Japan may become a valuable market for hydrogen fuel cells

September 27, 2013 0 By Stephen Vagus
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Potential of hydrogen fuel cells is growing in Japan

The potential of hydrogen fuel cells in Japan may soon come to a head. The country has been undergoing something of an energy revolution in recent years. Since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, Japan has been working to separate itself from nuclear energy. This is not a decidedly new trend, as the country has been reducing its use of nuclear power since 2002. Nuclear power had once accounted for the vast majority of the country’s energy capacity, but Japan’s last nuclear facility was officially shut down this month. As Japan begins to look for a replacement for nuclear power, hydrogen fuel cells may emerge as one of the country’s favored energy systems.

Country shuts down nuclear power facilities

In shutting down its nuclear energy facilities, Japan has placed itself in a somewhat problematic position concerning its supply of electrical power. The country has been importing fossil-fuels from other nations for several years, but has had to increase these imports in order to meet its energy needs. This has been a costly endeavor for Japan, which has caused the government to begin focusing more heavily on renewable sources of energy. Solar energy has, therefore, gained a great deal of attention from the Japanese government, but so too have hydrogen fuel cells.

hydrogen fuelHydrogen fuel cells help keep power flowing in times of crisis

Japan is home to one of the most expansive hydrogen fuel cell networks in the world, called the ENE-FARM. The ENE-FARM is often used to supply electrical power to homes and businesses in emergency situations and is responsible for the development of new hydrogen fuel cell systems that are used throughout the country. In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, these hydrogen fuel cells helped keep energy flowing to large cities, like Tokyo and Osaka. While the national government has shown interest in these energy systems, they are becoming very popular with politicians in small cities throughout the country.

Demand for fuel cells is on the rise

Nuclear energy had accounted for 30% of Japan’s energy generation. Without its nuclear power facilities, Japan is struggling to fill a significant energy void. Hydrogen fuel cells have already shown that they are capable of providing the electrical power that the country needs. The demand for these energy systems is on the rise throughout the country, creating a promising opportunity for fuel cell companies around the world.