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Toyota approved to self-inspect and manufacture hydrogen tanks for fuel cell vehicles

Toyota Motor Corporation has received approval from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to self-inspect and manufacture high-pressure hydrogen tanks for fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). This makes Toyota the first company to become a registered manufacturer of 70 MPa (700 bar) hydrogen tanks under Japan’s High Pressure Gas Safety Act, revised in 1997 by METI.

Under the Act, all containers and accessories for storing gases at pressures of 1 MPa (10 bar) and above must be type-certified by METI, and are subjected to witnessed inspections by the High Pressure Gas Safety Institute of Japan (KHK) during the manufacturing process. Hydrogen tanks require an additional inspection upon completion.

Since the tanks cannot be used in vehicle assembly until they pass these inspections, until now, KHK inspectors were required to be present during the manufacture of hydrogen tanks for Toyota’s various test vehicles, such as the Toyota FCHV-adv. This, in turn, meant that tank inventory control and manufacturing plans, in addition to broader FCV production plans, needed to be adjusted around tank inspection schedules.

Due to ongoing plans to bring an FCV sedan to market in Japan before April 2015, Toyota applied to register as a container manufacturer in order to be able to self-inspect and manufacture high-pressure hydrogen tanks. To receive approval, a company must meet KHKS 0102, a set of stringent criteria containing 194 requirements set forth by KHK, and must demonstrate that it possesses a high-level manufacturing quality management system.

To meet the KHKS 0102 criteria, Toyota developed a quality manual and container inspection rules based on its extensive quality management expertise, and established a fully documentable hydrogen tank quality management system that extends to affiliated parts companies.

In June, following KHK’s onsite audit of its high-pressure hydrogen tank production process, Toyota was judged to have met KHKS 0102 criteria. The following month, Toyota submitted an application to the Chubu Kinki Industrial Safety and Inspection Department to request approval from METI.

With this approval, Toyota will be able to manufacture tanks using in-house inspectors, without the need of witnessed inspections by KHK. Toyota believes this will lead to improved manufacturing efficiency for high-pressure hydrogen tanks, and to productivity improvements and cost reductions for FCVs.

Comments

gorr

I use to have high hope on hydrogen fcev but the more I look at it the more I change my mind and now I think that the hydrogen is too costly, the car is too costly, the range is too short. The only advantage is that it is less polluting than gasoline. I guess that it will remain a marginal technology as bev too. My next car will be the same receipe as before namely a small gasoline car with fuel injection, electronic ignition and 4 valves per cylinder, this is the cheapest solution, forget paying high dollar for an hybrid, a bev or a fuelcell to save less in fuel cost. The trick is to drive slow so you save even more gas.

Happy motoring and I hope you don't motor in a big suv.

HarveyD

@gor:

My wife, son and I have been dryving Toyota Hybrids (Prius and Camrys) for almost 2 years and are very pleased with all 3.

Fuel consumption is almost half our previous Toyotas ICE. Toyota has really mastered the Hybrid technology and it is affordable and flawless. Too bad the Avalon Hybrid is not sold in Canada.

The next generation will probably have more efficient, larger capacity, Lithium batteries. The new Prius could go to 60 mpg and the Camry-Avalon to 50 mpg.

gorr

Maybe in 2022 I will look at a used prius but I don't do a lot of mileage so paying a premium for a hybrid might not do the trick for me. Also I live in cold Canada and in winter I think that the battery is working poorly.

HarveyD

Hybrids have very small battery pack and are less affected by climate changes. However, like ICEVs, they use more gas in winter time and when ethanol/gas mixture is used.

We use heated garages, the summer/winter difference is not that large (under 10%).

Alain

Great news they are going to mass-production.
This means all other essential parts for FCV must also be market ready. The most important other difficult part is platinum-free (or with very little platinum) fuel cells (and therefore also electrolysers). It seems they are confident the will be able to deliver.
We'll need a lot of those tanks: one in the car, and one (a much bigger one) in the garage to store cheap excess solar or wind or night-time-nuclear electricity as H2.
This H2 can be used to fill the car, or to make electricity when renewables are not enough (most obviously summer-winter differences). "waste heat" from the electrolyser/fuelcell can be used for heating.
Once the technology is ready for cars (and this seems to be the case) the step to your own house-powerplant is small.
Mass-produced H2-tanks strong enough for driving cars are certainly strong enough to be firmly attached to the wall in your garage; fuelcells of many (tens of) kW needed for a car are much more than we need in a normal house. With cheap excess solar power (which many people I know already have at this moment) everyone can make his own fuel from rainwater, and increase grid-independence.

HarveyD

In the longer term, (10 to 15+ years), what will be the most appropriate way to store clean RE energy for mobile and fixed uses?

1. with much lower cost (under $100/kWh), lighter more efficient batteries (1000+ Wh/Kg) slow leak batteries with less transformation loss.

2. With lower cost efficient electrolizers, H2 tank and lower cost FCs?

Roger Pham

@Harvey,
Battery storage is more efficient for electricity, at around 80-85% efficient round-trip, perfect for short term storage, but not for seasonal scale storage.

H2 has poor round-trip efficiency of only 40% for electricity storage, however for heat energy storage, or combined heat and power storage, the efficiency is up to 80% round-trip. Perfect for winter use. Very low cost per kWh of capacity in comparison to battery.

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