Wednesday, October 2, 2013

No. 785: Move to produce hydrogen for fuel-cell vehicles gains momentum (October 2, 2013)

To prepare for the launch of fuel-cell vehicles in the consumer market in 2015, the move to produce hydrogen for fuel-cell vehicles gains momentum. Chiyoda Corp. will construct a large-scale plant that can supply hydrogen to 40,000 fuel-cell vehicles per day near Tokyo with an investment of 30 billion yen. Hydrogen-fuel is currently extracted in the process to produce chemical goods from oil, and it costs 120 yen to produce one cubic meter hydrogen-fuel. Mass production by the new plant to be constructed by Chiyoda will reduce the production cost to 80 yen per cubic meter. The company plans to reduce the cost to 60 yen per cubic meter by improving equipment in the future.

Chiyoda has the technology to dissolve hydrogen in toluene and make them liquid at normal temperature, and subsequently extract hydrogen from the liquid. The company plans to liquefy hydrogen generated in the process of drilling crude oil in oil producing countries and transport liquefied hydrogen to the new plant. With its self-developed catalyst technology, it will separate hydrogen from toluene. The new plant will have an annual supply capacity of 600 million cubic meters. Liquefied hydrogen will be delivered to hydrogen stations by specialized vehicles.

Osaka Gas is scheduled to put the equipment to produce 300 cubic meters of hydrogen per hour from city gas at a hydrogen station within the year. JX Nippon Oil and Energy will develop equipment that can extract 20% more hydrogen from fossil fuel than the existing equipment. Kobe Steel will develop a compression machine to fill high pressure hydrogen to a fuel-cell vehicle.

A fuel-cell vehicle stores 50 cubic meters of compressed hydrogen in its tank and travels about 500 km. It is expected that about 2 million fuel-cell vehicles will be running in 2025 in Japan.

 Building a hydrogen station in a gas station

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