Hitachi Energy has unveiled a hydrogen-powered generator demonstration unit capable of producing emissions-free power for permanent or temporary applications.
The plug-and-play generator called the HyFlex comes in a medium and high-power variant, offering 400 kVA to 600 kVA and 1 MVA of power, respectively. Hitachi said the units are especially useful where power grid connections are impractical and where diesel generators are not an option, such as construction sites in remote locations or noise and pollution-sensitive cities.
Other potential applications include providing power for mining sites, data centers, and ships, or as emergency backup energy for hospitals and hotels.
The new generator models offer an alternative to diesel-powered generators, known to emit more than three-quarters of a ton of emissions every hour, while the hydrogen-powered solution produces only alternating current, usable heat, and water.
“We are delighted to unveil this pioneering solution that decarbonizes hard-to-abate applications,” said Marco Berardi, head of grid and power quality solutions and service at Hitachi Energy. “As the transition to Net Zero progresses, more and more industries are looking for reliable ways to reduce their environmental impact and improve operational performance.”
Sweden-based fuel cell manufacturer, PowerCell Group, is helping develop the technology alongside Hitachi, providing power cell module production.
New Generator Expands Hitachi’s Growing Green Hydrogen Portfolio
Along with the generator, Hitachi also offers power-to-hydrogen, also known as grid-to-stack, platforms for electrolyzer systems.
Electrolyzers are able to produce hydrogen by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, and powering them with renewable energy allows for emissions-free energy generation. Hitachi provides hydrogen-based energy storage systems to support power facilities implementing electrolyzers. Hitachi has provided such a system for a 20-megawatt electrolyzer in Sweden and reportedly will offer a similar grid-to-stack solution for another 20 MW project in Finland.
Hydrogen storage is especially important as a backup for green energy sources and has been identified as the most optimal storage solution for intermittent renewable energy sources. Hitachi said hydrogen provides a necessary complement for electricity, the “backbone of our sustainable energy future,” and green hydrogen may decarbonize current and new uses of hydrogen energy, which is currently produced predominantly using fossil fuels.
Hitachi expects to launch a movable version of its HyFlex generator for use in temporary situations in late 2024, then plans to release a permanently deployable variant in 2025.