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

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.

Comments

HarveyD

Many of the 'could' will become 'will' between 2020 and 2025 when 1,000,000+ FCEVs will progressively become operational together with a few thousand H2 stations.

Subsidized and partially subsidized H2 stations will run on REs (hydro + wind + solar) + NPP and will automatically go to reduced H2 production during peak electricity consumption hours. Stored H2 will supply customers on a 24/7 basis.

By 2030 or so, BEVs and FCEVs will be taxed by distance travelled + vehicle weight and not by kWh or Kg of H2 consumed.

The size and number of H2 Stations will be increased progressively to meet demands.

Engineer-Poet

If there are going to be "a few thousand" (3000?) H2 stations to service 1 million FCEVs, they're going to have to be able to service more than 36 vehicles/station/day; most drivers are going to need to fill up more often than every 9-10 days.

DaveD

Harvey, you're starting to sound like Roger. Now you're predicting more vehicles than even the delusional optimist who are producing the FCVs??? Name a single manufacturer of FCVs that is predicting over a million of them between 2020 - 2025??

Dude, seriously, get a grip on reality.

DaveD

SJC,
Are you seriously saying it's the responsibility of EP and others (who live in reality) to define solutions to make the Hydrogen farce work??? LOL That's cute. Embarrassing, but cute.

HarveyD

With 600 Km to 800 Km range, most FCEVs will not have to visit an H2 station more than 12000/600 = 20 times/year or 18000/600 = 30 times/year. About the same as with current ICEVs.

With the arrival of lower pressure SS H2 tanks, many FCEVs users may keep a large home unit for the BBQ etc.

The number of H2 public stations will multiply to satisfy the growing number of FCEVs.

One can see two types of H2 stations:

1) large stations (HUB) with large production + compression + distribution capabilities.

2) small mobile type H2 distribution stations without production capabilities. H2 will be moved in from the nearby H2 Hub station by truck-trailer on an as required basis.

One large Hub H2 station could feed 2 to 4 mobile H2 stations.

HarveyD

@ Dave D:

Tell me where we can buy an affordable NEW extended range BEV with 160+ kWh quick charge battery pack (for 600+ Km winter time range) for $57K or less and we'll buy.

That may be possible by 2030 or so!

Meanwhile, we will keep driving our (45 mpg to 55 mpg) Toyota HEVs. However, that may be possible with an FCEV by 2020, if enough H2 stations are installed?

Alain

@EP
If FC is competitive to place in a car, which drives hardly a few hours per day) an electrolizer (~= FC) will certainly be competitive, since it can work 24/7 (or less if only cheaper electrons are used).

Small elektrolizers can be locally installed initially and scaled-up as a function of demand. H2 can thus be produced locally. Storing it is not too difficult. Carbonfiber/polymer composites can ultimately be mass produced relative cheaply. If they are adequate to be placed safely in driving cars, they are certainly adequate to place in a gass station. Compared to NG, H2 is very safe since any leakage will immediately drain to the stratosphere.

Engineer-Poet

Alain, I suspect you'd have diseconomies of downscaling because the cost of much of the gear doesn't change much just because it's smaller or handling less material, but that's just a seat-of-the-pants judgement.  Fewer, bigger units are usually the way to go at least up to a point.

Engineer-Poet

Yes, DaveD, that IS what SJC is demanding of me.  He sounds like a petulant 8-yr-old, but I'd wager that he's actually a thirty-something non-STEM major.

Roger Pham

Let me sum up the major points of this article:

1) The Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)is setting targets for development of FC and H2 infrastructure. Japan has no significant reserve of fossil fuels, so we can expect Renewable Energy to be the main energy source.

2) Steady progress on the construction of H2 stations and acquisition of FCEV's so far to permit METI to predict 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.

3) Halving the cost of FC stack to 1/2 by 2020 and to 1/4 by 2015. 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. At this point, we will see that FCEV will take over sales of ICEV's and HEV's.

All these news are very encouraging for the replacement of fossil fuels by Renewable Energy, and should be cause for celebration. Why are we arguing against the builder and maker of the hydrogen economy?

electric-car-insider.com

RP> Why are we arguing against the builder and maker of the hydrogen economy?

