Japanese trading house Itochu and its energy trading subsidiary Itochu Enex have agreed with French industrial gas supplier Air Liquide to develop a hydrogen supply chain near major Japanese cities and tap potential growth in demand to supply fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
The three firms are planning to jointly discuss the possibility of a project located in major Japanese cities to produce cost-competitive hydrogen for consumption in nearby areas and supply local hydrogen fuelling stations. They are also targeting to expand hydrogen supplies to the manufacturing sector and for industrial mobility use, such as trucks and buses.
Japan has pledged to ban sales of new gasoline-only cars and only sell electric vehicles by 2035 under its roadmap to achieve a decarbonised society by 2050. The policy is expected to increase demand for FCEVs, as well as fuel cell transport trucks for commercial use. Japan is projected to require 3mn t/yr of hydrogen in 2030.
Itochu, Itochu Enex and Air Liquide are targeting to jointly promote their hydrogen businesses in Japan and overseas, aiming to launch a global hydrogen value chain and explore opportunities to import hydrogen into Japan.
Itochu is planning a study into a hydrogen production and supply chain project in Japan’s Kyushu region jointly with Japanese coke producer Nippon Coke & Engineering and French shipping firm CMB. The company and Itochu Enex are also jointly working on a project to develop an ammonia fuel supply chain in Japan and in Singapore.
Air Liquide began developing hydrogen infrastructure in Japan in 2015 and has since opened 13 hydrogen fuelling stations. Japan had a total of 137 hydrogen fuelling stations across the country at the end of 2020.