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Japan Investing Big in Hydrogen Power

Setting up network of refueling stations before 2020 Olympics.

by on Jan.22, 2015

Toyota Mirai, the maker's hydrogen fuel cell car, represents its future rather than electric vehicles.

As part of its broader shift away from nuclear power, Japan is turning towards hydrogen, a lightweight gas some proponents like to call the fuel of the future.

The government has approved an investment of 45.2 billion yen, or $385 million, to set up a network of hydrogen refueling stations that will be in place in time for the 2020 Olympics in the capital city of Tokyo. The money also will provide subsidies for the development of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

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“It’s time to introduce a hydrogen era,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters after test driving the new Toyota Mirai. (more…)

GM Setting Up Hydrogen Fueling Network In Hawaii

Fuel Cell Vehicles “an essential building block” in clean paradise.

by on Dec.08, 2010

GM and its new partners plan to set up a hydrogen fueling network, in Oahu, for vehicles like this Chevrolet Equinox FCV.

It’s about to get a bit cleaner in paradise.  General Motors and 10 of its partners plan to set up a hydrogen fueling network in Hawaii, by 2015, that could make the island state the first truly viable market for zero-emission fuel cell vehicles, or FCVs.

Dubbed the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative, or H2I, the project has the twin goals of reducing both automotive emissions and the state’s dependence upon foreign oil, sponsors said.  Currently, 90% of Hawaii’s energy needs are served by oil, but proponents are looking to harvest renewable power, which is available in abundance – some of which can be used to cleanly produce a steady supply of hydrogen gas.

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“In Hawaii, we want to address the proverbial chicken or egg dilemma,” said Charles Freese, executive director of GM Fuel Cell Activities.  “There has always been a looming issue over how to ensure that the vehicles and the necessary hydrogen refueling infrastructure are delivered to market at the same time.”

Fuel cell vehicles, such as a version of the Chevrolet Equinox GM has been field testing for several years, are similar to the new battery-electric vehicles now beginning to reach market.  Their wheels are turned solely by electric power.  But instead of a battery, FCVs rely on a source of energy known as a “stack.”

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