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Tottori Prefecture, Tottori Gas, Sekisui House and Honda cooperate in hydrogen demonstration; smart house and FCV

Tottori Prefecture, Tottori Gas Co., Ltd, Sekisui House Ltd. and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. signed an agreement to pursue jointly Tottori Prefecture’s project to establish a base for a hydrogen energy demonstration (and environmental education). This will be Japan’s first case where hydrogen energy will be utilized through the integration of a hydrogen station which creates hydrogen from renewable energy, a smart house and a fuel cell vehicle (FCV).

The purpose of this project is to promote the popularization of smart houses and FCVs. The project will install, for the first time on the Sea of Japan side of the archipelago, a Smart Hydrogen Station (SHS) using Honda’s high-differential-pressure electrolyzer that supplies hydrogen created by electrolysis of water using renewable energy. Honda will also supply its new Clarity fuel cell vehicle.

At the demo base, a Smart Hydrogen Station (SHS) and solar panels will create and supply hydrogen to a FCV. A Sekisui House already existing within the same property will be turned into a smart house which will get a power feed from the fuel cell of a FCV. Further, a new facility will be built for the purpose of offering environmental education to promote enhancement of public awareness toward the utilization of hydrogen energy.

The SHS and solar panels will be installed on the property of Tottori Gas Group (located in Gotandacho in Tottori City). Using electricity generated from a solar power generation system, this SHS will create and supply hydrogen to a FCV. In the meantime, an exhibition building of Sekisui House already existing within the same property will be turned into a smart house.

Visitors will be able to have firsthand experience with technologies and systems that enable an environmentally-responsible, comfortable and smart lifestyle, including power feeding from the fuel cell of a FCV to a smart house.

In addition, a new facility will be built within the same property for the purpose of offering environmental education for people of all ages.

Tottori Prefecture will bear a portion of the SHS installation cost and the cost of installing a smart house and study area. Tottori prefecture will also act as a liaison among four parties.

Tottori Gas will be responsible mainly for installing and operating the SHS. Sekisui House will be responsible mainly for designing and installing the smart house.



Halve the panels halve the storage and electrolysis / BATTERY! house and change the mushroom farm into a playpen.
Looks more like a boondoggle good for reviving 'the economy'
Otherwise a good thing, cute.


More "moon shot" technology trying to justify hydrogen LOL

Just use a BEV and let's move on with life, for God's sake. This is embarrassing. It's like watching someone compulsively do the Hookie-Pokie every time they want to tie their shoes. This is silly, unnecessary and a total waste of time, energy and money.


Smart hydrogen station? Smart house? All this to justify their fuel cell car? A fuel cell car is what you build when you were not smart enough to design the Tesla.


A big hand to Honda for H2 and associated clean energy development.

This could justify switching from our current excellent 46 mpg Toyota (Camrys and Prius) Hybrids to near future (cleaner) all weather extended range Toyota-Honda-Hyundai FCEVs.

Roger Pham

>>>>"Storing extra power in the form of H2 would be worse than storing it in batteries. By far."

Ok, let's do some math:
1) At 35-40% round-trip efficiency for H2 from RE, electricity to electricity, the cost of 1 kWh delivered from storage would be, assuming 6-cent /kwh electricity:
[{(6 cents / 0.8) + 1.5 c electrolysis plant depreciation } /0.5 eff of FC] + 2 c depreciation of FC = 20 cents per kWh from H2 storage. The H2 will be stored in existing NG reservoirs at no additional cost. Even when stored in carbon fiber tanks at $15 per kWh for 10,000 cycles at 80% DOD, the additional cost would be only negligible at 0.2 cent per kWh.

Storing RE from electricity to purely heat, or combined heat and power, would have 75-80% round-trip efficiency, and would cost even less: (6 c / 0.8) + 1.5 c electrolysis plant depreciation = 9 cents /kWh for 100% heat, and 10 c to combined heat and power due to the 1 c depreciation cost of FC per kWh.

2) At 80% round trip efficiency for battery storage from RE, the cost of each kWh delivered from storage: (6 c / 0.8) + 18.75 c cost of battery depreciation = 26.25 cents per kWh from battery storage..
Battery depreciation is calculated assuming $300 per kWh and 2000 cycles at 80% DOD, so $300 / 1600 kWh = $0.1875. This is without taken into account the cost of borrowing of the $300 / kWh of that battery over 10-15 years. If an investment of $300 is made for 15 yrs at 4% annual interest, would result in $540 in 15 years, so $540 /1,600 kwh = $0.34 per kWh, added to this the $0.075 electricity cost, will give 41.5 cents per kWh from battery storage, vs 20 cents per kWh from hydrogen storage

So, please kindly give the data to support your contention that storing extra power in the form of H2 would be far worse?

