The Japanese government has said for years now that it wants to have 100 hydrogen fuel cell refilling stations operating in the country by the end of fiscal-year 2015, which is March 31, 2016. Reuters reports that it looks like the target won't be met, with only 76 stations approved for government subsidies that cut the cost of a single station – said to be about five million dollars – roughly in half.

The suggestion is that energy companies aren't ready to bet that much this early in hydrogen's infancy, especially when prediction are that stations won't make a profit for another ten years. Although the subsidy window has closed, Japanese authorities are looking at ways to encourage more participation in the program, including possibly increasing the subsidy.

Even if that happens, it's likely to be a challenging next few years for the everyone involved with the hydrogen economy, with the lack of stations making some early adopters cautious while carmakers, governments and resource companies work out how to bankroll the technology without making huge, bad bets.

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