a joint-venture between Swedish Vattenfall, Dutch installer Feenstra, German hybrid heating manufacturer SOLVIS and the Japanese DENSO components and heat pump company. The hope is that over the entire season, a COP-value of 3 can be achieved.

The real advantage is that very high investments can be postponed. Vattenfall estimates that 2.8 million Dutch homes (out of 7 million in total) are suitable for this natural gas-free space heating solution. Another advantage is that the solution is available NOW, rather than having to wait for district heating or hydrogen. The medium in the thermodynamic cycle is CO2. The heat pump is rather bulky to accommodate a large water buffer, with stratified storage. The strategy is to slowly heat the storage during the day. When the inhabitants come home in the evening, the house can be warmed rapidly.

The heat pump is the result of 3 years R&D between Vattenfall and Feenstra and implemented in 20 test homes in Heemskerk. The winter of 2020-2021 had fairly cold days, but no complaints were registered.

[] – Vattenfall komt met warmtepomp voor oude woningen
[] – Van het aardgas af zonder ingrijpende verbouwing
[] – Bestaande woningbouw eenvoudig aardgasvrij
[] – Plug and play-warmtepomp voor ‘moeilijke’ huizen productierijp

Japanese Consortium to Build Electric Bunker Ship

Operational date: 2022
Consortium: Mitsui, Asahi Tanker and Mitsubishi
Cargo: 500 ton
Battery: 3.5 MWh
Power: 600 kW
Operational time: 6 hours, full load

[] – e5 Project
[] – 7 Japanese companies form e5 Consortium
[] – ‘e5 Consortium’ Established to Promote Zero-Emission Electric Vessel

Autonomous Floating Wind Electricity Ferry in Japan

Power ARK 100 – planned to be operational by 2025.

Island nation Japan is surrounded by very deep waters, eliminating the possibility of monopile-based wind farms. So floating wind must be applied. But laying cables in waters of many kilometers deep is problematic. So engineers of the company PowerX came up with a floating battery solutions. Unmanned ghost ships, stuffed with batteries with a cumulative capacity 200 MWh will be commuting between the floating OWFs and mainland Japan.

The Japanese government has OWF ambitions to the tune of 10 GW by 2030 and 30-45 GW by 2040. This electricity will have to be brought onshore, one way or the other.

[] – Transporting Offshore Wind Electricity by Automated Ships – A New Concept Emerges in Japan
[] – PowerX Announces Its Business to Innovate Power Storage and Transmission with “Power Transfer Vessels” and In-house Battery Manufacturing
[] – The automated vessel designed to transport electricity from offshore wind farms to shore

Sign of the Times – Olympic Hydrogen Flame

Tadahiko Mizuno Plasma Electrolysis

The experiment is said to be based on this:

Hydrogen has recently attracted attention as a possible solution to environmental and energy problems. If hydrogen should be considered an energy storage medium rather than a natural resource. However, free hydrogen does not exist on earth. Many techniques for obtaining hydrogen have been proposed. It can be reformulated from conventional hydrocarbon fuels, or obtained directly from water by electrolysis or high-temperature pyrolysis with a heat source such as a nuclear reactor. However, the efficiencies of these methods are low. The direct heating of water to sufficiently high temperatures for sustaining pyrolysis is very difficult. Pyrolysis occurs when the temperature exceeds 4000°C. Thus plasma electrolysis may be a better alternative, it is not only easier to achieve than direct heating, but also appears to produce more hydrogen than ordinary electrolysis, as predicted by Faraday’s laws, which is indirect evidence that it produces very high temperatures. We also observed large amounts of free oxygen generated at the cathode, which is further evidence of direct decomposition, rather than electrolytic decomposition. To achieve the continuous generation of hydrogen with efficiencies exceeding Faraday efficiency, it is necessary to control the surface conditions of the electrode, plasma electrolysis temperature, current density and input voltage. The minimum input voltage required induce the plasma state depends on the density and temperature of the solution, it was estimated as 120 V in this study. The lowest electrolyte temperature at which plasma forms is ˜75°C. We have observed as much as 80 times more hydrogen generated by plasma electrolysis than by conventional electrolysis at 300 V.

[] – Tadahiko Mizuno, Hydrogen Evolution by Plasma Electrolysis in Aqueous Solution (2005)
[] – Tadahiko Mizuno
[deepresource] – Australian Startup Claims it Can Cut Cost Electrolisys by a Third
[] – Hydrogen production by plasma electrolysis reactor of KOH-ethanol solution

Green Hydrogen Storage via Methylcyclohexane (C7H14)

The Japanese companies Eneos and Chiyoda claim to eventually be able to produce green hydrogen for a third of the cost of today. Through a patented electrolysis method, the cost of the equipment can be reduced to $3 per kilo hydrogen in 2030 and even to $2 later. The hydrogen will be stored in the liquid C7H14. And since the cost of a solar kWh in the desert is about 1 euro cent, the cost of the electrolyser equipment almost equals the total cost of hydrogen.

The method developed by Eneos and Chiyoda enables the electrolysis of water and toluene simultaneously, rather than through separate processes, to form methylcyclohexane (C7H14). This simplification of the process cuts equipment investment in half.

Liquid C7H14 will be supplied at ambient temperature to power plants and other facilities where hydrogen will be produced from it for energy. This is much more cost effective than delivering hydrogen, which must be transported at -253 ° C in a special container.

Conventional oil technology can be used to handle the methylcyclohexane at ambient conditions.

The upshot is that the world has now NH3, C7H14 and NaBH4 to choose from as possible carriers of hydrogen. No doubt there are many more chemical storage possibilities.

[] – Japan has found a way to reduce the cost of “green” hydrogen by two-thirds
[] – Japanese firms aim to slash hydrogen costs
[] – Introduction of Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier and the Global Hydrogen Supply Chain Project
[] – A final link in the global hydrogen supply chain

Demo plant in Brunei, realizing the world’s first hydrogen chain.

Read more…

NordLink Operational

Germany has a 2nd subsea power cable to Norway, called NordLink, connecting a large Norwegian hydro-buffer with German renewable energy sources to even-out intermittent power supply.

Construction start date: 2016
Trajectory: Wilster-Tonstadt
Subsea length: 516 km
Cost: 2 billion euro
Power: 1.4 GW
Operator: TenneT


[] – Deutschland nutzt Norwegen jetzt als Batterie
[] – NordLink
[deepresource] – Norway Wants to Become Europe’s Battery Pack (2012)

Toyota Plans Revolutionary Solid State Battery

A solid-state battery is a battery technology that uses solid electrodes and a solid electrolyte, instead of the liquid or polymer gel electrolytes found in lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries. Materials proposed for use as solid electrolytes in solid-state batteries include ceramics (e.g., oxides, sulfides, phosphates), and solid polymers. Solid-state batteries have found use in pacemakers, RFID and wearable devices. They are potentially safer, with higher energy densities, but at a much higher cost.

Challenges to widespread adoption include energy and power density, durability, material costs, sensitivity and stability.

A trip of 500 km on one charge. A recharge from zero to full in 10 minutes. All with minimal safety concerns. The solid-state battery being introduced by Toyota promises to be a game changer not just for electric vehicles but for an entire industry.

The technology is a potential cure-all for the drawbacks facing electric vehicles that run on conventional lithium-ion batteries, including the relatively short distance traveled on a single charge as well as charging times. Toyota plans to be the first company to sell an electric vehicle equipped with a solid-state battery in the early 2020s. The world’s largest automaker will unveil a prototype next year.

[] – Toyota’s game-changing solid-state battery en route for 2021 debut
[] – Solid-state battery

Post Navigation