Given the poor progress with infrastructure and limited market acceptance of FCVs to date, it seems reasonable to question optimistic predictions, especially considering the greater success of electric vehicles and competitive advantage of existing infrastructure.

Predicting a growth J curve for FCVs some 10-15 years out seems reasonable until you realize that with batteries under $100 kWh and 300 mile EVs available from most major automakers, H2's market opportunity will have closed.

A new market entrant needs a significant competitive advantage to succeed. Packaging and physics constrain FCV range to about 300 mile. No advantage there.

Quicker refuel time is and advantage for FCVs over BEVs, but not PHEVs. H2 fuel cost that exceeds gasoline, probably by a large margin, is a distinct disadvantage.

Given those realities, why is anyone not employed by an H2 stakeholder arguing for a hydrogen economy?


Engineer-Poet
why is anyone not employed by an H2 stakeholder arguing for a hydrogen economy?

There are also the anti-nukes who see H2 as the only way to buffer the unreliability of fickle wind and solar.  The Energiewende advocates are all big on H2.

Roger Pham

@ECI,
Let me invite you to look at the bigger picture:

1) That Renewable Energy (RE) in the form of Solar and Wind will someday replace fossil fuels entirely. That means replacing coal, natural gas, petroleum entirely, for all manners of usage, from home heating, industrial steel making, industrial production of fertilizers, plastic, etc.
Hydrogen can replace all fossil fuels.

2) The USA consumes 25,000 TWh of primary energy in total, of which, 10,000 TWh is used to generate 4,000 TWh of electricity. So, non-electricity is 15,000 TWh, and adding to that 4,000 TWh of electricity will make it 19,000 TWh, and electricity makes up only 21% of that 19,000 TWh of total energy consumed. Source: Wikipedia Energy in the United States.

3) However, if the transportation sector consumption of 7,000 TWh is replaced with Hydrogen at 2x the efficiency, then, it would be only 3,500 TWh instead of 7,000 TWh. So, 19,000 TWh - 3,500 TWh = 15,500 TWh of energy total, of which 4,000 TWh will come from Solar and Wind, and 3,500 will come from hydrogen for transportation. 4,000 TWh grid electricity demand / 15,500 TWh = 25%.

So, if you would set up enough solar and wind capacity to generate FIVE TIMES the total electrical energy demand of 4,000 TWh annually from the grid, then, you will have covered ALL the energy consumption of the USA. The FIVE times instead of FOUR is to cover loss in Hydrogen production.

4) When you have FIVE times grid average electricity demand in Solar and Wind capacity, then, you can see that you will need very little in term of grid utility energy storage, because of the overwhelming capacity. Somewhere in the USA's large grid, there will be some wind blowing, even at low-wind night, or cloudy and low-wind days. Without the high need for grid utility energy storage, Solar and Wind is NOW already cost competitive with Fossil Fuel power plants!

5) So, on sunny and windy days, when you have FIVE times the Solar and Wind generation capacity than average grid demand, what are you gonna do with all that grid-EXCESS RE? You make Hydrogen, that's what you'll do. What will that do to the future prices of RE-Hydrogen? Quite cheap, indeed!

6) What will you do when Hydrogen will be so affordable and available everywhere? You will drive with Hydrogen, that's what you will do, my friend.

7) That, my friend, is the rest of the story! Solar and Wind is already cost-competitive with fossil fuel power plants, with a little help from Hydrogen, of course. And Solar and Wind are on trajectory to get even cheaper and cheaper...see how encouraging our future will be? With a little help from Hydrogen, my friend.

Arnold

@ JamesEEI

I agree that putting a price on carbon will be critical to the success of Re H2.

The fossil fuel companies and their ppolitico lackies have shown us exactly how little regard they have for future and current global citizens.

If they can continue to line their pockets with tainted gold we are f**ed.

Most posters make good points on both sides of the H2 question and we should not forget that Battery charging also requires the electrons to come from clean sources to be of ANY benefit to the immediate concern of Global warming.

I personally think that where the energy 'lossy' nature of H2 conversions is not critical, or the energy requirements for I.E industrial large grid esp intermittent support or where the H2 is required for its other industrial chemical applications, there will be a business case argument that will include simplifying and practical infrastructure advantages.

