For a while now, I’ve talked about the U. S., Europe, Japan and perhaps even South Korea and key areas of developed for hydrogen vehicles and fueling stations. Now, I may have to include Taiwan into this category as well.
Asia Pacific Fuel Cell Technologies (APFCT) has just completed a 620 mile test drive of their hydrogen fuel cell scooter around the island of Taiwan off the coast of China. This sets a world record for distance for an on-road test drive for a fuel cell scooter.
And this test was not only of the scooter, but also of the mass production techniques to produce the scooter as well as the vendors who produce some of the parts that go into building the fuel cell scooter.
Asia Pacific Fuel Cell Technologies is also proposing a unique hydrogen fueling infrastructure to support the scooters. According to APFCT, “In hydrogen refueling, it continued using APFCT’s unique low- pressure metal hydride hydrogen canisters in combination with hydrogen exchange model. The hydrogen refueling and exchange model is similar to the exchange model of gas cylinders prevalently used by many Taiwan households. All hydrogen canisters will be manufactured and refueled with hydrogen in a central facility before being delivered to ‘exchange points’ which can be existing gas stations or convenient stores or other retail network by logistic companies.
“When hydrogen in canisters is depleted, the consumers just need to go to these exchange points to buy and exchange for canisters fully charged with hydrogen to plug in to fuel cell scooters. The whole process of changing canisters takes less than 1 minute. Once new canisters are plugged in, users can immediately ride their fuel cell scooters away, just like the usage of conventional scooters. Because at the present, the hydrogen canister exchange network has yet to be established in Taiwan, so for at this event, we used a tender van to support the hydrogen canister exchange on the trip and changed canisters at the road side whenever needed.”
So, basically, anyone familiar with exchanging canisters for a gas grille will be familiar with a similar concept for this fuel cell scooter. The last time I checked, Taiwan had one Ztek hydrogen fueling station in Tao-Yuan. This station would not be needed under the canister exchange idea.
And, this isn’t the only hydrogen development happening in Taiwan. In January 2007 I had talked about Mingdao University in Taiwan developing the MHV4 hydrogen car and in February 2007, I had talked about 100 hydrogen generators being shipped to Taiwan.
Like Japan, Iceland or Hawaii, Taiwan has an opportunity to become the first fully functioning hydrogen island with its relatively small land mass and its development of alternative fuel technologies. Hydrogen scooters have their rooters and my hope is that the APFCT fuel cell vehicle catches on for locals and tourists alike.