Japan to formulate 'hydrogen society' strategy by yearend


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Why hydrogen stations and fuel cell cars? Surely solar/wind/etc electricity generation and electric cars are more mature technologies?

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EVs with their batteries require to change them around 6~8 years when the batteries capacity had diminished by half. At the moment that is not avoidable. The first generation EVs that were sold in 2012 is facing this fate right now. Replacing batteries is a very costly procedure making the resale value of EVs at zero after five years. Not really good for the consumers.

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Does Toshiba have any link to hydrogen technology?

Seems a bit strange that Abe would suddenly come out with this idea just when Toshiba's existence as a going concern is under threat.

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But what will Japan do with all that hot gas inside the PM?

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Yep, just as I thought. This is the plan to save Toshiba.

Toshiba is committed to realizing a hydrogen economy in which hydrogen produced with zero carbon emissions using a renewable source of energy is fully utilized. We are endeavoring to develop technologies and products that will help produce, store, transport and use hydrogen more efficiently in various situations. From Water, To Water. TOSHIBA Hydrogen Energy Business Models

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Seems a bit strange that Abe would suddenly come out with this idea

He didn't. Its been discussed on various occasions in the past three to five years. He said the Olympic village would become a showcase of Japan's hydrogen energy technology being powered through Hydrogen fuel cells.

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Great news. The area I live in is already way ahead on this plan and we have hydrogen buses that prove very efficient and I see hydrogen cars on the road more and more everyday. I am looking forward to this being commonly available everywhere in the future.

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Lol, I love how many people downvote me for asking a simple question... great community here!

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@Striker 10

It seems a fair question. While I don't know what the Japanese government's plans are, hydrogen offers a "storage" solution for energy generated from things such as solar or wind. So when the wind stops blowing, you still have the hydrogen to use. As for fuel cells over batteries in vehicles, I guess it helps overcome the recharging requirements that limit current electric vehicles.

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albaleo, zichi - Thanks for the explanation. So it's not necessarily an either/or situation, you can do some give and take between the two solutions.

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You still need to deal with Lithium and rare earth materials. The majority deposit of those are in countries not so friendly with US, etc. Besides, recycling Lithium is not that easy either and not too many facilities can handle that, so it is not really as eco friendly as you might think.

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So it's not necessarily an either/or situation, you can do some give and take between the two solutions.

That's my take on it. I think we have a long way to go yet on developing alternative energy technology. There would seem to be a place for both battery systems and fuel cells. For many vehicular needs, perhaps fuel cells offer more promise. But I think there are many situations where chargeable batteries might be better. Anyway, it's good to see developments in these areas.

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The efficiency of hydrogen for anything smaller than a train is terrible. Much better off using the electricity directly rather than converting it to hydrogen (loss) then using it (another loss). The only reason to do this is to perpetuate the big company model of energy delivery. Oh, delivery. If the truck is hydrogen powered delivering hydrogen you'll need more trucks. It's nuts

Make the highway the battery source, run cars off the highway electricity, and you can reduce all manner of requirements.

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What jumps out at me from the article is the dates. 2020.... 2030....

And then you look at the comments and people are talking about batteries this and that. Quick fixes with one or more neat little ideas that more or less fit with the "you know.... somebody should xyzpdq and save the world." And you will never find someone who gives some consideration to WHO might do that or what resources it will take, and oh... let's be sure to count out those bad old utilities because Fukushima or because profit....etc.

How long can people keep spinning around in those circles? One poster despairs of this community. And gee... I see his point. There is not a lot of learning going on here.

The most hopeful sign I see is that people posting here are kind of skeptical about batteries. Finally. The Tesla gigafactory is not going to bring costs down that much because Panasonic has been trying to reduce costs for decades and now SURPRISE... Panasonic is running the gigafactory. Their returns to scale are not going to be great. There is not a lot of innovation going on. Most of the lower prices will come from overcapacity, not from lower costs.. Tesla will go broke if it makes enough batteries. Nobody really needs an 80 kWh battery in their car. A prius has about 5 kWh to 7 kWh, and that is going to be best for most people for quite a while.

Solar is a huge success story in most parts of the world. The solar to battery model looks attractive, but the battery is the problem. It halfway solves a lot of problems, but solves none and makes other problems worse. And that will not change for a long time. History will show that Musk's ideas are all half-baked in the very literal sense of the word. Nikola Tesla was exactly the same way.

Here is the deal about H2. 2020 is really almost here. Can Japan get 40k hydrogen vehicles on the road by then? It is certainly possible. But only because this is Japan. Large companies have the capital and the production capability to make something happen if the incentives are there. Are those incentives likely to be forthcoming? No. I suppose it is possible that if Japan commits to a hydrogen infrastructure, it could happen. But then we are really talking more about 2030. A hydrogen infrastructure requires producers and consumers and distribution. That is it. It can be rolled out pretty quickly for major cities, but a full roll out can be done over a decade.

Producing H2 should be done by utilties. Why? Because they have tons of excess electricity these days. They will have even more as solar prices continue to fall. Did you know that about HALF of all the generated electricity from all sources is never used for anything? Daytime demand is falling and utilities have switched to coal, oil, and large gas plants. They can either waste that electriicty because nobody uses it. Or they can put it in expensive batteries, which is a dead end. Or they can use it to produce H2 and sell it. IF solar and hydro make electricity super cheap, then producing H2 is going to save utilities and save the planet. Just by eliminating wasted capacity, the world gains a huge new resource.

But it is better than that. Australia has a lot of excess electricity too these days. It also has natural gas and coal. It can use that to produce some gases that can be shipped safely to Japan, where they can be converted to H2 pretty easily. Australia can do this using solar power. The US can do it in Texas using excess wind power. Japan can even import that natural gas or LNG and do the conversion at port facilities using solar or wind power. Or nuclear.

These systems can produce H2 while reducing waste and CO2 emissions. They do not require heavy batteries. Japan can also get cheaper resources from abroad.

But that transformation is going to take capital and a lot of smart people. The good news is that it is absolutely doable using present technologies. We don't need a new grid. We don't need new power plants. The more solar and hydro power the better. We won't even need a whole lot of batteries.

Unfortunately, Japan has turned its back on capital and technology, which are the only forces that can make this transformation happen. The anti-nuclear hysteria echo-chamber has been led by a lot of do-nothing people who want to hold everyone else back from solving problems. I expect them to win because people are basically dumb, but we all need to know what COULD HAVE BEEN. So H2 by 2030? Yes. It COULD happen. But it won't.

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