Prototype explores hydrogen on tap
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Prototype explores hydrogen on tap

Bangkok Industrial Gas Co (BIG), Thailand's largest industrial gas producer, has co-launched a prototype of what would be the country's first hydrogen filling station in a move to promote hydrogen as a fuel for eco-friendly cars.

Mr Piyabut expects car assemblers to focus more on the research and development of hydrogen fuel technology in the future.

BIG, together with PTT Plc, Toyota Motor Thailand and Toyota Daihatsu Engineering and Manufacturing Co, is testing the facility that serves limousines carrying passengers between U-tapao airport and Pattaya as well as nearby areas.

The hydrogen filling station, located in Chon Buri's Bang Lamung district, was developed by BIG's parent company, the Pennsylvania-based Air Products and Chemicals Inc.

The project cost nearly 100 million baht.

The facility can blend compressed hydrogen with oxygen in electrochemical cells to produce electricity for vehicles in 3-5 minutes, compared with 45 minutes to eight hours needed to recharge battery-run vehicles, said Piyabut Charuphen, managing director of BIG.

The process to make fuel cells also does not require rare earths that are needed in the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

Water is the only by-product of this electrochemical reaction.

Two fuel cell-powered Toyota Mirai vehicles will be tested in this project for two years.

It is a promising clean fuel that can support global efforts to reach carbon neutrality -- a balance between carbon dioxide emissions and absorption.

"This investment in infrastructure for fuel cell technology will help step up the efforts," said Mr Piyabut.

He expects car assemblers to focus more on the research and development of hydrogen fuel technology in the future.

BIG earlier ran the commercial operation of its second gas production facility, with capacity of 12,000 tonnes per year, in Rayong's Nong Fab area in order to serve the expansion of oil refineries and petrochemical industry in the Eastern Economic Corridor, spanning parts of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao.

The firm expects its gas sales, including oxygen, nitrogen, argon and hydrogen, to grow 10% this year, up from a daily average of 4,200 tonnes last year as the manufacturing sector returned to normal after the easing of the pandemic.

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