International Correspondents

Hydrogen from By-Product of Water Purification

At the Asaka Water Purification Plant in Saitama prefecture, which borders on Tokyo, a test is being conducted to verify whether hydrogen, a by-product from manufacturing chlorine, can be used to power an electric car.

In the process of separating salt water in order to create the chlorine (sodium hypochlorite), used for water purification, a significant amount of hydrogen is emitted. Until now, there has been no method of utilising that hydrogen and thus it has been released into the atmosphere. The idea is to capture this hydrogen, to compress it in order to create electricity that would be utilised to supply fuel cell vehicles. This is the first trial of this kind ever run in Japan.

In addition to creating the hydrogen fuel, the project is considering the possibility of introducing water-tankers,which would be developed to be fuelled by hydrogen, into the water-distribution operation network. Then, in the event of a natural disaster (such as earthquakes, which occur frequently in Japan), even if gasoline supplies have been interrupted – which was the case in the 2011 Tohoku disaster – drinking water can be supplied to the impacted areas.

The plan is to install equipments that can capture, compress and store the hydrogen which will then be used to supply hydrogen stations within major cities. If proven viable, then the target is to be able to supply sufficient hydrogen needed for 3,000 water-tankers per year.

Should this pilot project prove successful, the system would then be implemented in water purification plants throughout Tokyo, with the continued focus on the supply of emergency fuel for use by water-tankers and possibly other emergency vehicles.

Click here for the original report in Japanese.

Share or save for later:
Previous post

Could a fluorescent labelling system enable more effective plastics reuse?

Next post

Réduire le coût des hôpitaux grâce à l’économie circulaire

The Author

Colin Silvester

Colin Silvester

Colin was born in Portsmouth, England, and enjoyed his childhood in the natural beauty of the south coast countryside. He studied Computer Science at Hull University and it was during the summer break of his second year, in 1993, that he first travelled to Japan. There he completed a 3 month internship in KDD's AI research division. Curious to learn more about the country, Colin returned to Japan after graduating from Hull and was a “JET” (Assistant Language Teacher on the “Japan Exchange and Teaching” programme) for 3 years in the suburban prefecture of Saitama. Colin then spent a short time at JAC Recruitment until he decided to return to his core profession of IT, joining Bloomberg in Tokyo. After 3 very enjoyable years there, Colin joined a small US telecommunications company, IPC Information Systems, shortly after it established its direct presence in Tokyo. After 12 very informative years (which included 2 years spent at IPC's headquarters in New Jersey), Colin returned to JAC Recruitment, where he is now CIO, responsible for the company's overall technology strategy.

Outside of work, Colin enjoys squash and cycling, touring Japan on his Triumph motorbike, drumming and also DIY. Colin has long been passionate about minimising the impact of humans on the environment and in 2010, Colin and his family realised their dream when they moved into their newly built “eco-house” which Colin and his wife designed with the help of Sumitomo Ringyo. The house is highly energy efficient through extensive use of the latest insulation technology, gas filled glass, LED lighting (approximately 80% of the house uses LED) and 4.1kw of solar panels and as a result, the house is a net producer of electricity.

Colin's long term ambition is to build and run a “British pub” in the fantastic surroundings of the mountains in Nagano!