Methanol fuel cells are coming to JapanFebruary 26, 2014
Firm partners with startup from California in order to bring new fuel cells to Japan
Toyota Tsusho, a developer of hydrogen fuel stations in Japan, has announced that it has teamed with Oorja Protonics, a developer of fuel cells from California. Oorja specializes in methanol fuel cells. These types of fuel cells are becoming more popular because methane is relatively easier to produce than hydrogen gas. Moreover, methanol fuel cells are less expensive to produce than their hydrogen counterparts because they do not make use of platinum or other excessively expensive materials.
Fuel cells are generating hype throughout Japan
In Japan, fuel cells have been gaining a great deal of attention. The country has been working on distancing itself from fossil-fuels and nuclear energy over the past few years. As such, it has begun focusing on the adoption of renewable energy. Solar and hydrogen fuel have managed to attract support from the Japanese government, businesses, and consumers. With Japanese automakers preparing to release hydrogen-powered vehicles in the near future, fuel cells have managed to attract even more attention than they had received in the past.
New fuel cells could be a cost competitive alternative to those using hydrogen
While hydrogen fuel cells are gaining momentum in Japan, methanol fuel cells could be a useful alternative for those interested in these energy systems but wary of their cost. Methanol fuel cells are often used as backup energy systems and as primary energy systems for refrigeration vehicles and mobile network facilities. These fuel cells could find a similar purpose in Japan and help the country further reduce its reliance on fossil-fuels and other forms of energy.
High cost of hydrogen fuel cells often cited as problematic
Hydrogen fuel cells often receive harsh criticism because of their high expense. In order to produce these fuel cells, a significant amount of platinum is needed. The high cost of this material trickles down to consumers, whom must pay more for fuel cells in order for the developers of these energy systems to generate revenue. Moreover, hydrogen fuel production is also a costly, time-consuming, and somewhat inefficient process, further detracting from the appeal of fuel cells in general.