Sumitomo Rubber Industries, with backing and support of the Japanese New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a national research and development agency, is to undertake a proof-of-concept study on the use of hydrogen to power its tire factory in the Shirakawa, Fukushima prefecture.
The aim of the study is to assess the feasibility of harnessing hydrogen as a means of achieving net-zero tire production at the plant, utilizing hydrogen produced within the Fukushima Prefecture.
Tire manufacturing requires the application of high-temperature, high-pressure heat energy in the form of steam, which Sumitomo says is difficult to produce using only electric power due to various technical limitations. Therefore it is turning its attention to hydrogen as a promising new energy source and selected the Shirakawa Factory in order to harness hydrogen energy projects that are already underway in Fukushima Prefecture.
The proof-of-concept study will involve using hydrogen for production processes involved in NEO-T01 (Sumitomo’s proprietary tire manufacturing system it established in 2012) while studying the challenges involved in maintaining continuous 24/7 production. It will also investigate how to overcome challenges such as how to control nitrogen oxide emissions when using a hydrogen boiler.