The Nikkei reports that Iwatani will invest as much as ¥12 billion (US$97.3 million) to boost its production capacity for hydrogen gas 80% by fiscal 2018 to meet future demand from fuel cell vehicles. The new investments will give Iwatani the capacity to produce 504,000 liters of liquefied hydrogen a day (equivalent to 397,202 m3 of gaseous hydrogen), or enough to fill up 7,200 Toyota Mirai fuel cell cars. The company is targeting hydrogen sales of 600 million m3 on anticipated fuel cell vehicle demand of 2,400 million m3 by 2025.
The Japanese company will expand its two existing factories in Chiba and Yamaguchi prefectures and build a plant with two hydrogen gas production facilities in Kanagawa Prefecture.
Iwatani emphasizes the high-volume transport and storage characteristics of liquefied hydrogen. Liquefaction of hydrogen gas reduces its volume some 800 times, making it possible to increase transportation efficiency approximately 10 times compared to that of compressed hydrogen gas.
Iwatani first began handling hydrogen in 1941 and is Japan’s only supplier of liquefied hydrogen. The company has a 70% share of a market that now mainly serves the needs of semiconductor fabrication plants and other industrial users. (The industrial demand for hydrogen in Japan in 2012 was 140 million m3.)