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Japan updates hydrogen fuel cell targets; 320 stations by 2025, 800,000 vehicles by 2030

15 April 2016

Japan’s Council for a Strategy for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, which includes experts from industry, academia, and government, recently issued a revised version of the Strategic Roadmap for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) established the Council in December 2013; the Strategic Road Map was first published in June 2014. With the increased dissemination of fuel cells for households, the launch of fuel cell vehicles onto the market, and steady progress in the construction of hydrogen stations, the Council has revised the plan, setting new targets. For vehicles, these targets are:

  • About 40,000 fuel cell vehicles by 2020; 200,000 by 2025; and about 800,000 by 2030, in total. Currently there are some 500 fuel cell vehicles on the roads.

  • The number of hydrogen stations is to increase to about 160 stations by 2020 and about 320 stations by 2025. There are about 80 currently.

The council also discussed the technical and economic challenges concerning the utilization of hydrogen generated using renewable energy.

The new plan published by METI also calls for research and development to reduce the cost of fuel cells to one-fourth the current level.

The Asahi Shimbun reported that the Japanese government projects that the cost of fuel cells can be halved from the current level by 2020 and lowered to around one-fourth by 2025 by reducing the use of expensive cell materials and the standardization and sharing of cell components.

Reduction in stack cost will enable the auto industry to introduce popular-market FCV models priced less than ¥3,000,000 (US$27,500), according to the plan.

Toyota Motor has said it plans to achieve annual global sales of more than 30,000 Mirai fuel cell vehicles by 2020.

April 15, 2016 in Fuel Cells, Hydrogen, Japan, Policy | Permalink | Comments (97)


It would be interesting to see the average daily distance traveled for these vehicles. What is the competitive advantage METI sees in FCVs other than supporting the home team?

With the rest of the industry lining up behind BEVs, it will be fascinating to watch this herculean VHS - Betamax competition play out.

I think if they can produce a $27,000 fuel cell car then affordable fuel cells for for stationary apps like renewable backup should be assured and that will play a huge role in transitioning existing grids. Cars in northern regions need heat and that might justify a fuel cell ahead of straight battery but I'd bet the majority will be batteries, at least in the short term.

I find it odd that battery vs fuel cell is always such a point of contention on this site when the real loser is the fossil fuel industry regardless of who wins. Maybe less so with fuel cells but batteries will dominate in the short term for sure.

The main points of contention are:

1) Low volume sales, high volume PR amounts to greenwashing.
2) When sourced from methane, hydrogen does not mitigate global warming, sea level rise or ocean acidification.
3) Lock in to another fuel cartel is not in the consumers interest.
4) Lock in with exorbitant fuel prices (currently $13.50 - $16.50 kg in California) is not in the consumers interest.
5) There does not appear to be a pathway to H2 fuel or infrastructure that can compete on price with electricity.
6) Consistent delays in FCV roll-out appear to serve only to blunt, block or delay the move to ZEVs.

By 2020 and onward, FCEVs will compete favourably with extended range BEVs, at least in Japan, where close to 1,000,000 much lower cost FCEVs and close to 400 clean H2 stations may be in operation.

Our local politicians could take a trip to Japan to see how it is done and plan the installation of 400+ clean (Hydro electric) H2 stations in our region. Secondly, exchange lithium from our new Li mines for 100,000+ FCEVs. At $30,000 for all weather extended range FCEVs, who would buy short and mid-range BEVs, specially for use in our cold snowy area?.

To lower initial installation cost, fewer main (large central H2 stations) could produce enough H2 to supply (by truck) 2 to 5 adjacent H2 distribution stations? Our sole Hydro producer could use some of its $3B/year profit to install up to 100+ large central H2 stations by 2020 or so.

Very low cost clean H2 could be produced using very low cost e-energy produced in house during off peak demand hours (19 hours/day Monday to Friday and 24/24 on Saturdays and Sundays and Holidays)

The only thing missing it the political will to do it.

All BEV supporters should be cheering for the commercial growth of FCEV, because this will reduce Lithium demand and help ease the price escalation on Lithium Carbonate and will permit higher profit margin for BEV producers. Otherwise, the price escalation of mined Lithium will dampen further growth of clean-energy vehicles and we all will lose.

Do not feel that the growth of FCEV's will take away future sales from BEV makers, because FCEV's and BEV's serve different niches and hence are more complementary to each other rather than direct competitors. FCEV's growth will come at the expense of ICEV's sales.

RP is correct.

