OSAKA -- Iwatani is taking steps to raise production capacity for hydrogen gas 80% by fiscal 2018 to meet future demand from fuel cell vehicles.
The Japanese company will invest as much as 12 billion yen ($97.3 million) to expand its two existing factories in Chiba and Yamaguchi prefectures and to build a plant with two hydrogen gas production facilities in Kanagawa Prefecture.
The investments will give Iwatani the capacity to produce 504,000 liters of liquefied hydrogen a day, or enough to fill up 7,200 Toyota Mirai fuel cell cars, which went on sale in December 2014.
Iwatani is Japan's largest manufacturer of hydrogen gas, with a 70% share of a market that now mainly serves the needs of semiconductor fabrication plants and other industrial users. It has robust technologies for cooling and liquefying hydrogen gas, and for storing and transporting the hydrogen.
Now that fuel cell cars are starting to come to market and Japan plans to build a network of 100 hydrogen filling stations nationwide in fiscal 2015, the company is acting to expand its production capacity and keep a step ahead of rival hydrogen fuel suppliers.