Battery maker Panasonic is going green in an emphatic way. The company is testing running a manufacturing plant completely on renewable energy in Japan.
The 52-hectare test site, located in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture, near Kyoto, is trialing solar panels, hydrogen fuel cells, and Tesla’s Megapack batteries for 100 percent of its power.
The plant was originally built in 1969 to produce electronics, including refrigerators and air-conditioners. But it now makes energy fuel cells too.
The site uses a 78,000-liter hydrogen fuel tank and 1,820 PV solar panels to generate energy, which will be stored in 1.1 megawatts of Megapack batteries, all housed in the H2 Kibou Field.
The sustainable energy facility came online in April.
Panasonic displays the amount of energy being generated in real-time on a large display. It expects 80 percent to come from hydrogen fuel cells and the remaining made up by solar panels. The plant uses an Energy Management System that allows it to automatically switch between power sources.
It prioritizes solar production on sunny days and taps on the fuel cells on cloudy days.
Describing the hydrogen-power generation on the site, manager Norihiko Kawamura said, “This may be the biggest hydrogen consumption site in Japan. We estimate using 120 tons of hydrogen a year. As Japan produces and imports more and more hydrogen in the future, this will be a very suitable kind of plant.” (via CNBC).