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Report: Japan to promote use of refinery hydrogen for fuel cell cars

The Nikkei reports that Japan’s government will launch a public-private initiative to develop technology for applying hydrogen used in oil refining to power fuel cell vehicles.

With Japan moving toward wide adoption of fuel cell vehicles by fiscal 2015, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry seeks to secure a steady supply of high-purity hydrogen. Hydrogen used in fuel cells is 99.99% pure, while the hydrogen that oil distributors use in removing sulfur content from oil is about 90% pure.

Those firms, in collaboration with METI, will develop technology to extract high-purity hydrogen, with an eye toward creating a new source of income. The undertaking—from technology development to trials— is estimated to cost 500 million yen [US$6.2 million] over a three-year period from fiscal 2011. The ministry will pay half of the cost.

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