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Solar, wind power proposed as way to refill hydrogen stations

Kyodo

The Environment Ministry is considering using alternative energy sources to generate hydrogen for the refueling stations being built to recharge fuel cells in next-generation automobiles, ministry officials said.

The ministry aims to set up pilot projects across the country in places deemed suitable for solar and wind power generators, which will be used to make hydrogen by electrolyzing water, the officials said.

The hydrogen would then be transported to hydrogen stations to recharge fuel cell vehicles, which major carmakers are planning to launch in the near future.

The hydrogen could also be used to recharge fuel cells being used to power offices and households, they said.

Electrolysis, however, tends to produce carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas. The ministry plans to study how the project can reduce carbon dioxide emissions at each stage, they added.

Hydrogen can also be created through a chemical reaction between water and petroleum or natural gas, but these methods also emit carbon dioxide.

One of the merits of generating hydrogen using renewable energy is that the hydrogen can be easily stored afterward.

FCVs, powered by electricity generated via the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, emit only water and no carbon dioxide.