Produced on site from renewable energy, at well managed and sensibly located industrial hubs, this could be an enabling technology.

But allowing or accepting a half baked fossil fuel derived system that locks in high priced energy or transportation slavery will be a complete disaster. Unfortunately that seems to be the direction the moguls will take us if they are allowed.

Anyone who thinks the fossil fuel industry And the politician foot soldiers see this as other than a cleaner than clean greenwash is ignoring the evidence presented.

electric-car-insider.com

I also agree that putting a price on carbon is the most rational response to address fossil fuel externalities, although it should take into consideration the extraction damage as well as the emissions.

Roger, I congratulate you for making a good argument, and your passion for the subject. I actually do see potential viability for H2 in utility scale stationary storage applications where simpler and cheaper technology, like pumped hydro, is not feasible.

A lot of the intermittancy of RE, excluding seasonal variation, could be soaked up by smart EV charging, and that technology is being tested and deployed now. Even unidirectional smart charging is a good solution.

The difficulty and expense of distributing and dispensing H2 is its Achilles heel. When I've brought this up in the past, and shown just how expensive (and why) your response has been that the taxpayer will pay. Well, until you (and the industry) has a coherent response to that problem (a science and engineering breakthrough) it is just so much hand waving.

Meanwhile, the scoreboard gets increasingly lopsided. I hope you don't make a living selling Toyota Mirai. It's going to be an increasingly rough road ahead, especially with H2 advocate Daimler recently admitting that electrics are much more practical than fuel cell vehicles.

With 200-300 mile BEVs on the road from multiple manufacturers, and PHEVs available from all manufacturers, there simply isn't any compelling reason for any consumer to buy an FCV.

We can speculate all day long on cheap FCVs, cheap H2 and cheap infrastructure, but until these things are actually produced, it is just daydreaming. And for companies putting out commercials about H2 from lemonade and bullsh!t, well, you just can't say it any plainer than that. Greenwashing, it seems, is too kind.

Roger Pham

@Arnold,
Did it ever occur to you that the Fossil Fuel Industry might also want to have the transition toward an eventual all Renewable Energy (RE) Economy? Of course, this has to happen at a rate gradual enough for them to recoup past fossil-fuel investments. Why will the energy industry want to abandon fossil fuels?

Because Solar and Wind electricity without storage is now cost-competitive with fossil-fuel power plants, while Solar and Wind is on a downward trajectory for even much more cost reduction that will result, in a decade or two, in cost-competitiveness with even petroleum, natural gas, and coal, even when considering the additional cost of making and storing RE in the form of H2.

The simplest and most effective course of action is for governments all over the world to start mandating a gradual increase in Renewable -Energy (RE) content of ALL forms of energy.
For example, 0.5% increase in RE content yearly initially, going to 1% annual increase in RE content after 5 years, then to 1.5% annual increase in RE content after 5 more years...and so on.

A gradual RE-content-increase mandate is not a tax, and will not have major effect on the consumers' fuel costs in the near future because it is very gradual, only 0.5% increase annually initially, going to 1% annually after 5 years...and so on. So, there will be much less political opposition than a carbon tax that will make everything expensive right away.

A gradual RE mandate will set in motion the production of increasing RE electricity, battery, synfuels, etc... that will cost less and less in the future, due to economy of scale, experience, technological innovations etc.

Thus, the RE mandate will break the chicken-and-the-egg problem of economy of scale necessary for low cost in order to be competitive, however, initial high cost due to small production volume cannot result in economy of scale to become cost-competitive to gain market share...

The Energy industry may eventually embrace the RE mandate, because they realize that fossil fuels will not last forever. Waiting for near exhaustion of fossil fuel before meaningful deployment of RE will be too late, and will result in major economic and political disruptions, major suffering and hardship world wide.

Yet, the energy companies must be provided with a guaranteed demand for RE, right NOW, in order to start ramping up production of initially-non-cost-competitive RE forms (Battery, H2, synfuels, waste biomass etc). They cannot economically justify making RE of various forms right now without such a RE market guarantee, because they will lose money on those...However, with a RE mandate, they will gladly be making RE of various forms and pass down the initially-increase cost of RE forms to the customers.