If the cost of excess RE power is less than 6 cents per kWh, say 3 cents per kWh, then H2 storage, from electricity to electricity, would cost much less than 20 cents per kWh, now down to 12.5 c per kWh, while battery electricity would not change much, at 22.5 cents per kWh when drawn from storage.
H2 e-storage from electricity to heat would cost very little, 5.25 cents per kWh delivered as 100% heat, or 6.25 cents per kWh for combined 50% power and 50% heat.

Significant amount of energy used daily is for hot water production. A home-based FC turned on at sun-down can use the H2 produced from solar PV during the day, for both home electricity AND for water heating for bathing and dish washing and laundry later. In this usage, the round-trip efficiency of H2 is equal to the round-trip efficiency of battery, yet at much lower cost, at 1/2 to 1/3 the cost!

Natural Gas for comparison:
NG at $12 per MMBTU at the pump will cost about 4 cents per kWh thermal energy. At 25% thermal efficiency, this will cost about 16 cents per kWh delivered by the engine. Engine depreciation cost at $3,000 for 150k miles will be 6 cents per kWh delivered at the shaft, assuming 3 miles per kWh. So, NG will cost 22 cents per kWh of power at the engine shaft.
Since Japan and Germany have no NG reserve, H2 would be a sensible replacement for NG at competitive cost when the cost of solar and wind will be around 6 cents per kWh, when the H2 is used for transportation, AND when RE will cost 3 cents per kWh, when the H2 will be used for heating or Combined Heat and Power.

Gasoline for comparison:
Gasoline at $2.5 per gallon will cost about 7.4 cents per kWh thermal energy. At 25% thermal efficiency, this will cost about 30 cents per kWh as delivered by the engine. Same engine depreciation cost as above will result in 36 cents per kWh at the engine shaft.


"..a household using the Home Energy Station are 30% lower than those for an average household using a gasoline-engine car and commercial electricity and heat."
So when you use combined heat and power with a natural gas to hydrogen fueling unit, you save money and lower pollution.

Roger, I just want to say I appreciate your making a case for your position using an economic model.

I don't agree wjth some of your assumptions, especially like "The H2 will be stored in existing NG reservoirs at no additional cost." which is pure fantasy, but do appreciate you made an attempt to explain alternate scenarios that have a better relationship to reality.

We are seeing right now today in Southern California that storing gas in underground reservoirs does not come withiut cost, or risk.


Nice work Roger, now can you show us the numbers for NG when using a methane fueled fuel cell?


Another thought: "Storing extra power in the form of H2 would be worse than storing it in batteries. By far."

This all depends on what's your yardstick. Roger gave us the numbers for dollars & cents - that's his yardstick. My yardstick is climate change. Which is better in GWP emissions?


It depends on scale, if you are storing 10 kWh it may be one method, when storing 1000 kWh it may be another.


More considerations.
Practicality and cost:

Remote occasional motor vehicle requirement that includes tractor or lawn equipment.

Cost of infrastructure required is battery(s) and X number solar panels.

The solar panels if undersized can be very modest at say $1000 / KW for a twenty year lifetime.
One kilowatt of panels is relatively portable.

Larger arrays would lose portability but the cost would advantage the BEV option at twice the rate for F.C. owing to the 2X relationship.
Lets be generous and assume on board DC booster can take care of matching.

Lets be generous again and also consider that we can only operate one machine at a time.
Assume that the batteries are (can be) designed as swappable so the total requirement is for the max for any single vehicle requirement.

Say over the top battery pack $20K.
No cost for batt management.===$0K
The FC pack ------------------$2K.
Total cost--------------------$22K.

The cost of the non swappable there are lets say 5 vehicles.
1 lawn tractor
2 push mower
3 motorcycle
4 car
5 sawmill.
the same 1KW energy production requirement.

For The cost of the non swappable F.C. option, we will use a near fantasy give away costing.

5 x < $4K F.C's.------$20K
2 @x $1K = $2Kpanels.--$2K
2KW batt pack----------$2K
Electrolyse @ say ----$6K
Pump and intermediate
storage say---------- $5K
Bat management---------$0K
Total--------------- $35K

The battery(s) required to support fuel cell is smaller.
Lets average and say 10% of pure bev.

There is a requirement for dedicated plumbed f.c and tank or would it be possible to have a bank of F'c's?

I don't think it would be very easy but possible to build along the lines of a gang of small portable air compressors.

But then there is H2 high pressure Q.C. coupling and high pressure gasses to consider. UNLIKELY TO MEET OH&S certification.

Both above options are imaginary but demonstrate one realistic way of looking at the problem.

Lets assume similar average weight for the two options across the fleet.
The Xtra battery weight trades against added fuel cell. But FC requires 2X extra panels, electrolysis,interim storage tank, travelling storage tank(s) means we lose portability and adds to complexity as well as cost.

Roger Pham

@ai vin,
>>>>>>>" can you show us the numbers for NG when using a methane fueled fuel cell?"

