The first impression immediately conveys that this Mirai is no ordinary Toyota. Its design is much more pleasing to European tastes than that of its predecessor – and it is bigger, fancier, and more refined than the Mirai 1. This impression is underlined by the statement of the director of the Berlin representative office of Toyota Motor Europe, Ferry Franz, that this model was actually supposed to be a Lexus.
Hydrogen set to play a vital part in green growth strategy
In 2017, Japan became the first industrialized nation to set out its national hydrogen plan. As part of the hydrogen society strategy, massive investments have been made in pioneering pilot projects, albeit with a clear focus on the importation of blue hydrogen. The Japanese hydrogen roadmap foresees expansion on the user side – through fuel cell vehicles, mini combined heat and power units in buildings, and the energy supply – as well as infrastructure build-out and, above all, the rapid establishment of supply chains abroad. And thanks to the Japanese government’s new climate target and green growth strategy, hydrogen has now assumed an even greater significance.
On March 19, German heating manufacturer Viessmann, based in Allendorf, announced it would shut down Hexis, its subsidiary in charge of developing SOFCs. The headline of the press release sounded rather innocuous: “Viessmann takes new path to implementing future-proof technology.“ However, in the third paragraph, the company then said it “will discontinue operations at Hexis.“
The United States Congress has restored the 30 percent investment tax credit for fuel cell power generation and forklifts, extending it through 2022, with a reduction in the final two years. The credit would be 26 percent in 2021 and 22 percent in 2022. This brings the fuel cell incentive in line with incentives for other advanced and renewable energy technologies.
Soon, Toyota may not only be known for its fuel cell cars and buses, but for trucks as well. A new initiative called Project Portal aims to build a 36-ton truck equipped with two fuel cell stacks originally designed for the Mirai. They will be supported by a 12-kilowatt-hour battery to provide 500 kilowatts of output and 1,800 Nm of torque at a range of 320 kilometers (199 miles).
This March, Shell presented a new study carried out in collaboration with the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. Focusing on transportation, the authors compared several different production pathways for hydrogen and took a closer look at the three regions spearheading global development: Germany, Japan and the United States. Jörg Adolf, who headed the project at Shell, said that hydrogen technology had made big advances over the past years, “not just in car use.”
A new megatrend needs time to develop. The last 15 years established the foundation for the coming breakthrough of fuel cells and a steadily growing interest in their use. Here’s why: Historically, technological revolutions often needed 15 years before a breakthrough was achieved. But once you’re past that point, everything goes very quickly, since no market actor wants to remain on the sidelines. This is exactly what’s happening to the fuel cell across all markets and applications.
Around 40% of the final energy in Germany is consumed by the building sector. About 85% of it is used for heating and hot water preparation. However, many heating boilers both in the private and public sector are outdated. Installing an efficient fuel cell heating system could save a great deal of energy and reduce CO2 emissions.
Japan’s federal R,D&D budget for the 2016 fiscal year, which starts April 1, 2016, is 37.1 billion yen (285 million Euro), according to a recent report from Technova, a Japanese advanced technology consultancy. The total includes continuing support for the successful Ene-Farm residential fuel cell program, which will support an estimated 50,000 residential installations this year.
Umicore and Solvay, the former mother companies of SolviCore, sold their joint venture in July 2015 to Toray Industries, a chemical company based in Japan. On Jan. 1, 2016, business … Read more