Mitsubishi Corporation

Introduction of Trial Operations of Compact LNG Filling Facilities for LNG Trucks in Hokkaido

Introduction of Trial Operations of Compact
LNG Filling Facilities for LNG Trucks in Hokkaido

News & Events

Project Introduction

This project is intended to be promoted as a realistic solution for the transition to a carbon-neutral society in the future, taking into account the current situation where it is difficult to put electric vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen-fueled vehicles (FCVs : Fuel Cell Vehicles)) into practical use to reduce CO2 emissions in the transport sector as such vehicles lack the sufficient cruising range and loading capacity of heavy-duty trucks and takes time to recharge or refuel.

Mitsubishi Corporation and Air Water Inc. have jointly developed Japan’s first compact LNG filling facility (“Facility”) for LNG-powered trucks (“LNG trucks”) and have launched trial operations of the Facility and LNG trucks in Hokkaido.

Unlike EV and FCV trucks, LNG trucks have ranges in excess of 1,000 kilometers. These next-generation LNG trucks can also cut CO2 emissions by more than t 10% compared to diesel-fueled trucks. In addition to the above, Mitsubishi Corporation continues to make best efforts to pursue various CO2 reduction initiatives in order to realize a sustainable society, taking into account the growing requirement for a carbon-neutral society.

Trial Operations

With Air Water Inc. as a partner, this project aims to help move toward a carbon-neutral society by promoting Facilities for LNG trucks in Japan, and this pilot project in Hokkaido has been adopted as a project in the Ministry of the Environment’s Low Carbon Technology Research and Development Program*.
* Please refer to the following press release.
The name of the above program was changed to "Demonstration Project for Accelerating Practical Use of Innovative CO2 Emission Reduction Infection Control Technologies."
Compact LNG Filling Station Project Adopted for Inclusion in Environmental Program(May 20,2021)

Currently, trial operations of the Facility have started in Tomakomai City, Hokkaido from April 11, 2022 and trial operations of LNG trucks have also started at the same time.

In addition, trial operations of the Facility have started in Ishikari City, Hokkaido from June 3, 2022. Twelve transportation companies have cooperated as participants in the trial operations of LNG trucks, and a total of 14 LNG trucks are running mainly in the Tomakomai and Ishikari areas of Hokkaido.

Commenced the mixed trial of LBM, purified from livestock manure-based biogas and produced in Obihiro City, at the Tomakomai filling facility on Nov.17, 2022.
After then, commenced the 1st trial of mixed LBM and LNG into LNG fill-up at the Tomakomai filling facility and trial operation of an LNG truck based on Nov.18, 2022.

We obtained approval for 2 years extension of the trial period by the Ministry of the Environment(MOE) in April, 2023. In line with the above 2 years extension, we will additionally install a Compressed Natural Gas(CNG) filling facility, and conduct a driving demonstration.

We achieved cumulative 1,500 times LNG fill-ups(Approx.240 tons of LNG) at Tomakomai and Ishikari filling facilities on August 18, 2023.

The Tomakomai filling facility has received LBM a total of six times with the highest mixing ratio reaching approximately 60%.

  • Ishikari LNG filling facility
    1. Liquefied Nitrogen Tank
    2. Cogeneration Dynamo
    3. Boil Off Gas Reliquefaction Facility
    4. LNG Storage Tank
    5. Hot Water Boiler
    6. Temperature Regulator
      Hot Water Evaporator
    7. LNG Dispenser
    8. Boil Off Gas Buffer Tank
    9. UPS Facility
  • Tomakomai LNG filling facility
    1. Liquefied Nitrogen Tank
    2. Boil Off Gas Reliquefaction Facility
    3. LNG Storage Tank
    4. Boil Off Gas Buffer Tank
    5. LNG Dispenser
    6. Temperature Regulator
      Hot Water Evaporator
    7. Hot Water Boiler

Control room in the Facility

Cogeneration power generator

Dispenser nozzle

Emergency power supply

Stairs outside the Facility

Project Partners

Project Partner

Project Participants

Project Participants for Trial Operations of LNG Trucks


What are the characteristics of the Facility?

Under the assumption that the Facility will be set up in the logistics centers of carriers, the partners downsized it so that it can be set up in the parking space of one heavy truck. It is capable of fueling 50 to 60 heavy LNG-powered trucks per day with a fueling time of just 10 minutes per truck. The amount of LNG remaining in the Facility can be viewed remotely, and by creating a system in which LNG replenishment occurs at the appropriate time with the appropriate amount for the Facility, the partners plan to establish a stable LNG supply system for the Facility.
It is also equipped with the world's first power supply standalone cogeneration power generation system that uses the boil-off gas from LNG as fuel. It is capable of refueling the LNG in LNG-powered trucks even during large scale power outages, and one of its special characteristics is that it has superior functions that are also capable of providing power to external sources.

What is the advantage of using LNG as automobile fuel?

Heavy trucks are the second largest sources of CO2 emissions in the area of transport in Japan. Unlike trucks powered by electric batteries or fuel cells, LNG-powered trucks have ranges in excess of 1,000 kilometers and sufficient load capacity.
They are expected to be capable of cutting CO2 emissions by more than 10%* when compared to diesel-fueled trucks. LNG-powered trucks have reduced vibration and noise, and special characteristics include their exhaust being extremely green and their lack of a petroleum smell similar to diesel.
* A heavy LNG-powered truck built by Isuzu Motors Ltd. was used in tests undertaken as part of the Ministry of the Environment's “Low Carbon Research and Development Program," which ran from 2016 to fiscal year 2018. The tests confirmed that the truck had a range of more than 1,000 (primarily highway) kilometers per fill-up in city-to-city transport, and that it also produced less than 90% of the CO2 emissions produced by diesel-powered trucks that meet Japan's heavy vehicle fuel efficiency standards set in fiscal year 2015.

What are the details of the trials?

Trials will be performed using 14 LNG trucks manufactured by Isuzu Motors Ltd. for the commercialization of the Facility. With the cooperation of Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Inc., the partners plan to assess the system's overall effectiveness and how much it can reduce CO2 emissions and fuels costs typically generated by LNG-powered trucks. The results of the tests will help the partners to determine whether or not to make the system commercially available. We are also considering ways to further reduce CO2 emissions in the future, such as by using CO2-free LNG and by mixing the LNG with liquefied biomethane.

How is the safety of the Facility?

LNG, which fuels LNG-powered trucks, uses a dedicated nozzle and is completely sealed off as it is an extremely cold liquid. In order to avoid the risk of cold burns, etc. due to touching things that have cold areas, LNG fueling workers must wear protective gloves and face guards. In addition, there are safety measures such as the prohibition of handling heat around the Facilities.
Furthermore, the LNG tank in the Facility is a dual structure, and the risk of an LNG leak is as low as it could possibly be. In the unlikely event that LNG leaks onto the ground, it will vaporize and dissipate as vaporized gas is lighter than air, and it will not contaminate the land or water as LNG is not poisonous.

When will it be commercially available and how much will it cost?

Based on the results of the trials, MC plans to consider commercialization aiming for the mid-2020's. MC will consider the costs that will be borne by carriers using these trials so that it can provide attractive pricing in comparison to fuel costs for diesel trucks.

For inquiries:

Business Creation Unit, Natural Gas Group CEO Office

Market Research & Development Office, Isuzu Business Division, Automotive & Mobility Group