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Tokyo Gas Co. on Thursday unveiled its first commercial hydrogen station as automakers prepare to usher in a new age in driving technology.

The opening of the hydrogen station in Nerima Ward, Tokyo, coincides with the release earlier this week of Toyota Motor Corp.’s first fuel cell vehicle, the Mirai, which emits no carbon dioxide.

The government is also promoting hydrogen-based energy to improve Japan’s environmental score.

“We think FCVs will become a familiar sight moving forward,” said Takefumi Ishikura, manager of the technology and strategy division in the hydrogen station group at Tokyo Gas, which also sells the Ene-Farm home fuel cell cogeneration system.

“We believe that it is important to promote both FCVs and infrastructure to spread the use of hydrogen energy. I’m sure that today’s ceremony for the Nerima station is a first step,” he said.

Tokyo Gas said it hasn’t decided when the station will open because that largely depends on when Toyota starts delivering the Mirai to customers. In fact, prices for the gas haven’t even been set yet, Ishikura said.

The hydrogen station was built on the site of an existing station that sells compressed natural gas, allowing them to share equipment and space.

The station can store 300 cu. meters of hydrogen at zero degrees and 1 atmosphere of pressure, and fill up six FCVs per hour.

Like regular gasoline stations, the new hydrogen station is called an “off-site station” as it does not make its own hydrogen, but another station planned in Saitama will be “on-site” and deliver hydrogen to the Nerima station. Tokyo Gas said it will buy its hydrogen from a supplier for now.

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