Several companies have finished building hydrogen-fueled power generation equipment that will supply electricity and heat to public facilities in Kobe in a demonstration test scheduled to begin in early February.

The test, to be conducted on man-made Port Island, is billed as the first in the world in which electricity obtained through hydrogen power generation will be supplied to users in an urban area.

Participants, including Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. and Obayashi Corp., aim to start providing the equipment and related technologies to clients, mainly for use at factories, by fiscal 2020.

“We’ll put safety first and work carefully and steadily, in order to put hydrogen-fueled electricity generation into practical use,” said Kawasaki Heavy President Yoshinori Kanehana at a ceremony on Sunday to mark completion of the equipment.

The equipment can generate up to 1.7 megawatts of electricity per hour. It will supply electricity and heat to four facilities, including a hospital and a sports center.

The participants hope to identify the most efficient mix of hydrogen in the fuel in order to reduce costs and carbon dioxide emissions, by testing pure hydrogen fuel and mixtures of hydrogen and natural gas.

Hydrogen is clean energy that does not produce heat-trapping carbon dioxide when burned.

The industry ministry aims to realize the full introduction of hydrogen-fueled power generation in Japan by around 2030. The key hurdle is the high procurement costs for hydrogen.

Obayashi President Toru Shiraishi canceled his attendance at Sunday’s ceremony at the last minute.

The general contractor’s head office in Tokyo and offices at other sites were recently searched by public prosecutors for alleged misconduct in tenders related to a project to build a maglev train line.

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