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Japan Launches "Hydrogen Town Project" to Test the Viability of a Hydrogen Powered Society

Under the "Hydrogen Energy Social Infrastructure Development Demonstration Project", society-wide demonstration efforts are being conducted in order to study safe and easy ways to produce, transport, store and use hydrogen in the form of two projects. One is the "Hydrogen Highway Project", that aims at the provision of regular expressway services using fuel cell buses/vehicles; the other is the "Hydrogen Town Project", in which hydrogen is supplied via pipelines for use in general consumer households. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will launch the demonstration of the "Hydrogen Town Project" on January 15.

The Research Association of Hydrogen Supply/Utilization Technology will install pipelines from Kitakyushu Hydrogen Station (Higashida, Yahata-higashi-ku, Kitakyushu-shi, Fukuoka), that uses hydrogen manufactured by Nippon Steel Corporation, to complex houses, individual houses and both commercial and public facilities in the vicinity so as to demonstrate operation of pure-hydrogen-type fuel cells for both home and business use.

This project is intended to test the viability of the systems from the points of view of "stable supply", "safety assurance" and "appropriate charging procedures" which will be required for the hydrogen supply businesses using pipelines. Specifically, technology to add or remove smells to or from hydrogen for its safe use, a hydrogen gas metering system required for charging of hydrogen in the future, the operational performance of pure-hydrogen-type fuel cells and other various factors will be verified through demonstration.

Demonstration on community level such as general households and both commercial and public facilities will be conducted for the first time in the world.

Through this demonstration project, METI aims at verifying the viability of certain business models for a future hydrogen society so as to offer them as social infrastructure models. In pursuing this goal, METI seeks to push forward with the measures needed to establish a low-carbon society.

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