Japan has big plans for hydrogen fuel cells

July 8, 2014 0 By Stephen Vagus

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Hydrogen Fuel - Japan transportation

Japanese government set to launch 25-year plan focused on hydrogen

The Japanese government has outlined a 25-year plan concerning the adoption of fuel cell vehicles and the incorporation of hydrogen fuel into various industries. The country is eager to break away from fossil-fuels and adopt more environmentally friendly energy sources to make itself more sustainable in the future. Embracing clean transportation is part of this overarching goal and fuel cell vehicles may help make new energy systems more attractive throughout the country.

First phase of plan will focus on clean transportation

Japan’s plan is to be executed in three phases over the next two and a half decades. The first phase will focus on the commercialization of fuel cell vehicles, which is expected to begin at some point in 2015. Many of Japan’s prominent automakers have plans to release fuel cell vehicles by this time and these companies have been helping build a working hydrogen fuel infrastructure throughout the country to prepare for the launch of their new vehicles. By the end of 2015, Japan plans to have 100 new hydrogen fuel stations in operation in many populated parts of the country. During this time, the Japanese government will also be encouraging the adoption of solid oxide fuel cells in commercial and industrial sectors.

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Clean Energy Quotes To Remember - “For example, a breakthrough in better batteries could supplant hydrogen. Better solar cells could replace or win out in this race to the fuel of the future. Those, I see, as the three big competitors: hydrogen, solar cells and then better batteries.”

- Bob Inglis, Politician

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Next phase to highlight the use of fuel cells in the residential sector

The second phase is expected to take place between 2020 and 2030 and will focus on the residential sector. Currently, Japan boasts of 1.4 million hydrogen fuel cells providing power to homes throughout the country. By the end of the second phase of the country’s plan, it aims to have more than 5.3 million fuel cells providing energy to the residential sector. During this phase, Japan may increase its hydrogen imports from other countries in order to accelerate its ability to satisfy domestic demand.

Final phase of ambitious plan involves carbon-neutral hydrogen production

The final stage of the plan will see Japan achieve carbon-neutral hydrogen production. Current production methods are somewhat inefficient and energy intensive, relying heavily on the use of fossil-fuels. Japan has been working on ways to produce hydrogen fuel without consuming coal and the country may be able to achieve this goal at some point in 2040. Japan may not be able to satisfy all of its domestic demand with its new production processes, however, and will still rely on hydrogen imports from other countries.