All the facilities to be used in a major Japanese hydrogen (H2) supply chain project have been completed and full-scale operations have commenced.

The North Pacific rim partnership, consisting of Iwatani Corporation, Toshiba Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation amongst others, will use the showcase project to evaluate the possibilities of a low-carbon supply chain in Japan.

The project seeks to implement and evaluate an effective logistical process, which will utilise H2 produced from renewable energy at sites in Yokohama and Kawasaki to power fuel cell forklifts.

Solar turbine green energy

The H2 produced at the Yokohama City Wind Power Plant via electrolysis will be compressed, stored and transported in two specialised H2 fuelling trucks to local businesses, where it will be used in fuel cells to power 12 forklifts.

The vehicles are the first of their kind to be used in Japan and can each carry a total capacity of 270 Nm3 of H2.

A H2 fuelling truck transported gas from Iwatani Industrial Gases Corp.’s Chiba plant to two forklifts in Yokohama City Central Wholesale Market and Nakamura Logistics in successful test runs recently.

Throughout the project, H2 sufficient to power fuel cells for two full days will be stored onsite. The forklifts’ H2 consumption will be continuously monitored during the project to ensure optimal H2 transportation and supply. They refuel in approximately three minutes and can operate continuously for eight hours.

This H2 supply chain is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 80% when compared with a supply chain using forklifts powered by gasoline or grid electricity. 

It is understood that this pilot phase will analyse costs and estimate the potential CO2 reductions that could be possible with a full-scale supply chain in the future.