Toshiba is building a system to store surplus power generated by renewable energy with special equipment in alliance with about 10 companies including Cable and Wireless Worldwide of Great Britain. The special equipment extracts hydrogen by electrolyzing water using surplus power. It will be possible to get electricity by operating a fuel cell using hydrogen as needed and supply hydrogen to fuel cell electric vehicles. The company will start an experiment in the Isle of Wight with the partner companies for three years beginning this November. The new system is scheduled to start operation in 2014.
Currently, a storage battery is the major player to absorb the output fluctuations of renewable energy. The storage battery will inevitably grow bigger in size as the introduction of renewable energy develops, and the storage cost will accordingly grow higher. The new system is based on a rather simple principle, and it can be disseminated at a low cost. Toshiba works on the design of the network between the power network and hydrogen storage facilities and the management of the energy management system. Cable and Wireless Worldwide addresses the system to collect data from fuel cell electric vehicles. Demand for hydrogen is expected to grow rapidly in the near future because Japanese automakers, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda, are scheduled to launch fuel cell electric vehicles in 2015. In addition, 100 hydrogen stations will also be ready for use inside Japan by 2015.
A hydrogen energy system using sunlight, water, and hydrogen