Japan introduces new standards to help fuel cell vehicles gain traction

December 5, 2014 0 By Bret Williams

Japanese government works to help overcome challenges that face clean transportation

Japan is quickly becoming a leading market for fuel cell vehicles, despite the fact that these vehicles have not yet been commercially released. The government has been working to help the auto industry overcome the three main challenges that face fuel cell vehicles. The first challenge has to do with the actual cost of producing fuel cell vehicles, which is so high that most automakers expect to see financial losses by selling them. The other two challenges involve the establishment of a hydrogen fuel infrastructure and the industrial production of hydrogen.

New standards may help make hydrogen fuel less expensive

The Japanese government has introduced a new set of rules that may help make it easier for new hydrogen fuel stations to be built in the country. The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry has set new standards for the operation of compressed hydrogen stations, loosening previous regulations that had made it difficult for these facilities to take form. The new standards will make it easier for companies to build new fuel stations and will also mitigate some of the expense of doing so.

Loosened regulations likely to help new fuel stations take form in Japan

Fuel Cell Vehicles - City in JapanPrevious regulations had required fuel stations to be built more than six meters away from any public space, which had limited where hydrogen stations could take form. New standards allow stations to be built closer to public spaces, as long as they comply with safety regulations. This may also mean that existing gasoline stations will be able to install hydrogen pumps, which could quickly bolster Japan’s burgeoning hydrogen infrastructure.

New standards may reduce the financial risk associated with hydrogen fuel stations

New standards also allow fuel station operators to use liquid hydrogen as a raw material. Typically, station operators had to transport hydrogen from off-site, which was somewhat expensive. By storing liquid hydrogen on-site at fuel stations, operators may be able to mitigate some of the costs they see from offering hydrogen to consumers. This may also make hydrogen somewhat less expensive for those that own fuel cell vehicles.