It’s been a big year for fuel cells in Japan, with a lot happening in the automotive arena. First, Toyota made available all of their hydrogen fuel cell patents to promote the development and commercialisation of fuel cell electric vehicles. Then, the Japanese government announced that they’re planning on spending $385 million on fuel-cell vehicle subsidies and hydrogen stations for the 2020 Olympics. Clearly, Japan is one of the pioneers of a new alternative energy future with hydrogen at the forefront, which makes sense given their ongoing struggle with CO2 emissions(at the year end of March 2014, they reached a record high of 1.2 billion metric tons released) and the move away from nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster.
Photo Credit: www.fcexpo.jp
As leaders in hydrogen fuel cell development, Intelligent Energy has had a strong presence in Japan for some time, particularly in the automotive market. We first partnered with Suzuki back in 2006, and together produced the Suzuki Fuel Cell Burgman scooter, the first fuel cell vehicle of any type to receive whole vehicle type approval. Further to this, in 2012, Suzuki and Intelligent Energy formed the joint venture company, Smile FC System Corporation, to develop and manufacture fuel cell systems.
So what’s the next big thing in Japan with hydrogen fuel cells? That’s what was discussed at the Fuel Cell Expo at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center that took place from February 25 through February 27. As the world’s leading hydrogen fuel cell exhibition and conference, it gathered together all the best products, technologies, information and leaders in the industry to share ideas about how best to improve technology and learn more efficient techniques.
Besides the push around fuel cell electric cars, there was other hydrogen technology that caught our eye: a portable hydrogen station mounted on the back of a truck, an infra-red sensing hydrogen dispenser and updates to existing models of hydrogen fuellers that will make them more efficient.
Were you at the Expo? What was your favorite exhibition and trend highlighted there?