Asahi Kasei Powers Ahead with Hydrogen Pilot Plant, The Aqualyzer™

Asahi Kasei Powers Ahead with Hydrogen Pilot Plant, The Aqualyzer™

May 16, 2024 0 By John Max

Ashai Kasei completes important milestone.

In its efforts to further speed up its hydrogen business, Asahi Kasei, has officially opened its new hydrogen pilot plant in Kawasaki, Japan. There, the Japanese technology company will test its new alkaline water electrolyzer system – Aqualyzer™ – under realistic conditions in a multi-module setup. This marks a major milestone for Asahi Kasei as it brings the company one step closer to realizing its 100-megawatt- (MW) class alkaline water electrolysis system for green hydrogen production.

Operation kicked off in March and became official in May.

Construction of the plant began at Asahi Kasei’s manufacturing site in Kawasaki in November 2022, with the plant opening in March 2024.

Although the hydrogen pilot plant has actually been up and running since March, it wasn’t until May 13 that it was officially declared open for operation. On that day, representatives of Asahi Kasei and company partners, including the Japanese government, celebrated the official opening of the commercial-scale facility in Kawaski.

The purpose of the pilot plant is to trial the operation of four 0.8 MW modules under realistic conditions.

Just how realistic are the conditions in the hydrogen pilot plant?

Asahi Kasei’s goal is to make commercial large-scale electrolysis systems with a capacity of up to 100 MW possible. In order to do this, the company needs to operate its four 0.8 MW Aqualyzer™ modules under realistic conditions. These include operating the systems during maintenance and low power supply at night. Additionally, the equipment has been developed to simulate fluctuating power input from renewable power sources like solar and wind.

Water Electrolysis - Asahi Kasei's Hydrogen Pilot Plant - Image Source - Business Wire

Water Electrolysis – Asahi Kasei’s Hydrogen Pilot Plant – Image Source: Business Wire

Using the data gathered from these tests, the company will further improve equipment, operation methods and control technology of the alkaline water electrolysis system.  

Commercialization planned for next year.

hydrogen news ebookAsahi Kasei’s multi-module approach is the key to easy scale-up.  The company plans to combine up to ten modules (each with a 10 MW capacity) to enable commercial large-scale electrolysis systems with an up to 100 MW capacity.

According to Masami Takenaka, Lead Executive Officer at Asahi Kasei (and who is also in charge of its hydrogen business), the company believes that successfully operating their equipment in the hydrogen pilot plant “will be a door opener for commercial large-scale multi-module alkaline water electrolyzers and eventually the realization of a hydrogen society.” This makes the test facility not only a milestone for Asahi Kasei, but for the global hydrogen industry as well.

Asahi Kasei aims to begin commercial business activities for its Aqualzyer™ in 2025.

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