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Japan to loosen rules on hydrogen stations

Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Fire and Disaster Management Agency plans to make the installation of hydrogen filling stations easier by revising ordinances related to the fire service law in fiscal 2018, in order to help promote the use of fuel cell vehicles, Jiji Press has learned.

At present, there must be a certain distance between gasoline and hydrogen filling facilities to prevent fires when hydrogen stations are built at gas stations.

Through the revision of the ordinances, the agency plans to allow the installation of hydrogen facilities very close to those for gasoline if certain safety measures are taken, according to informed sources.

This is expected to make it easier to install hydrogen stations in urban areas and other locations where enough space is not available, possibly helping spread the use of environmentally friendly fuel cell vehicles, according to the sources.

In Japan, as few as 1,799 fuel cell vehicles were in use as of the end of March this year, due partly to a lack of hydrogen stations. There are only some 90 such facilities in the country.

Currently, a gap 10-15 centimeters wide and deep must be secured on the ground between gas and hydrogen facilities to prevent gasoline from reaching the hydrogen facilities in case of leakage.

This requirement is making it difficult to increase hydrogen stations in urban areas. The regulation will be reviewed so that hydrogen stations will be installed more easily on sites with limited space, the sources said.

The agency also plans to call for new safety measures, such as increasing the strength of gasoline facilities to prevent gasoline leaks even if vehicles crash into them, the sources said.Speech

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