Fukushima and the Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute (FREA) are kicking off a renewable energy project with a view to making the prefecture a hydrogen supply center by as early as 2016.

The project is a collaboration between the prefectural government and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), the parent of FREA. It will test and refine a model of hydrogen-supply infrastructure, which would then be used in creating a functioning supply center.

AIST has come close to establishing viable technologies for the mass storage and transportation of hydrogen, one of the main hurdles in expediting hydrogen energy. It is now ready to test the model by examining possible infrastructure, including production, transportation and consumption, using the prefecture as the testing ground, the sources said.