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.