The world's first bus service using a regular hydrogen fuel cell will begin on Saturday at a Japanese airport.
A 65-seat bus, manufactured by Toyota and Hino, will transport passengers to and from the Central Japan International Airport (Centrair) near the city of Nagoya in southern Japan, according to sources at Toyota.
"The airport was built on environmentally friendly principles, such as efficient use of energy and low pollution, so we have been happy to cooperate with Toyota on this project, and we hope we can use more vehicles like this in the future," Yuki Hasegawa, of Centrair's general affairs division, told vnunet.com.
The airport, completed last year, makes extensive use of solar panels and other green concepts.
The new bus is particularly notable because it uses pure hydrogen as fuel. Typically, fuel cells have used hydrogen in an intermediate format, such as methanol, because it is difficult to store and handle in its gaseous state.
In the bus, the gas is absorbed and later released by an alloy honeycomb inside the vehicle's fuel tank.
The fuel cell generates electricity which drives the vehicle's electric motor. The bus also uses a secondary battery for storing and reusing energy generated during braking.
Toyota claims that its pure hydrogen technology is on the verge of surpassing gasoline engines in power density.
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