Home Publisher's Point of View Tokyu Hotel Just About as Innovative As You Can Get

Tokyu Hotel Just About as Innovative As You Can Get

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Glenn Hasek

I have written about the use of hydrogen fuel cell systems in hotels before but unfortunately, they remain a rarity in our industry. I am sure cost tops the list for not using such systems. That is why it was a no brainer this past week to write about the Kawasaki King Skyfront Tokyu REI Hotel in Kawasaki City, Japan. (See article.) The 186-room property is run by 100 percent renewable energy. Thirty percent of the energy is derived from hydrogen. Seventy percent of the energy is derived from food waste generated renewable energy. Since transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy the hotel has saved more than $15,000 per year.

To generate hydrogen, used plastics (household plastic trash plus hotel amenities) are sent to Showa Denko K.K.’s hydrogen production facility where they are turned into hydrogen that is sent through pipelines to Toshiba’s H2Rex, a pure hydrogen fuel cell system that converts hydrogen to heat and electric power without producing CO2. The hydrogen generated electricity is used by the hotel where it meets 30 percent of the property’s electricity and hot water needs.

In one year, a total of 450,000kWh of power is generated with a total CO2 reduction effect of about 200,000kg. This is equivalent to providing electricity for 82 households of four people per day and reducing CO2 equal to that of 14,300 cedar trees.

Just as cool and innovative, the Kawasaki King Skyfront Tokyu REI Hotel participates in a project where its “food waste” is methane-fermented by microorganisms to generate electricity by using biogas as fuel. This process provides the balance—the remaining 70 percent—of electricity that the hotel needs. J Bio Food Recycle Co. Ltd is a recycling facility and biogas plant that processes the hotel’s food waste and is based in Yokohama city, established as a collaboration between East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and JFE Engineering Corp. It was designed to process up to 80 tons of food waste per day.

The Result of A Lot of Planning

The Kawasaki King Skyfront Tokyu REI Hotel benefits from not only having progressive ownership but being in the right place at the right time—being part of a supply chain that allows it to run on 100 percent renewable energy. You can bet it took a lot of planning and coordination with city officials and other companies to make this happen.

As if all of the above were not enough, last year a “plant growing module” was installed in the lobby of the hotel, so that guests staying there could visually experience the effects of renewable energy. The module and installation cost a total of approximately $829,000. This figure includes design costs, material procurement, etc. At a daily running cost of approximately $110, (running costs include consumable goods, electricity, etc.), lettuce is cultivated using hydrogen energy, and the harvested lettuce is then available to guests at the hotel restaurant. The plant module generates photosynthesis using an LED light source and hydroponics with a nutrient solution.

Last year, the Kawasaki King Skyfront Tokyu REI Hotel was selected to receive the grand prize of Kawasaki City’s “9th Smart Lifestyle Award”, which recognizes outstanding efforts such as carbon dioxide reduction. Kawasaki City, with the collaboration of various entities, is promoting efforts to reduce CO2. As part of this, in collaboration with the CC Kawasaki Eco-Conference, Kawasaki City has been commending excellent efforts of citizens and businesses that contribute to the reduction of CO2 and global warming countermeasures with the “Smart Lifestyle Award” since 2012.

Congratulations to the Kawasaki King Skyfront Tokyu REI Hotel for its achievements and for setting an example for others to strive for.

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