In the face of mounting environmental concerns, the quest for sustainable energy solutions is more critical than ever. Hitachi Energy, a global leader in technology, has taken a significant step forward in this endeavor. On November 21, 2023, at a notable event in Gothenburg, Sweden, the company proudly unveiled the HyFlex carbon-free emission demonstration unit. This event, graced by 100 senior representatives from various industries worldwide, marked a milestone in the collaboration between Hitachi Energy and its technology partner, PowerCell Group. This partnership, forged in 2021, focuses on developing hydrogen power generators, an innovative venture in sustainable energy.
Hitachi Energy, renowned for its expertise in grid connection and power quality solutions, is at the forefront of developing technologies that enable the integration of renewable energy into reliable and resilient power grids. The PowerCell Group complements this endeavor by providing essential power modules and expertise in fuel cell integration.
A crucial aspect of this development is the stark contrast between hydrogen power generators and traditional diesel generators. The HyFlex generator is a paradigm of environmental sustainability, producing only AC power, usable heat, and water, with zero emissions. In comparison, a typical 1 MVA diesel generator, running at full load, consumes about 225 kg of diesel per hour and emits a staggering 720 kg of CO2. This comparison highlights the profound environmental benefits of adopting hydrogen-powered solutions.
The HyFlex generator, designed for both temporary and permanent installations, is a versatile and scalable solution, especially in scenarios where connecting to power grids is impractical or impossible, and diesel generators are not a viable option. The medium-power variant, suitable for temporary installations, is designed for 400-600 kVA, while the high-power variant is tailored for permanent installations, providing 1 MVA or more per unit. These units can be installed in parallel to meet specific power needs.
Marco Berardi, the Head of Grid & Power Quality Solutions and Services at Hitachi Energy, expressed his enthusiasm for this pioneering solution. “We are delightedly unveiling this pioneering solution that decarbonizes hard-to-abate applications. As the transition to Net Zero progresses, more and more industries around the world are looking for reliable ways to reduce environmental impact and improve operational performance,” he said.
Looking ahead, Hitachi Energy plans to launch a movable variant of this eco-friendly generator, targeting temporary deployment in 2024 and permanent deployment in 2025. This development is particularly noteworthy because the hydrogen generator does not require high-pressure hydrogen cylinders, enhancing safety. Even in the event of a leak, only a small quantity of hydrogen would escape, making it significantly safer than traditional diesel generators.
Moreover, the versatility of hydrogen in storing energy over extended periods and converting it back to power when needed is a key feature of this technology. In addition to hydrogen-to-power solutions, Hitachi Energy’s portfolio includes power-to-hydrogen solutions for electrolyzer systems. These systems optimize the entire power supply, from the high-voltage grid connection to the DC stack terminals of the electrolyzer. The company has contributed notably to this field, including delivering a grid-to-stack solution for a 20 MW electrolyzer in Sweden and a similar initiative in Finland.