TECH & CULTURE

Namie - Japan's Green Hydrogen Center

By Staff Writer
November 11, 2022
Japan recently announced a bold plan to cut carbon emissions by 46% by 2030, and achieve full carbon neutrality by 2050. To achieve this, clean renewable energy sources are an absolute must. While many countries are pursuing their own energy mix solutions, Japan is investing in the development of hydrogen as an energy source for transportation, industry, power generation, and more.
A hydrogen filling station in Japan
Hydrogen filling stations like this one can be regularly supplied with green hydrogen produced at Namie.
There are many ways of producing hydrogen, which are called gray, blue, or green depending on the amount of carbon emissions they produce. Green hydrogen is the most environmentally friendly, being produced with zero emissions by using non-polluting energy to electrolyze water into oxygen and hydrogen.

To prove the feasibility of large-scale green hydrogen production, the government-affiliated New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), together with a consortium of corporate partners has built the Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R) in the town of Namie, in Fukushima Prefecture. The facility can produce over 1,200 Nm3 of hydrogen every hour, powered by a surrounding 20 MW solar panel farm.
The FH2R hydrogen production plant in Namie and its solar power field
The FH2R facility at Namie produces hydrogen by using solar-generated electricity to electrolyze water
When it began production, it was the largest green hydrogen production facility in the world. It was hoped that the success of FH2R would demonstrate the feasibility of green hydrogen production and lead to more such facilities being developed worldwide. So far, the idea seems to be catching on, with newer and even larger facilities being built in Europe, China, and the Middle East.

The hydrogen facility also has a symbolic importance. Namie is located close to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant, which suffered a meltdown following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tohoku region. The residents of the town had to be evacuated for several years, and the local economy suffered serious damage as a result. The leaders of the Namie hope that FH2R, and the other hydrogen research and development facilities planned for the area will bring needed jobs and sustainable growth for the town.
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