Saturday, December 20, 2014

JAPAN IS LEADING IN HYDROGEN National Kanto’s first hydrogen filling station opens in Tokyo

We have entered into the hydrogen market and I am very interested in the fact that a few months later we start seeing headlines like this. We did not plan it this way but I have to say after 25 some years in the industry I do start to see patterns and many technologies have been around for years. Hydrogen is one of those and I felt the timing was right. To me it is a no brainer. I witnessed hydrogen produced from a solar panel and water years ago. It is a clean burning fuel that can be created at the location needed for use. I have heard all the economic detractors and think they are missing the whole picture. I said this about solar 25 years ago and I am saying this about hydrogen now. I have utilized batteries in many applications over the years and am intimately knowledgeable on their limitations. I predict they will have a 10 year run. When solar really got traction in the market there were numerous solar technologies that jumped up taking in huge investments. All these thin film solar companies are pretty much gone or forgotten. The fact is what was tried and true (silicon) is what is primarily used and if you want to make a bet on solar panels it is primarily how to reduce the cost of making the solar cells. Folks I offer the hypothesis that energy storage will follow the same pattern. We know that hydrogen is a great energy storage method and offers versatility that batteries can never achieve. It has been used for many years (ask NASA) or the hydro dams in Canada that have been producing hydrogen from their excess power using electrolysis and water for many years now. It will be the reduction in cost and enhancing the efficiency. We did it with silicon and we can do it with hydrogen. I am pretty proud that we have engineered a unit that has enhanced the efficiency and eliminated the need to scrub the hydrogen from the oxygen but the fact is that when it gains traction like solar has these young emerging minds will continue to innovate and perfect the technology.

Baku, December 19, AzerTAc

The first filling station in the Kanto area for fuel cell cars that run on compressed hydrogen gas opened in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward on Thursday.

The station, operated by Tokyo Gas, can handle six vehicles per hour or 50 per day, officials said. 

Toyota began selling fuel cell cars in Japan on Dec 15 and is planning to sell them in the U.S. and Europe in mid-2015. In Japan, the sporty-looking, four-door Toyota Mirai sells for 6.7 million yen. Toyota said it hopes to sell 400 in Japan and 300 in the rest of the world in the first year.

Fuel cell vehicles run on compressed hydrogen gas, which in the Mirai s case is stored in two tanks mounted underneath the vehicle. They emit no exhaust, though fossil fuels are used in the production of hydrogen and to pressurize it.

Besides the relatively high cost, buyers will have to contend with finding fuel. Only a few dozen hydrogen filling stations have been built worldwide, though governments are subsidizing the construction of more.

In Japan, about 30 stations will open in regions in and around Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya cities and the northern part of Kyushu Island in the south. 

Toyota said it already has about 200 pre-orders for the vehicle, mainly government agencies and companies that want to go green, the company said.

The Mirai can travel 650 to 700 kilometers on its two tanks of hydrogen. Hydrogen may be more expensive than gas initially, because there are so few customers but, over time, Toyota expects it will be cheaper to run a car on hydrogen than with gas.

Vugar Agayev

Special correspondent

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