Japan’s largest oil company, JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. opened its first commercial hydrogen station in Ebina City, Kanagawa Prefecture, on 25 Dec. 2014. The opening was timed with the launch of Toyota Motor Corp.’s launch of the Mirai, Japanese for future, which uses a hydrogen fuel cell instead of batteries and comes with a price tag of JPY6.7 million (USD56,509). The Mirai is powered by an electric engine of 113 KW (152 bhp) and has a maximum speed of 110 mph (almost 180 km/h). It has a recharging time of three minutes. The benefit of this car is that it emits no carbon dioxide pollutants as its being driven.
The station is capable of filling five or six fuel cell vehicle (FCVs) per hour, assuming that each FCV holds 50 cubic nanometres of hydrogen.
Hydrogen is sold at JPY1,000 per kilogram (USD8.43), which is equivalent to the gasoline cost of a hybrid vehicle of the same class as the Mirai.
At the station, which is called “Dr. Drive Ebina Chuo Store,” customers can not only buy hydrogen, but can get their vehicles washed and their tires replaced.
The station uses an off-site method, meaning that compressed hydrogen is transported with a hydrogen trailer. The station is equipped with a hydrogen compressor, pressure accumulator, freezing machine, filling machine and other equipment.
JX Nippon is planning on building 23 commercial hydrogen stations, supported by the “Project to Support the Installation of Hydrogen Supply Facilities for Fuel Cell Vehicles” of Next Generation Vehicle Promotion Center.
Within fiscal year 2014, which ends in March 2015, it will open 11 hydrogen stations, excluding small-scale charging spots, in Tokyo and Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba and Aichi prefectures.