The Japanese government is expected to ease regulations on hydrogen refueling stations, with the goal of making the refueling points less costly to set up and to operate in the hope of spurring the adoption of fuel cell vehicles. Building a hydrogen station costs 400 million yen to 500 million yen ($3.5 million to $4.4 million), and operating one costs 40 million yen to 50 million yen per year. The government aims to cut setup and operating costs in half by 2020 through the development of lower-cost facilities and loosened regulations. Japan currently has over 90 hydrogen stations in operation and plans to have 160 by 2020 and 320 by 2025. Japan has a goal of 40,000 fuel cell vehicles by 2020.

China has set a goal of millions of fuel cell vehicles by 2030 fueled by 1000 hydrogen refueling stations. 100 refueling stations are expected by 2020 and 300 by 2025.

The Chinese city of Shanghai is planning to build anywhere between 5-10 hydrogen refueling stations and plans to launch at least 3,000 fuel cell buses and vehicles by 2020. It also plans to raise the number of hydrogen stations to 50 in five years once the target of 20,000 fuel cell cars are in service.

Chinese automaker Baidu, Inc. announced it is investing 10 billion RMB ($1.5 billion) in 100 autonomous self-driving projects over the next three years. The company has attracted 70 global and Chinese partners to participate in these projects.

Germany’s Stuttgart Airport has started using renewable diesel. All the ground fleet vehicles which are not electrified, such as the trucks of the airport fire department and winter service equipment, will be using this waste-to-energy biofuel. The renewable diesel, which works in cold weather, is a drop-in fuel which can be used to replace conventional diesel without any modifications to the existing diesel engines or investments in storage or logistical systems.

The Public Service Commission in the US state of Wisconsin is investing in an agricultural bioenergy system. The system will produce renewable natural gas from dairy farm manure, food waste, and landfill waste, for use as transportation fuel or heat generation. The project has commitments from nine Wisconsin farms with over 22,000 animals, with the capability to expand to include additional farms in the future. The facility is expected to begin operations by January 1, 2019. The estimated energy output of 5.7 million thermal units is equivalent to the home heating needs for 7,600 Wisconsin homes. The gas will be injected into the interstate natural gas pipeline system for use as a heating and transportation fuel.

The Iranian cities of Tehran and Tabriz are each buying 200 compressed natural gas (CNG) city buses. The six-speed automatic transmission buses are powered by a 7.6 liter, 301 hp CNG-based Mercedes Benz engine. CNG storage (1300 m3) on board the low-floor buses is sufficient for urban travel of 600 kilometers. Each bus can carry 100 passengers: 1 wheelchair (with ramp access), 24 standing and 75 seated.

The Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez is now operating 20 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.  An additional 60 CNG buses are to follow. The six-speed bus stores 844 litres of gas and is powered by a Cummins 5.9 litre engine. Each bus seats 33 passengers and has capacity to carry 60.

Volkswagen will be using 100 liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks to move VW product in northern Germany. Natural gas companies will be Gas suppliers are to construct LNG refueling stations in the region. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has offered financial support for the project.

Navigant Research finds the commercial vehicle market is making slower progress that the passenger sector in transitioning from conventional gasoline and diesel to alternative fuels. Since transport truck fleets must focus on total cost of ownership and reliability, they have been slower to embrace unproven technologies. Growth in hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid and battery electric drivetrains is expected to chip away at the sales of diesel and gasoline trucks and buses, albeit at a slow pace. Natural gas will continue to capture market share but will struggle to inspire significant infrastructure investment. Similarly, propane autogas is likely to be limited to a handful of markets that have embraced this fuel.

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