Even if you don't believe in man-made Global Warming, you would still want to see this very gradual Renewable Energy mandate to give us relief from pollution AND to give us Energy Security as a hedge against future economic shocks, due to geopolitical disruption in the supply of fossil-fuel energy.

Engineer-Poet

Roger, give us some numbers on what that hydrogen would cost (including a reasonable rate of return for the generators of the electricity that goes into it), and what the fuels it would replace cost now.

Unless and until those numbers work out, it's all smoke.  Hopium smoke.

electric-car-insider.com

RP> Fossil Fuel Industry might also want to have the transition toward an eventual all Renewable Energy (RE) Economy?

In bold text no less. Oh my. I've often wondered about your motivation for posting Roger, but that bit of malarky puts me much closer to a conclusion.

BP made investments in, then pulled out of, RE. What other major FF energy company has actually made any significant investments in RE?

Your thesis simply ignores all available evidence. That shouldn't surprise me, par for the course.

The majors have, in fact, called for a carbon tax. But I doubt they'll be betting on the opposing team any time soon. After you've won big for over 150 years straight, it's going to be a battle to the bitter end, as Peabody has just demonstrated.

Roger Pham

@E-P and ECI,

H2 from RE is still more expensive than Natural Gas, Petroleum, and Coal per kWh of thermal energy. That's why the Energy Industry is not embracing it at the moment.
However, with a gradually-phasing-in RE mandate to level the playing field among all Energy companies, an artificial market for RE will be created to permit ramping up of RE of all forms, even though RE is not yet competitive to fossil fuel per unit of thermal energy.

The upshot of all this will be encouraging innovations, inventions, and economy of scale for synthetic fuels from RE, along with experience...All these have been known to vastly reduce the cost of anything in the past, and will do so for RE-synfuels until these will become cost-competitive with fossil fuels.

Make no mistake about it, the costs of solar and wind electricity are still on a steady downward path as of this writing.
From: http://nawindpower.com/doe-report-highlights-wind-energy-price-cost-trends

"Prices for wind power purchase agreements (PPA) have reached all-time lows. After topping out at nearly $70/MWh for PPAs executed in 2009, the national average levelized price of wind PPAs that were signed in 2014 fell to around $23.5/MWh nationwide – a new low, but admittedly the price is focused on a sample of projects that largely hail from the lowest-priced Interior region of the U.S."

Now, just try to calculate the energy cost of 1kg of H2 made from 2.3 cent/kWh wind energy at 55 kWh/kg at the pump?
$1.26 for energy cost of 1 kg of H2 compressed at the pump! Of course, with economy of scale and experience and more innovation, electrolyzers and compressors will also come way down in cost...Perhaps 1 kg of H2 at the pump will cost no more than $2 to make, and selling for under $3, due to large volume of use.

Do you see the implication of all this, when we will establish a gradual RE mandate in the near future? You all are invited to spread the words out to all energy companies and to all authorities involved, world wide, so that quick action can result in the saving of our planet.

electric-car-insider.com

Yes, the implication is technology that does not currently exist at a competitive price point, and is unlikely to exist if less expensive, simpler, more practical alternatives not only exist, but resoundingly beat it to market.

I agree that the cost performance curve of solar and wind will put it on a very competitive footing within the next decade. California has already implemented an RE mandate, but is not relying on hydrogen to accomplish it.

I agree that if electricity were available at $0.023 kWh hydrogen would be more attractive than it is today (and electric fuel for EVs would be practically free). But I also don't see consumers paying the cost premium for hydrogen over electric without a particularly compelling reason, which has yet to be offered.

Even in the great white north, a small H2 canister for heat (or ethanol preferably, as EP has pointed out) would make much more sense than the expense and complexity of large 10k PSI tanks and FC stacks for traction.

If all the H2 hardware and infrastructure were magically cheaper, sure, hydrogen would be more attractive. There just isn't any evidence that it will be in any reasonable time frame.

There is plenty of evidence from actual industry performance over the past 13 years that it will be more expensive, more problematic, more difficult, slower to develop and ultimately uncompetitive.

