The consortium is comprised of 13 Japanese oil and gas companies, which include Nippon Oil Corp., Tokyo Gas Co., Idemitsu Kosan Co., Showa Shell Sekiyu KK., Osaka Gas Co. and Toho Gas Co. Their goal is to develop and set up technologies that allow efficient refueling of hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2015.
According to the Japanese newspaper Nikkei (via autoblog.com) national car makers have also expressed their interest in joining the partnership. The first stage of the process sees the field-testing of dozens of hydrogen refueling stations across Japan.
One of the biggest challenges is considered being able to use the current infrastructure to accommodate the liquid hydrogen. Oil companies have the task to generate the hydrogen fuel while gas companies will have to assure its proper transportation and all of this at a price comparable to gasoline.
The plan looks to build these hydrogen refueling sites in urban areas and on highways at already existent conventional fuel stations.
While the hydrogen-based technology produces no emissions and could spark a new era in transportation as well as other industry sectors, the high cost of the technology makes it unapproachable unless a joint venture of some sort wants to tackle the problem.