BEVs and FCEVs can co-exist. Families with 2 or 3 cars could have 2 rather short range affordable BEVs and one long range FCEV. People living in cold snowy places will probably be better off with FCEVs.

I doubt if the world will run out of Lithium. It is just a matter of price. Three to six large mines could open soon in Canada if the price hold steady around $7K+/tonne. At up to 20,000 tones/year each, they could really help. The same could happen in USA, Russia, China and many other places.

Meanwhile, Argentina, Chile and Peru/Equator will supply enough lower cost lithium to meet demands for the next 5+ years.

Roger, There's plenty of lithium. It just takes a few years for everyone to ramp up production and now there is obvious demand coming. It' s not a big issue in the long term.

The is a lot of money being spent to keep people dependent on fossil fuels for transportation; the hydrogen fuel cell is just such a scheme. The hydrogen will be manufactured using fossil fuels, the hydrogen transported to stations and dispensed at central locations, all the while pricing will be under control of the fossil fuel industry. Nothing changes except they sell hydrogen instead of gasoline. Hydrogen cars are expensive, complicated, dangerous(remember the hydrogen is carried in tanks under 10,000 psi) and require more maintenance than BEVs.

Lad said:

'The hydrogen will be manufactured using fossil fuels, the hydrogen transported to stations and dispensed at central locations, all the while pricing will be under control of the fossil fuel industry.'

Wrong on all counts.

Here is the latest in Germany's efforts to use hydrogen to store renewables:

'"Peripheral parts such as the control unit or power electronics drive the costs up and are thus a major hurdle preventing industrial use of smaller electrolyzers. We know these parts from vehicle development where they are already produced in large volumes at low costs. IAV wants to use this know-how in the 'ecoPtG' project with successful integration of vehicle technology in electrolyzers", says Dr.-Ing. Christopher Severin, Head of Department for System Development and Combustion Concepts at IAV. "Our aim is to develop a modular low-cost electrolyzer in the 100 kW class for the production of 4-35 kg hydrogen per day.'

So to itemise:

1. You claimed hydrogen will be manufactured by fossil fuels.
This is all renewables.

2. You claimed that the hydrogen would be produced centrally and transported to fuel stations.
This is produced on site.

It should also be noted that in these respects it is just like all the hydrogen produced for transport in Denmark and Norway, most of it in Germany, and much of it in the US.

Where this differs is that it shows good potential to much reduce costs.

So you could not be more wrong.

The state of the hydrogen fuel car in the future is merely conjecture. Might never come to pass.
However if they can overcome the more serious issues with hydrogen as a fuel then that would be good. Meanwhile back in Kansas it is still an expensive by-product of fossil fuel.

Currently I see renewable liquid fuels as the only viable alternative to battery power for applications that electric only might not suit. Very cold weather driving, perhaps being one of them.

Sure, this can happen! After all: 325,000 people just put down deposits on Fuel Cell Vehicles. Oh, wait....LMAO!!!!

Keep dreaming guys. Just remember, wet dreams don't actually produce anything.

All that is needed is very cheap hydrogen. We don't know how to manufacture very cheap hydrogen. We'd have to drop the price by more than 4x for FCEVs to be competitive with EVs in terms of operating costs. 4x is a huge amount. The laws of physics are standing in the way.

(Toyota has said that it costs 17 cents/mile to drive their FCEV. An EV can drive a mile for 4 cents on average retail priced electricity.)

We're on track to hit EV purchase price parity with ICEVs by 2021 or thereabouts. After that it should become cheaper to manufacture an EV than an same-model ICEV.

FCEVs would have to become considerably less expensive to own and operate than EVs in order for them to replace EVs.

Battery capacity should continue to increase giving EVs a higher range per charge/fueling than FCEVs within ten years.

For those who drive all day often 500 mile range EVs should be available. Tesla's Destination Chargers will already recharge over 500 miles in 10 hours. A full 500 miles 'while you sleep'.

For really cold country we can use the Volvo solution. They already have an auxiliary heater that uses ethanoyl.

A FCEV is a BEV with a FC as range extender.

Thus : the only comparison you need to make is : what is best/cheapest:

1. A very large battery + electricity used
2. A small battery + a FC + H2-tank + H2 used.

When (soon) cheap FC's and electrolyzers without Pt are available, and everyone can make H2 from spare electricity, H2 will be only 2x more expensive than the cheapest electricity (only 50% efficiency in the conversion). On the other hand, charging your BEV will be at the price of the moment, and only if there is electricity at that moment.

H2 tanks to transport H2 will be made from carbon fibre and plastic : will be cheap in mass-production.

