Mitsubishi boss calls for increased hydrogen supply and certification

A lack of green hydrogen and the absence of a clear differentiation between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ electrons is holding up the development of a hydrogen economy, the head of Mitsubishi Power has warned.

The UK’s Saltend power plant could run on 100% hydrogen but would run out within an hour, according to Mitsubishi Power’s chief executive (Image credit: Goldmanimages/Getty Images)

Javier Cavada, chief executive and president of Mitsubishi Power, part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, said that the demand and supply side of the new hydrogen industry had to grow together – just as in the power sector.

A hydrogen market requires a differentiation between hydrogen from different sources, he added. Currently, the price of electricity from a combined-cycle power plant running with heavy fuel oil “would be the same as if it was run with hydrogen or ammonia”, he said, adding that it was necessary “to be able to differentiate between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ electrons”.

Acknowledging that there were no 100% hydrogen power plants in commercial operation, Cavada said this was not due to commercial viability but a lack of hydrogen supply. He mentioned the example of Triton Power’s Saltend power plant, in the UK. “You could do 100% [hydrogen], but in an hour you will have used all the hydrogen available.”

Cavada noted that, as the delivery partner and investor in the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) hub near Salt Lake City, in the US, Mitsubishi was “putting our money where our mouth is”.

He said the company expected a fast payback on the project, which will initially receive solar power from California but look to diversify its supply in the future.

The ACES project will include a hydrogen storage cavern that can supply a 1.6GW power plant. Mitsubishi is supplying its electrolysers, which are being manufactured in Japan and Norway. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has a joint venture with Norway’s HydrogenPro, in which it acquired a stake in October 2020.

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