Mar. 26, 2024
Sumitomo Corporation
Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.

The first deployment of a megawatt-class PEM electrolyser made overseas and imported into Japan for hydrogen production demonstration experiment

Sumitomo Corporation (President: Masayuki Hyodo, hereinafter "Sumitomo Corporation") and Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. (President: Shinichi Sasayama, "Tokyo Gas"), with the aim of conducting a joint hydrogen utilization demonstration ("the demonstration"), have installed on the premises of Tokyo Gas Yokohama Techno Station, a megawatt-class proton exchange membrane type (PEM)(*1) water electrolyser system (“the system”) developed by ITM Power PLC (“ITM”). This is the first operational verification in Japan using a megawatt-class PEM water electrolyser made overseas.

While hydrogen has the potential to contribute to carbon neutrality in a variety of ways, including through the decarbonization of heat use applications, production of e-methane(*2) (hereinafter "e-methane"), and enabling zero-emission power sources, its high production cost poses a challenge in terms of its utilization. In particular, significant cost reductions are essential for realizing clean hydrogen production using water electrolysers, and efforts have been made, especially in Europe, to increase the size and voltage of these systems.

Since entering their 2021 agreement(*3) to carry out this demonstration, Sumitomo Corporation and Tokyo Gas have been working on the legal and regulatory aspects of installing the system. After completing the manufacture of this system at ITM, it was transported by sea from the UK to Japan where it has been successfully installed at Tokyo Gas Yokohama Techno Station. ITM is one of the leading manufacturers of PEM water electrolysers in terms of large-scale equipment and mass production. The company has achieved a significant reduction in operating costs with their "NEPTUNE" electrolyser compared to general water electrolysers currently in use.
In the coming months, we plan to carry out construction and trial runs that are necessary for conducting operational verification, and to begin the demonstration in June 2024. In this demonstration, we will be conducting verification in various operation modes with the aim of evaluating the performance of the system, acquiring operational know-how on how to operate megawatt-class PEM water electrolysers, as well as know-how on coordinated operations between renewable energy sources, methanation systems, and hydrogen utilization equipment.
In addition, we plan to utilize the hydrogen produced by this system in the e-methane production demonstration(*4) that is being advanced by Tokyo Gas.

Sumitomo Corporation initiatives associated with hydrogen utilization

Sumitomo Corporation has been developing businesses to promote the production and use of clean hydrogen both domestically and internationally, and water electrolyser is a key technology in the hydrogen production projects that Sumitomo Corporation is promoting in Australia, Malaysia, Chile, and other countries. Through this demonstration, we will deepen our knowledge of operating water electrolysis technologies and utilize it in the development of future commercial projects.

Tokyo Gas initiatives associated with hydrogen utilization

 With the aim of "challenge to achieve Net-Zero CO2" as stated in our Group Management Vision "Compass 2030," Tokyo Gas is accelerating the development of diverse technologies to become carbon neutral. Hydrogen is the raw material for e-methane, and water electrolysers are an important technology for implementing e-methane in our world. Through this demonstration, we will acquire know-how on operating megawatt-class PEM water electrolysers, as well as on coordinated operations with methanation systems, etc., and we will utilize this knowledge for future social implementation of these systems going forward.

  1. Water electrolyser which uses Proton Exchange Membranes (PEM)
  2. Synthetic methane produced from non-fossil energy sources such as green hydrogen
  3. Commencing hydrogen demonstration experiment using megawatt-class water electrolyser (announced on July 7, 2021)
     Tokyo Gas announcement:
     Sumitomo Corporation announcement:
  4. Methanation demonstration tests were launched in fiscal 2021 (Tokyo Gas announcement on July 7, 2021)