10kg of H2 will bring you much further than 1000kg of batteries.

Even if electric cars will be "the winner", there is certainly a huge market for the H2 technology. Cheap renewable H2 can be used for airplanes, chips, storing terrajoules of solar energy, transformation to food, carbon-free steel production, ...

Fuel cell vehicles are the conception of progress in the heads of conventionalists deprived of any economic reason or technological vision. FCVs do not make sense economically or technically when compared to the alternatives. They are already an enormous failure with 40 years and 10s of billions of R&D money and not a shred of a viable product to show. Aren’t gonna happen.

What is gonna happen is self-driving vehicles of all sorts. All of Teslas’ cars are already driving themselves at 90% of the miles that people are driving in them. That percentage is going to reach 100% with hardware and software upgrades by 2020. At that time Tesla will log about 10 million miles per day of autonomous driving which is enough to convince many authorities around the world to allow Tesla to make a new driverless taxi service that will launch also around 2020 and expand explosively on a global scale after that. Uber will get some serious competition.

Driverless BEVs of all sorts will kill the combustion engine and the non-existing full cell cars because they cost too much to drive per mile and have no advantages relative to driverless BEVs whatsoever. Private ownership of driverless BEVs will also be much like fleet operators with the wealthiest in a family buying the cars and making them available for the rest of the family using smart phones and perhaps a little reimbursement for electricity used. Privately owned driverless BEVs will therefore not log 15000 miles per year typically but rater 50,000 or 100,000 miles per year and be made for durability (1 million miles that is only possible with BEVs) just like the fleet owned driverless BEVs.

The old auto industry does still not get it and they keep investing most of their resources in developing stuff that will have zero value in less than a decade. They need to focus all of their resources on driverless technology and BEVs and be satisfied with what they currently got in terms of gassers. We don’t need more efficient gassers when they can’t compete anyway with the driverless BEVs that will be here in 2020. By 2030 the market for new gassers will be completely gone and few will remember what fuel cell vehicles was all about. There will still be a large market for repairing a large fleet of old gassers. The gasser auto repair shops and manufacturing of gasser spare parts will continue until about 2045.

I find it odd that battery vs fuel cell is always such a point of contention on this site when the real loser is the fossil fuel industry regardless of who wins.

With fuel cells, all fuel comes from corner stations pumping stuff into tanks.  The hydrogen will come from steam-methane reforming or possibly coal gasification (e.g. tapping off a high-value fuel stream from the embattled Kemper plant).  It keeps the fossil energy companies right where they want to be.

With batteries, most power comes from outlets at home.  With the increasing recognition that methane leaks destroy much of the purported benefit of natural gas over coal, the calculus favors nuclear baseload power.  That way lies the destruction of most of the fossil market.

Consistent delays in FCV roll-out appear to serve only to blunt, block or delay the move to ZEVs.

Some of us noted years ago that "FreedomCar" was a delaying tactic against the imminent thread of PNGV technology coming to market.

Here is the latest in Germany's efforts to use hydrogen to store renewables....

Nothing on cost of energy input.  Guesstimating 55 kWh/kg and the 2016 FIT price of €0.12/kWh, the price of electricity alone comes to €6.60/kg.  Adding the amortization of a unit employed at perhaps 20% capacity factor to absorb wind and PV peaks, I'm sure €10/kg is not unrealistic... before maintenance and taxes.

You claimed hydrogen will be manufactured by fossil fuels.
This is all renewables.

Get serious here.  People with electrolyzers aren't fools; they will buy the cheapest power they can get, such as from Germany's lignite plants unless the RE excess is subsidized.  Subsidies just throw the cost onto the public, they don't make it go away.

You claimed that the hydrogen would be produced centrally and transported to fuel stations.

When the local stations run out of electrolytic hydrogen, tankers of H2 made from NG or coal will make up the difference.  The most likely scenario is for a station to have a prominent electrolyzer but receive the bulk of its fuel by truck.  Classic greenwashing.

LOL. Did Toyota get 400,000 pre-orders for the hydrogen bomb when no one was looking?

The NSA should review every buyer of a Toyota Maria, because only ISIS wants this car.


Hydrogen Summary of Failure

Hydrogen stations make excellent explosive terrorist targets.
Hydrogen stations are very expensive, cost per station: $1.5 Million, who is going to be forced to pay for this?
Hydrogen stations not pumping at the 10,000 psi required, you’re only getting Half Charges!

