In order to be ready with the necessary hydrogen infrastructure when fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are expected to reach the consumer market in 2015, Air Liquide Japan and Toyota Tsusho Corporation recently signed a partnership agreement to develop hydrogen fueling stations in Japan. The two companies will establish a joint venture called “Toyota Tsusho Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy Corporation”, where Toyota Tsusho will own 51% and Air Liquide Japan will own 49% of the company. The first project is to build two public hydrogen stations in the Aichi area of Japan to be operational in 2014.
Also working on the development of infrastructure for FCEVs, Toho Gas and Iwatani Corporation built four hydrogen stations in Toyota’s Ecoful Town (an area dedicated to promoting clean technology) in Toyota City in the Aichi prefecture. Until the stations at Ecoful Town went online, the Toyota City fuel cell buses operating there had to travel to the research building at Toyota Motor Company to refuel.
Building hydrogen stations remains an expensive proposition, so the Japanese government is providing large subsidies to encourage construction of more hydrogen stations. By the end of 2012, there were 17 hydrogen stations. The budget for hydrogen subsidy in 2013 is 4.6 billion yen (460 million dollars) and 19 stations will be installed. By 2015, The Japanese Government is aiming to install 100 stations and will subsidize 50% of the cost. Japanese groups are working to reduce the cost to achieve a unit cost of $2 million for a single station, but it costs about twice the price right now.
This video showcases hydrogen stations in Japan.