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KOBELCO Contributes to the Realization of a Hydrogen Society

Great expectations for increased use of hydrogen energy

The Kobe Steel Group has developed important components for hydrogen fueling stations, such as compressors that utilize ultrahigh pressure technologies amassed in the machinery and engineering fields. We're working to commercialize package units.

Kobe Steel is also contributing to the realization of a hydrogen society through our materials business, having supplied materials used in Toyota Motor Corporation's Mirai fuel cell vehicle* released in December 2014.

*Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCV): Vehicles powered by electricity generated from the chemical reaction between hydrogen and atmospheric oxygen.

Development of Smaller, Less Costly Hydrogen Station Units

Kobe Steel has developed and commercialized the HyAC mini, a packaged hydrogen station unit that greatly reduces costs and size (approx.. 50 percent reduction compared with conventional Kobelco products) by combining important components into a single unit.

Some of the components required for hydrogen fueling stations include high-pressure hydrogen compressors, refrigerators to cool gas in advance and allow fueling of hydrogen in as quickly as three minutes, high-pressure compatible heat exchangers, and pressure accumulators* for storage of compressed hydrogen gas.

The HyAC mini meets the need for compact hydrogen fueling units that can be installed at gas stations and other limited spaces. Installation of the first unit is expected in the first half of fiscal 2015.

*Pressure accumulators are an outsourced component.

HyAC mini

Kobe Steel President and CEO Hiroya Kawasaki Attends Official Delivery of Fuel Cell Vehicle

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (third from right), Hiroya Kawasaki (front left) and others stand beside
the Toyota Mirai

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (third from right),
Hiroya Kawasaki (front left) and others stand beside
the Toyota Mirai

A ceremony to mark the delivery of the first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicle was held at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Office on January 15, 2015. Kobe Steel President and CEO Hiroya Kawasaki was in attendance as a representative of manufacturers of high-pressure gas equipment for hydrogen fueling stations. Representatives from Toyota Motor Corporation, JX Nippon Oil and Energy Corporation and Iwatani Corporation were also in attendance.

The Mirai FCV, developed by Toyota, was delivered as an official, governmental-use vehicle for the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of the Environment, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. "I believe the dawn of the hydrogen age is finally upon us. This car is quick off the start, quiet, and provides a very comfortable drive," commented Prime Minister Abe.

Kobe Steel Materials in the Mirai FCV

The Mirai model fuel cell vehicle utilizes materials developed and produced by Kobe Steel. Flat-rolled specialty titanium from Kobe Steel was used for the separator plates for the fuel cell stack, which is a core FCV component. These plates require a high degree of corrosion resistance, surface conductivity and formability. Kobe Steel's material, surface control and flat-rolling technologies allowed us to commercialize an optimal material for this purpose.

The Mirai also contains aluminum forgings from Kobe Steel, as the filler neck for the high-pressure fuel tank that stores the vehicle's hydrogen. We were able to create production technology and a supply framework to meet the requirement specifications and quality demands for this part by utilizing Kobe Steel's superior forging and processing technologies.

Special flat-rolled titanium

Flat-rolled specialty titanium

High-pressure hydrogen tank filler neck

High-pressure hydrogen tank filler neck

Stainless Steel High-Pressure Gas Pipe for Hydrogen Fueling Stations, from Kobe Special Tube

Kobe Special Tube Co., Ltd. supplies seamless stainless steel pipes for Iwatani Corporation and Kobe Steel Group products. The pipes are designed to meet the specs required for hydrogen fueling station high-pressure piping.

Developments at Other Group Companies

Kobe Special Tube Co., Ltd. supplies seamless stainless steel pipes for Iwatani Corporation and Kobe Steel Group products. The pipes are designed to meet the specs required for hydrogen fueling station high-pressure piping.

Kobelco Eco-Solutions

High-purity Hydrogen Oxygen Generator (product name: HHOG)

High-purity hydrogen oxygen
generator (product name: HHOG)

Efforts toward CO2-Free Production of Hydrogen

Kobelco Eco-Solutions Co., Ltd. manufactures and sells generators for production of highly pure hydrogen gas from pure water (product name: HHOG). Over 130 generators have been purchased in Japan and overseas.

In the future the company plans to use the HHOG to contribute further to the realization of a hydrogen society. Initiatives include the renewable energy-based production of CO2-free hydrogen and the use in hydrogen fueling stations.

Shinko Engineering & Maintenance

Opening ceremony for commercial hydrogen fueling station (At far right: Shinko Engineering & Maintenance President Takahiko Sato)

Opening ceremony for commercial hydrogen fueling
station (At far right: Shinko Engineering
& Maintenance President Takahiko Sato)

President Takahiko Sato Attends Opening Ceremony for Commercial Hydrogen Fueling Station

On March 19, 2015 a commercial hydrogen fueling station was opened in Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture (jointly established by JX Nippon Oil and Energy Corporation and Eneos Dr. Drive Self Kasukabe Central Service Station). Shinko Engineering & Maintenance President Takahiko Sato was in attendance for the opening ceremony. The company offers simulation technologies to optimize hydrogen fueling, and hydrogen station engineering technologies for more compact, lower cost stations. Shinko Engineering & Maintenance is contributing to the creation of hydrogen infrastructure by designing and constructing the station.

We're helping to build hydrogen infrastructure with hydrogen fueling stations, which are expected to become highly popular.

Takao Ohama

Takao Ohama
Executive Officer

General Manager
Compressor Division
Machinery Business

The Kobe Steel Group manufactures important hydrogen station components such as high-pressure hydrogen compressors, microchannel heat exchangers and refrigerator compressors. We also manufacture ultrahigh-pressure compatible materials, and utilize hydrogen fueling simulation technologies to support the overalll construction of fueling stations. Widespread adoption of fuel cell vehicles is expected in the future. Utilizing hard and soft technologies, we will continue to contribute to building a hydrogen infrastructure through hydrogen fueling stations and realize a hydrogen society.