Japanese multinational conglomerate Toshiba has launched a new Hydrogen Energy Research & Development Center (HRDC) at its Fuchu Complex in western Tokyo.

The facility will primarily focus on Group-wide initiatives to realise a hydrogen economy, and also drive forward the development and demonstration of solutions integrating hydrogen-related energy technologies.

Toshiba seeks to increase the sales of hydrogen-related business to JPY100bn ($800m) by 2020.

Specifically, the centre will install a solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) and use it in combination with solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems, fuel cells. and other apparatus for demonstration experiments.

"Toshiba seeks to increase the sales of hydrogen-related business to JPY100bn ($800m) by 2020."

In addition, the HRDC will serve as an exhibition space for hydrogen-related technologies, in order to better understand customer requirements.

Toshiba aims to develop a practical energy supply system that uses renewable energy to power hydrogen-generating water electrolysis systems, followed by fuel cells to convert that hydrogen to electricity as and when needed.

The system will be deployed in locations having high electricity generation and transmission costs such as isolated islands and remote places. It is anticipated to help cut costs and achieve a stable electricity supply.

Toshiba already has essential technologies, including photovoltaic, wind, hydro and other renewable generation systems, water electrolysis systems and fuel cells for achieving a hydrogen economy. It also aims to establish a hydrogen supply chain by 2025.

The combined annual market scale for fuel cells and other hydrogen-related equipment and infrastructure is expected to reach JPY40tn ($494bn) by 2030.

Image: Toshiba’s newly opened Hydrogen Energy Research & Development Center in Tokyo. Photo: courtesy of Toshiba Corporation.