Make Hydrogen Happen

Japanese industrial gas giant alleges Norwegian company conspired to hide defects through its service and maintenance contracts


Japanese industrial gas firm Iwatani has filed a lawsuit against Norway’s Nel in a California district court on eleven complaints, denied by Nel, that include misrepresentation, false promises and fraud in making contracts, related to the sale of the Norwegian company’s “H2Station” hydrogen refuelling equipment.


Iwatani’s American subsidiary alleges in court documents seen by Hydrogen Insight that Nel had never actually tested its H2Stations in “real-world commercial conditions” prior to selling seven of them for the Californian market, structuring its contracts so that only the Norwegian firm would have visibility over any problems with the equipment.


“This scheme was designed to allow [Nel] to hide defects in the equipment, control information customers received regarding problems that were encountered, and use customers’ equipment for field testing and R&D without their knowledge and at their expense,” Iwatani alleges.

Iwantani also claims that the H2Station control systems and software had not been completed by the time its refuelling points were installed, alleging that Nel was still writing the code while employees in its Denmark office ran equipment remotely without Iwatani’s knowledge.

“This shifted the cost of field testing the H2Stations to [Iwatani] and allowed [Nel] to take them into the market before they were properly tested or ready for actual commercial use by customers, and long before the software underlying the Control Systems and Software was actually created,” the lawsuit continues.

[Read more on the Hydrogen Insight website]