Japan’s First Dual-Purpose Hydrogen & Gasoline Refuelling Station Opens in Ebina

24 Apr 2013

Ebina station

Japan’s first dual-purpose hydrogen and gasoline refuelling station, and the first in a non-industrial area, opened in Ebina on Friday 19th April. The station is the result of a joint project between JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), which is largely funded by the Japanese government’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). “We want to set up hydrogen stations in at least 40 places by 2015,” said Seiichi Isshiki, president of JX Nippon Oil & Energy. Iwatani has also committed to build twenty stations so the country is well on its way to meetings its target. Its construction follows a relaxing of government legislation and is the demonstration of a new commercial hydrogen station standard developed by the Research Association of Hydrogen Supply/Utilization Technology (HySUT).

 

Reference: The Asahi Shimbun

 

Background information (from Fuel Cell Today’s 2012 Fuel Cell RCS Review)

Japan is a key early market for the introduction of FCEV and has been a keen pursuer of the technology for many years, in large parts thanks to proactive domestic OEMs Honda, Nissan and Toyota. The three carmakers are members of a larger industry grouping, HySUT. The Research Association of Hydrogen Supply/Utilization Technology (HySUT) comprises eighteen companies and organisations, including gas suppliers and engineering associations. Established in July 2009, its aim is to establish hydrogen supply infrastructure in Japan and improve the hydrogen business environment.

HySUT member JPEC (the Japan Petroleum Energy Center) commissioned German regulator TÜV-SÜD to review the technical requirements and applicable regulations and standards for licensing, constructing and operating hydrogen refuelling stations in Germany and Europe. The results of this study are being used to guide revisions of Japan’s legal regulations for hydrogen refuelling stations. The Japanese government’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) encouraged the work and, alongside HySUT, is hoping to advance the establishment of a national network of 700 bar hydrogen refuelling stations. By aligning themselves more closely with the European market, the Japanese stakeholders are making steps towards a unified market for FCEV.

A revised Japanese commercial hydrogen station specification is to be demonstrated within the 2012 fiscal year by HySUT with the launch of two new hydrogen stations in Nagoya and Ebina. Demonstration is an important step in the development of RCS as it proves real-world viability. The stations will be used to test and evaluate commercial operation, equipment specifications, licensing procedures, and construction.

Both of the sites will also serve as petrol stations supplying gasoline to incumbent vehicles. The ability to install hydrogen pumps at existing petrol stations offers an advantageous infrastructure build-up model as these are already situated in strategic locations across the country. Unclear and over-compensative hydrogen setback distances have been a hindrance to this model in the past, particularly in Japan, where domestic standards can often lean towards the overcautious.

Two different station formats are to be evaluated. At the Ebina station, hydrogen will be reformed and compressed to 450 bar off-site and trucked to the station for further compression, storage and dispensing. At the Nagoya station LPG is trucked to the station with reforming and compression taking place on-site. The Ebina station will offer 350 and 700 bar refuelling, Nagoya will offer just 700 bar.

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