A consortium, including Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. and three other Japanese companies, will launch a pilot project to import liquefied hydrogen to Japan from Australia, the firms said Thursday.
The Australian government will provide 100 million Australian dollars in financial assistance to the project.
The project is aimed at establishing a supply chain that can deliver massive amounts of hydrogen stably, as demand for the element is projected to grow for use in fuel cell vehicles and electricity generation in line with efforts to realize a carbon-free society.
Under the project, said to be valued at 500 million Australian dollars in total, Australian brown coal will be gasified to extract hydrogen, which will be exported to Japan after being liquefied.
The use of Australia’s large coal reserves will enable procurement of hydrogen in large amounts and at low costs, the consortium said. Australia is expected to be able to find a new way of utilizing its coal reserves.
The three other Japanese firms in the consortium are Iwatani Corp., Electric Power Development Co. and Marubeni Corp. It also includes Australia’s AGL Energy Ltd.
Shipments of hydrogen from the project are likely to start around 2020. The consortium aims to put the project into the commercial phase in 2030.