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Nikkei: Japan gov’t to ease rules for building hydrogen stations in June, offer subsidies

27 May 2012

The Nikkei reports that the Japan government will ease regulations on the construction of hydrogen stations for fuel cell cars in June, in addition to offering subsidies to companies involved in a plan to set up 100 such sites throughout the country by 2015.

The government will revise a ministerial ordinance in the High Pressure Gas Safety Act to facilitate the construction of hydrogen stations in residential areas and commercial districts. Under the current regulations, hydrogen stations can only be built in industrial areas.

Thirteen companies, including three major automakers and a number of oil and gas firms, plan to set up 100 hydrogen stations in such cities as Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka by 2015. Nagoya-based Toho Gas Co. and other companies will build pilot hydrogen stations in three locations, including the city of Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, by the end of the current fiscal year. The government will subsidize these projects to help defray construction costs.

The Industry Ministry says that construction of a hydrogen station costs about ¥600 million (US$7.5 million), compared to ¥70-100 million (US$879K–US$1.3 million) for a conventional gasoline station. Authorities hope to bring overall construction costs for hydrogen stations down to approximately ¥200 million (US$2.5 million) per facility.

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the first step.. some say the first step should be to find an energy efficient way to make high pressure hydrogen.

Distributed hydrogen production facilities at many/most hydrogen filling stations may be a good way to do it. Local communities could own and operate those facilities.

Cost wise, it may be less than $8/gal gasoline.

It could be a cleaner way to go from A to Z without having to be cheaper.

Many communities already built and operate wind turbines in Denmark. That interesting concept could easily be expanded to future distributed hydrogen stations and/or quick charge stations for electrified vehicles.

Not too long ago, communities built and own huge churches, schools, universities and hospitals. Why future communities could not build and own hydrogen stations and public quick charge stations for PHEVs and EVs in every town in USA/Canada. Israel and Denmark (+ Quakers) may be top choice places to get the program going. The time may have arrived to try something new?

Brilliant. At last, costings on the hydrogen infrastructure.
Although higher, they are no show-stopper.

Here in the UK we have around 9,000 filling stations.
About 10% of that would give excellent coverage, and get you just about anywhere.
Call it 1,000 stations, and the cost is $2.5-7.5 billion.

Of course, a tenth of that on the major motorways would be fine to start.
The cost for that would presumably be at the top end of the estimate, so you might be talking of about $750 million.

That is hardly a rounding error in the national accounts.

If I'm reading this right, the hydrogen infrastructure will cost approximately twice the replacement cost of the existing (paid for) gasoline infrastructure.

I'd like to see a comparison of this to the cost of home charging for EV/PHEVs and the addition of fast chargers at existing fuel stations. Those stations could also dispense biofuels made from garbage, so no additional cost would be due for that.

EP:
Essesntially you are comparing things which are not similar.
With anything like current technology, at highway speeds you would have to stop every hour or so to swap or recharge batteries.

That would not be a cost free operation, in money as well as time, and would not ba an option for large trucks.
So for around $750 million Japan is putting in place totally new capabilities, not possible with batteries.

It is now clear that the death toll from air pollution is around 2-3 times higher than we had thought, and that trucks are mainly responsible.

It would seem then that this expenditure, and the proposed expenditure to greatly expand it, could be easily justified on purely financial terms when set against losses due to health just on the basis of heavy trucks, as health costs are in the range of several billions a year.

I think you mean "not interchangeable".  The "hydrogen highway" proposes to replace one system pumping fluid fuel into tanks with another which does the same (and costs about twice as much).  This appeals to people whose expertise is making and pumping fluid fuels, and those who cannot think of any other way to do things.

Our experience with the first-generation plug-in hybrids shows that they're cutting liquid-fuel demand by about 2/3.  Ubiquitous charging could probably cut this further, but that's already close to the point where waste-derived fuels could handle the remaining demand.  People with EVs could use fast chargers for their occasional longer-distance trips.  Sure, it's not "similar"; the energy is cheaper than any fluid fuel, and the vehicles are cleaner.

Heavy trucks can use electrified highways; we don't need a new chemical fuel infrastructure, and certainly shouldn't invest in one just to lock ourselves into certain suppliers AGAIN.

We shouldnt not invest in h2 just because you are terrified of some sort of h2 system taking off and filling some of the market.

It fills a need and should work rather well and is wanted. We dont realy give a damn if some people hate it.

What I'm worried about is that I'll be taxed to build the H2 system, whether it benefits me or not.  I've had enough of being tied to oil companies.  Those same oil companies have become big investors in gas properties, probably with the idea of becoming the monopoly suppliers of hydrogen to replace petroleum motor fuels.  I don't see why I should let that happen without my opposition.

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