When those facts change, I'll be happy to give you another hearing. For now, we've flogged this horse quite enough.

Engineer-Poet

Roger, add in the cost of the tax credits required to get people to build the wind farms (2.3¢/kWh credit, worth ~3.5¢/kWh to taxable entities paying 35%) as well as whatever they get for RECs.  The PTC alone boosts the total energy cost to over $3/kg.

The only reason the unreliables look cheap is that their costs have been separated from their price.  This is already reaching its limits.

Account Deleted

Roger hydrogen will always be at least 8 times as expensive per mile driven as battery power. It is easy to see why. You lose efficiency for electrolysis, compression and at the fuel cell. On that account alone you lose a combined 75% of the energy (0.75% = 1-0.65*0.65*0.6) so hydrogen is 4 times as expensive as battery power. However, you also need to add hilariously expensive capital cost from the electrolyzer, the hydrogen storage tank and the compressors and its pipes and security sensors all of which has low durability and need to be replaced pretty often. Add these capital costs for hydrogen for FCV and we get at least 8 times as expensive fuel per mile driven as you do with BEVs. It is game over and you should be smart enough to see that.

That being said I agree we still need to make hydrogen for industrial applications like steel manufacturing, plastics and for large scale leverage of intermittencies from renewable energy. There are alternatives to hydrogen with regard to the latter. Thermal storage can also be used to store intermittent renewable energy on a large scale and it may be cheaper than hydrogen. I believe thermal and hydrogen storage will coexist to solve the intermittency of renewable energy in the most affordable manner.

Renewable hydrogen may also have a future as aviation and shipping fuel. But please forget about hydrogen for FCV it is game over already.

yoatmon

A "futile hope" emanating from several comments that FCs will become cheap is the same as hoping for dry water.

Robin

It is incredible how this website is trolled by Tesla fan and how obvious is their lack of technical knowledge. I can see many people fighting to defend H2 and FC in an objective way while other respond with belief and false ideas.
For the last ones, I will expose a few facts (without talking about science and technology):

-All the major car manufacturer (Toyota, GM, Volkswagen, Renault-Nissan, etc) are doing research both on FC and battery: they are doing this because they think both market can work. Tesla is basically one of the only "manufacturer" that thinks differently. Tesla has never mass produced neither made any benefits. Tesla is led by one excentric billionnaire with a lot of money to spend while other manufacturers have a clear vision and rational thinking.

-The governement (US, EU, Japan) are putting incentive in both FC and battery research: there is no plot for H2 energy...Even if it was the case for automotive, FC are still the only alternative for other applications.

-H2 is being produced, stored, transported by Gas industry for decades. There is no miracle or secret.

To come back to the case of Japan, they are pushing on FC to be independant in term of energy. EU would be wrong not to do the same. US is another story. Taking into account only details like consummer point of view, theoretical future price or efficiency of electrolyser (etc..) would be a great mistake to solve the wolrd energy issue.

Robin

It is incredible how this website is trolled by Tesla fan and how obvious is their lack of technical knowledge. I can see many people fighting to defend H2 and FC in an objective way while other respond with belief and false ideas.
For the last ones, I will expose a few facts (without talking about science and technology):

-All the major car manufacturer (Toyota, GM, Volkswagen, Renault-Nissan, etc) are doing research both on FC and battery: they are doing this because they think both market can work. Tesla is basically one of the only "manufacturer" that thinks differently. Tesla has never mass produced neither made any benefits. Tesla is led by one excentric billionnaire with a lot of money to spend while other manufacturers have a clear vision and rational thinking.

-The governement (US, EU, Japan) are putting incentive in both FC and battery research: there is no plot for H2 energy...Even if it was the case for automotive, FC are still the only alternative for other applications.

-H2 is being produced, stored, transported by Gas industry for decades. There is no miracle or secret.

To come back to the case of Japan, they are pushing on FC to be independant in term of energy. EU would be wrong not to do the same. US is another story. Taking into account only details like consummer point of view, theoretical future price or efficiency of electrolyser (etc..) would be a great mistake to solve the wolrd energy issue.

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