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Honda's Clarity fuel cell car supplies power in this demonstration in Tokyo.

Honda to install faster-filling hydrogen stations across Japan

Network of 100 stations by 2020 will broaden the range of fuel cell cars

TOKYO -- Honda Motor has developed an improved type of hydrogen fueling station that it plans to install across Japan beginning in 2018.

With the cooperation of local governments, the Japanese automaker hopes to have around 100 of the stations in place by 2020, providing the kind of broad-based infrastructure required if fuel cell cars are to become anything more than a novelty.

Honda debuted the Smart Hydrogen Station in 2014 and has so far installed 15 of the stations nationwide. These stations create hydrogen on-site from electrolysis of water using solar power and other renewable energy resources. In addition, the hydrogen gas is pressurized without using a mechanical compressor, so the stations are small and quiet compared with other hydrogen fueling stations.

In Honda's new version of the Smart Hydrogen Station, the hydrogen gas is pressurized twice as high to 70 megapascals, meaning fuel cell cars can be refueled in just about 3 minutes and loaded with enough hydrogen to travel 750km.

And whereas other hydrogen stations cost 400 million yen to 500 million yen ($3.5 million to $4.4 million), Honda says this station can be installed for just 50 million yen to 70 million yen, when government subsidies are factored in.

Excluding the stations installed independently by companies like Honda, there are currently only 91 hydrogen fueling stations in Japan, and most are located in the four main metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka.


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