As of June 2014, Solid Oxide Fuel Cell that can utilize NG directly is still too expensive, far more expensive than Engine-based Gen-set. NG burns very cleanly in engines and extra-large muffler is used to keep the noise level to below 67 dB. See below:

The H2 would best be produced in large electrolysis plants to take advantage of economy of scale and high efficiency. The Solar PV's are best used in Utility solar farms to halve the cost per kW. The H2 will be stored in large-scale underground caverns to reduce cost.

Only then that the cost of H2 be competitive. The H2 produced will be flowed into residential piping to reach end-users, and be flowed to H2 stations where the H2 will be compressed and dispensed to FCEV's.


eci said:

'I don't agree wjth some of your assumptions, especially like "The H2 will be stored in existing NG reservoirs at no additional cost." which is pure fantasy,'

Assertion without any documentation.
What is fantasy is the notion that by magic a lot of renewables can be used in the grid outside the tropics using only batteries for storage.

So show us the numbers for how your renewable society would work without hydrogen, instead of trolling every thread about hydrogen.

Davemart, I know it's hard to pass up any opportunity to be nasty, but do give the consequences some thought.

If you have a reference to a credible source that says that hydrogen can be stored at no cost in underground reservoirs, which is what Roger has claimed, by all means, please post it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

"In three months, one failed well at Southern California Gas Co.'s Aliso Canyon storage field has spewed more greenhouse gases than any other facility in California. At its height, the leak more than doubled the methane emissions of the entire Los Angeles Basin and surpassed what is released by all industrial activity in the state."

Sheldon Harrison

Boy, this is tireless. Batteries are really, really great, until you need to store a lot of power over long periods. You see, batteries have a fatal flaw in that department. All of their storage capacity is tied up and locked into bonds between the materials of which they are made.

It inherently limits their capacity and ensures that they will ALWAYS cost more to store a given unit of energy (if the energy is needed over a long duration) than almost any other storage solution, H2 via cavern, tank or other storage media included. One possible exception being hydride storage which suffers similar problems as batteries.

You will never be storing weeks of energy capacity with batteries because the materials alone that make the battery will cost roughly an order of magnitude more than the materials to contain a fluid fuel, H2 included. It is the square versus cubic relationship between a tank where one is concerned primarily with surface area versus batteries, hydrides etc. where we are dealing with cubic material requirements. To make matters worse, batteries tend to require materials that have higher embedded energy and higher scarcity values like lithium etc. when compared with the materials for tanks like steel, aluminum, carbon fibre etc.

In a nutshell, Davemart is correct. We will not be running an industrial society on batteries. They are simply not up to the job. Both Japan and Germany understand this. The countries that are less enthusiastic tend to have large fossil reserves (CH4 anyone)


Calling something "fantasy" with no supporting evidence is useless.

SJC, on its face, the idea that any company is going to store H2 or any other gas in a vast underground reservoir "at no additional cost" is fantasy. You can debate that, but rebuttal to ludicrous assertions like that do not require supporting evidence.

Despite that, I did post a link to one of the most consequential environmental catastrophe's related to storing gas in underground reservoirs in California's history. Which just coincidentally happens to be current news. Hundreds of people have been moved from their home (at the expense of Southern California Gas Co.) There have been serious health consequences to the affected population. The litigation will drag on for many years.

As SCG's insurance company if gas can be stored "at no additional cost" anywhere, in any form.

Sheldon, I appreciate your reasoned post. You're certainly entitled to your view. There are many grid-scale battery companies that would debate your point, and a few hydrogen companies that would support it.

But we see regular announcements grid scale battery projects on the pages of GCC here on a fairly regular basis. Not so many commercial projects with Hydrogen. A few pilot projects to be sure.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that these batteries will be used for seasonal storage, or even weeks for a metro area. It very well may be the someone figures out how to make Hydrogen cost-effective for grid-scale storage. I'd be delighted if that happened.

But since we're all speculating on the commercial viability of future technologies, there's plenty of room for diverging views.

In the meantime, what is actually being used in the real world on commercial scale is pumped hydro and molten salts.


Conditions are not the same in many places.

We currently have a huge surplus of clean Hydro + Wind e-energy for the next 15 years or so. Instead of spending a few $$B to build more ground and underground high voltage power lines to sell this clean energy for under $0.05/kWh to USA's North Eastern States we could.

1. Use the current surplus to supply 200+ large public H2 stations, at local industrial rate (0.028/kWh for 24/7 usage and/or under $0.01/kWh for off peak demands hours = for about 7200 hours/year) using existing e-distribution network (grid).

2. Add more Hydro + Wind energy and boast the grid on an as required basis to satisfy increased local demand.

3. This would create more local permanent jobs, reduce our 100% Oil importation, reduce our current clean e-energy surpluses, increase Quebec-Hydro profits, reduce GHG and pollution etc.

4. We could continue to sell 30+ terra-watt hours/year of clean e-energy to USA (at $0.08 to $0.10/kWh) without expending the grid.

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