Content - Swiss-Japanese project for first power-to-gas plant

  • December 15, 2017

Swiss-Japanese project for first power-to-gas plant

Tokyo (SCCIJ) - Swiss clean-tech company Hitachi Zosen Inova from Zurich, the former AE&E Inova AG together with its subsidiary AE&E KRB AG, and its Japanese parent company Hitachi Zosen Corporation are to deliver the technology for a power-to-gas plant in Japan, which will produce synthetic methane gas from carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2). This would be Japan’s first power-to-gas plant. Its technology allows to capture the carbon dioxide of an existing coal-fired thermal power and use it for the production of synthetic natural gas. The test facility is supposed to prove the feasibility of large power-to-gas plants in Japan.

Hitachi Zosen Inova in Switzerland

Profound experience

As part of Japan’s efforts to bring about a long-term reduction in its existing CO2 emissions, the country’s first power-to-gas plant of its kind is to be built within the next 18 months. The turnkey contract for the plant has been awarded to the Japanese enterprise Hitachi Zosen Corporation and its Swiss subsidiary Hitachi Zosen Inova.  

Both companies have profound experience in the engineering and construction of such plants. Their client, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), is active in the evaluation of technological solutions to produce synthetic natural gas using CO2 from coal and has entrusted the Japanese parent company to develop technologies to effectively use CO2.  

Use of excess renewable electricity

The aim of the power-to-gas technology, to be developed by Hitachi Zosen in Japan and Switzerland, is to balance the supply and demand for power in electricity networks with renewable energy. To do this, synthetic methane is produced using excess electricity and this can be stored to be used as a carbon-free vehicle fuel or transformed back into power and fed into the grid to compensate in times of peak demand.  

This marks the first joint project for both companies in the power-to-gas area, and represents a major step with regard to further developments. This pilot project in Japan will be commissioned in 2018/19. The new facility will take fossil CO2 emissions and combine them with hydrogen to produce synthetic methane which will then be fed into an existing gas grid. Acting as general contractor, the Japanese parent will deliver a proton exchange membrane electrolyzer, which produces hydrogen from electricity and water.  

In addition to the EtoGas catalytic reactor for the methanation process, the Swiss subsidiary will deliver tried-and-tested plate reactors specially adapted to handle different CO2 sources. This process facilitates active decarbonization of the gas grid, thus making an important contribution to a CO2-free economy. “This power-to-gas plant technology has considerable potential to become a key mainstay of a CO2-neutral future”, said Wolfgang Beez, the Swiss CEO of Hitachi Zosen Inova EtoGas, stressing the significance of this project.  

About Hitachi Zosen Inova (Switzerland)

Hitachi Zosen Inova was founded in 1933 as “L. von Roll Bamag Aktiengesellschaft”. It was originally a department of “Gesellschaft der Ludwig von Roll’schen Eisenwerke”, a steel mill and foundry that dates back to 1823. The purpose of the new department was to focus on thermal waste treatment. In 1960 Von Roll opened its first offices in Germany and Japan, core markets at that time. In 1966, subsidiaries were founded in France and Sweden, and in 1975, the company established a presence in the USA where it built some of the world’s largest plants.  

In 2003, the Von Roll Inova Group was acquired by the AE&E Group, a member of A-Tec Industries AG. AE&E was an industrial group with a global reach in thermal energy generation and environmental technologies. By the end of 2010, AE&E Inova AG together with its subsidiary AE&E KRB AG were sold to Hitachi Zosen Corporation, which brought the company a new name and new partnerships.  

About Hitachi Zosen Corporation (Japan)

Hitachi Zosen Corporation (HZC) has been a licensing associate of Hitachi Zosen Inova AG for more than 50 years and using the former Von Roll Technology. During this time, HZC has implemented its partner’s core technology in more than 200 energy-from-waste plants in Japan, China and other countries throughout East Asia. Hitachi Zosen Inova AG and Hitachi Zosen Corporation combine the competencies of two strong partners in the energy-from-waste sector.  

The acquisition of the “Kompogas” technology in 2014 completes the portfolio of Hitachi Zosen Inova, and therefore the company extends its position as one of the world’s leading providers of energy-for-waste plants and solutions. With both, thermal and biological treatment of waste, Hitachi Zosen Inova is able to address the specific market requirements emerging from the separate collection of biogenic waste.  


Text: Hitachi Zosen Inova; Photo: Hitachi Zosen Inova

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