Japanese companies Mitsubishi Corp. and Air Water Inc. said they had jointly developed a compact LNG fuel filling station facility aimed at the growing global market for LNG-powered trucks.
“This is the first portable filling system in Japan and the world's first off-grid power-generation system capable of fueling trucks with LNG even during power outages,” said the companies.
“Furthermore, by circulating hot water through its waste-heat recovery mechanism, the system can help to prevent freezing problems associated with LNG operations in cold or highly humid regions,” they explained.
Mitsubishi, based in Tokyo and Air Water, whose headquarters are in the city of Osaka, said they would now begin testing the system in Hokkaido, the most northern of Japan’s main islands.
“The system will be tested and will fuel three LNG trucks, one manufactured by Isuzu Motors Ltd. and the other two by an Italian firm,” they explained.
Their filling station system has a footprint of just 3.3 metres by 12 metres, the same size as a parking space for a heavy truck.
“At less than 10 minutes per fill-up, it also refuels quicker than conventional stations. The plan is to make each station capable of fueling more than 60 trucks per day. The patent application for the system has already been filed,” they added.
“With the cooperation of Hokkaido Electric Power Co., the partners plan to assess the system's overall effectiveness and how much it can reduce carbon-dioxide emissions and fuel costs typically generated by heavy trucks,” they explained.
“The results of the tests will help the partners to determine whether or not to make the system commercially available,” the companies added.
At present, heavy trucks fueled by LNG are not in commercial use in Japan.
Mitsubishi and Air Water noted that most of the estimated 500,000 heavy trucks on Japan's roads are powered by diesel fuel, and there are growing concerns about the need to reduce their CO2 emissions.
“Unlike trucks powered by electric batteries or fuel cells, LNG-fueled trucks have ranges in excess of 1,000 kilometres, and tests have already shown them to be capable of cutting CO2 emissions when compared to diesel-fueled trucks,” the companies said.
“The partners are also considering ways to further reduce CO2 emissions in the future, such as by using CO2-free LNG,” they concluded.