There are many problems that need to be resolved for the future of mankind, including the depletion of fossil fuels (i.e., petroleum, coal), energy issues, and global warming. To fulfill our duty as an electronic manufacturer using electricity, one of the R&D projects that Panasonic is working on is hydrogen energy technology.
Hydrogen produces energy by a chemical reaction involving oxygen, and the only process byproduct is water. Hydrogen is clean and highly efficient and is a carbon-free energy with very low environmental impact. This is why Panasonic has continued with its R&D on hydrogen for over two decades.
We are already producing energy with hydrogen. Panasonic made household fuel cell commercially available in the Japanese market in 2009. This product uses hydrogen extracted from utility gas to make electricity and hot water in homes. The household fuel cell, currently being used in many houses and facilities, is contributing to the increasing popularity of this application.
There are now several initiatives in Panasonic to realize a hydrogen society where we can produce, store, and utilize hydrogen easily in our homes.
As part of developing future technologies, we are currently studying a solar hydrogen generation technology (photocatalyst) that produces hydrogen from water, by using our proprietary photocatalyst technology and renewable energy, namely sunlight. We are exploring every possibility of hydrogen production technology, including using the Energy and Environment New Technology Pioneer Program, a program funded by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), and aim to realize the technology by around 2030. Research is also underway to develop a high-density storage technology.
Future technology:How a solar hydrogen generation device works
When sunlight hits the photocatalyst, hydrogen and oxygen are produced through water electrolysis.
Assuming that a society where hydrogen is supplied to each home will be realized in the near future, Panasonic is working to develop a pure hydrogen-type fuel cell that allows us to produce electricity directly from hydrogen with high efficiency and low cost. We have installed prototype devices inside "Yume Solar-kan Yamanashi", Komekurayama in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, a field test site for renewable energy and next generation energy, and conducted electricity production performance tests from 2012. We are planning to continue with this field test.
Widespread use and evolution of pure hydrogen-type fuel cells and
inexpensive and carbon-free hydrogen production
creates a safe and comfortable hydrogen sciety.
Hydrogen energy is not just clean energy, it can also provide a stable power supply even during an emergency. It is expected to become a power source for homes and societies in the future. Panasonic continues the development to realize this potential from people's homes.