DOE inks deal with Japanese firm for hydrogen application in power generation

Published April 9, 2021, 8:00 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The Department of Energy (DOE) has inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Japanese firm Hydrogen Technology Inc. (HTI) on targets to deploy hydrogen applications for power generation.

With this new pact firmed up with Tokyo-based HTI, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi stated that the Philippines would be able “to fast-track its research and development (R&D) activities for hydrogen.”

This is already the second agreement that the energy department has inked with foreign entities – the first one was with an Australian firm Star Scientific Ltd.– both in the intent of exploring hydrogen as technology alternative in meeting the country’s energy needs.

Cusi emphasized that with the creation of the hydrogen and fusion energy committee, the DOE will examine the potential of hydrogen “as a viable alternative and cleaner source of energy and its other beneficial applications.”

The energy chief stressed “with the assistance of HTI and through the signing of the MOU, we are hopeful that the development of hydrogen energy will eventually be realized.”

In particular, the deal enjoins the parties “to investigate hydrogen production in the Philippines to make the country energy independent and significantly reduce the country’s CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions.”

HTI President and CEO Yasuhiro Yamamoto conveyed that his company has been “wanting to bring the model here in the Philippines, so that we can do the trial usage of the technology in one of the islands,” albeit he has not specified the targeted site.

He added that with the signing of the MOU, the hydrogen model being dangled for the Philippine power generation sector could be immediately shipped into the country.

On the part of the government, Cusi assured the Japanese firm that the DOE “will help facilitate the entry of its technicians if needed, given the restricted movements because of the current Covid-19 pandemic.”

As noted by experts, hydrogen could help resolve various energy challenges – including the need to store variable output from renewables like solar photovoltaic (PV) as well as wind, so that even with intermittent generation, they could have stored capacity that can be dispatched as needed in a power grid.

Beyond the energy sector, this technology is also an excellent succor to the decarbonization efforts of many systems around the world – including those in long-haul transport systems, chemicals as well as the iron and steel industries.

Hydrogen can similarly be transported by gas pipelines or in liquid form by ships – which is very much like the transport system being employed for liquefied natural gas.

Such resource can also be transformed into electricity and methane to power homes and feed key industries, such as fuels for cars, trucks, ships and planes.