Toyota Tsusho/Ballard sign deal for fuel cell distribution in Japan
Toyota Tsusho has signed a distribution agreement with Ballard Power Systems, a leading global developer and manufacturer of hydrogen and oxygen fuel cells, to sell Ballard's fuel cell products in the Japanese market.
Hydrogen business environment
Hydrogen is viewed as a promising new energy source. Japan formulated a strategic road map for hydrogen and fuel cells 2014 as part of its national growth strategy and is aiming to launch fuel cell buses and forklift trucks onto the market in 2016 and promote the adoption of 800,000 fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) by 2030. In Tokyo, efforts have begun to build an infrastructure to utilise hydrogen at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
However, compared to other countries, where feasibility testing and development of fuel cell batteries is being conducted in a range of fields including trucks, agricultural machinery, ships and railways, Japanese companies are actively manufacturing and selling fuel cells in a limited number of areas, such as for FCVs and "ENE FARM" residential fuel cells. Despite this, there is a limited the range of opportunities in Japan to utilise hydrogen as a power source.
Toyota Tsusho's business initiatives for the hydrogen business
Toyota Tsusho currently operates fixed and mobile hydrogen fuel stations in Tokyo and Aichi Prefecture. The company is also conducting feasibility tests in Fukuoka Prefecture to manufacture and sell hydrogen using sewage biogas and to manufacture CO2-free hydrogen using electricity generated by wind power. In these ways, Toyota Tsusho is striving to build an infrastructure to utilise hydrogen for environmentally conscious next-generation mobility as well as an energy for residential and industrial applications.
Roles and future initiatives of these companies
Ballard is a globally pioneering company for the development and manufacture of fuel cells, and it has both superior manufacturing technologies and applications across a diverse range of industries. It offers products for a wide range of applications, not only products for automobiles, but also those for motors and backup generators. The company's strengths particularly lie in its technical capability for small- to medium-sized fuel cell batteries of 1kw - 100kw.
With the conclusion of the new distribution agreement with Ballard, Toyota Tsusho will 1) sell stationary fuel cells used as emergency power sources for mobile phone base stations, for which there is already steady demand, and 2) promote development and sales for new applications in the transportation field (commercial vehicles such as buses and trucks, railways, ships etc.).
Continuing from its hydrogen manufacturing business and hydrogen station business, Toyota Tsusho will contribute to the creation of a "hydrogen society" in Japan through fuel cell battery popularisation through its partnership with Ballard.