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Hydrogen Fueling Station Development in Japan

Two announcements – focused on very different approaches for supplying hydrogen as a transportation fuel – shine a light on Japan’s approach to creating a national hydrogen energy economy.

On January 24, the American company Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. issued a press release about the launch of the Shikaoi Hydrogen Farm fueling station in Hokkaido, Japan. The station will be supplied by hydrogen derived from agricultural wastes via anaerobic digestion and Air Products’ biogas purification and steam methane reforming (SMR) technologies. The project was undertaken by a consortium that includes the Japanese companies Nippon Steel and Sumikin Pipeline & Engineering, Air Water, Inc., and Kajima Corporation.

Six months earlier, on July 19, 2016, the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) announced that another consortium – this one led by Hiroshima University and including Showa Denko, Taiyo Nichi Company, and Toyota Industries – had succeeded in developing “viable technology to produce high-purity hydrogen [from an] ammonia hydrogen station.”

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REFUEL Ammonia Use-Side Funding Awards

Six of the projects designated for funding by the ARPA-E REFUEL announcement on December 15 involve technologies on the use side of the ammonia energy space. Three focus on generating hydrogen from ammonia. Two focus on fuel cells that convert ammonia to electricity. One project involves both ammonia synthesis and use.

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US DOE: The REFUEL Project

In April 2016, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) released a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for its Renewable Energy to Fuels through Utilization of Energy-dense Liquids (REFUEL) program.

The focus of the program is carbon-neutral liquid fuels (CNLFs). In the DOE’s formulation, CNLFs are to be produced “from air and water using electrical or thermal energy from renewable sources.”

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