Difficult to make hydrogen and store it.  
Hydrogen isn’t a source of energy, you can’t mine it, you can convert something else to hydrogen, like methane, but then you lose energy in the process.  
Hydrogen from water( in a global drought? ), is extremely inefficient.  
Hydrogen from methane gives you No Help with global warming, it actually makes things worse.  As methane wells typically leak like sieves
Hydrogen must be supercooled and compressed to 10,000 psi to store sufficient energy, which requires lots of energy.
Burning it as a fuel is less than 50% efficient.
The energy to do all this could be used to directly run an EV from a battery, and get you Twice as far.
Hydrogen likes to leak.
Hydrogen has a general problem of metal embrittlement, so you need special tanks.
- Hydrogen tanks only certified for 15 years???

Hydrogen leaks as an invisible gas.
Hydrogen is extremely flammable with an invisible flame.
Right now hydrogen is a loser vs. current batteries, not to speak of the battery chemistry in the coming solid state batteries.
Chevy Volt gets better MPG, at a Lower Price, and allows you to use cheap solar energy for your fuel, and hydrogen does not. We will not run out of gas during the EV conversion process.
Platinum in the fuel cell = expensive.

Hydrogen time refueling vs. solar.
Solar: You plug in at your home, Time 60 seconds.
Hydrogen: You drive 20 minutes, or to California, to the station 10 minute refuel, 20 minutes back home: 50 minutes lost.

Hydrogen Cars were built on the premise that we’d need a "Bridge Fuel" to EV’s, however battery tech has advanced so rapidly that there is no need for a bridge, especially one as wasteful and expensive as this.

EV's running on Solar helps pay off your Solar investment 20%-40% faster = More PROFITS to YOU.

A single H2 fueling station can service 36 cars per day. (The highest volume ones service between 24-36 FCEVs.) Compare to ordinary gas stations, which service an average of ~1100 cars per day (some say 2500/day).

Interesting no one noted Japan has some unique needs that most of North America does not. They have sources of petrol production, have mountainous areas with earthquakes that can isolate villages, and operate on two different electric grids with different cycles. Has anyone considered that the FC car offers emergency source of distributed power? You may not need it often, but it has some merit.

Electrolizers efficiency will soon reach 80% to 85% versus 90% to 95% for BEVs quick charging facilities.

Both could use REs but H2 can be stored in much larger quantities. Electrolizers could operate with lower cost surplus r-electricity during off peak demand hours (about 19 hours per day Monday to Friday and 24/24 on Saturdays and Sundays and Holidays).

High voltage, high capacity, off peak hours Hydro electricity could be negotiated under $0.01/kWh in our region, at least till 2027/2029 because we have a huge surplus. The off peak demand hours surpluses will be there for decades. It is the law of the beast!

Our sole Hydro supplier could use some of its $3B/year surplus to install and operate 400+ H2 station network.

H2 could retail for $4/Kg to $6/Kg.

Sure Harvey, and we might also find unicorns to fart all the hydrogen we need. Not likely, but we "could"...and hydrogen "could" retail for $-$6/Kg. And all the other problems with hydrogen "could" just magically go away. And we "could" get commercially affordable electrolyzers at 80-85%.

You don't build an infrastructure and an important part of our economy on all those "coulds".

More criticism and no solutions from EP.

SJC thinks that it's the responsibility of informed people to make crackpot schemes work.  Oh, and he ignores the alternatives offered (like nuclear electricity, battery vehicles and molten-salt heat storage for peaking).

You are nothing but an ego maniacal narcissist who should not be allowed on here.

Reducing the fuel cell stack cost by 75% is important if FCVs are to have any hope of success, but without a widespread refueling infrastructure, there will be few takers. The competition is no longer $1m -$2m gasoline stations, but the combination of $500 home chargers and $250k-$500k 8 stall superchargers. We already see how that race is going.

I don't follow the Japanese market, but US EV sales will exceed METI's ambitious Japan FCV goal by 2018, some 12 years earlier.

Flattery will get you nowhere, SJC.  That takes at least a case of a good single-malt.

ECI, I see the news items about catalysts free of precious metals (learning from nature, it appears) and suspect that the cost of a stack is not going to be a problem.  That still leaves the other 3 miracles required for hydrogen:

    Producing it,
  • transporting it, and
  • storing it.
The economics and scale issues are not favorable for any of these.

I enjoy the debate about H2 vs BEV as much as the next guy. But neither will have a big impact on GHG without a carbon tax. Instead of vilifying the oil companies, implement the damn tax already. That will put the final nail in the coal coffin, coal being even dirtier than oil. Rachet up the tax, and let the best technology win.

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