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PHOTO CAPTION: Hama Wing wind turbine Yokohama harbor

Japan Tries Wind-to-Hydrogen

Electrolyzed hydrogen produced by the Hama Wing wind turbine on Yokohama Bay will be used to power fuel cell forklifts at four Tokyo businesses.

Published: 22-Mar-2016

It's an idea that been around for while: use wind power to make hydrogen. It's been tried in Europe and even in North America over the past decade and a half. Now Toyota, working in concert with Toshiba Corp. and hydrogen company Iwatani Corp, has decided to try it in Japan, starting as all such projects do, on a small scale.

Wind-generated electrical power from the Hama Wing wind turbine on Yokohama harbor will be used to electrolyze water into hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O). The hydrogen will be compressed and hauled by truck to four sites around Tokyo to run fuel cell-powered forklifts.

Of course, it's logical ask, which News Observer's Yuri Kageyama did, "Why not just use the electricity produced by wind power for electric vehicles? Why bother making hydrogen?"

"Defending the project, Toyota Senior Managing Officer Shigeki Tomoyama stressed that it is easier to store hydrogen than electricity."
Most hydrogen today is reformed from methane (natural gas), itself a potent green house gas and considered a non-renewable fossil fuel.

Japan's government has set an ambitious goal to create a "hydrogen economy" starting with a hydrogen highway of fueling stations, but their high cost is said to be hampering the project. The cost of the vehicles themselves, like the Toyota Mirai and Honda's new 2nd generation Clarity fuel cell sedan also constrains widespread acceptance of the emission-free technology.

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