Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is experimenting with a hydrogen storage system integrated with solar panels. The setup is also outfitted with controller software and large-scale Combined Heat and Power backup. Kitakyushu already has 100kW of distributed solar panels installed, along with 400kW of fuel cell storage and a small wind energy generator. A Community Energy Management System will convert excess renewable energy to hydrogen, while the fuel cells will deliver the stored electricity when needed. The hope is that hydrogen will prove to be a better storage solution than batteries, which have a larger footprint and higher tendency to lose energy.
The initiative is part of the country’s Smart City Portal program, which aims to “identify the optimum form for smart grids and smart cities in Japan”. Similar grid experiments being run in Yokohama, Toyota City, and Keihanna.
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