We spend 60 seconds with Akiji Makino, Chairman and CEO at Iwatani Corporation.

Why is your company a part of the Hydrogen Council?

Iwatani Corporation has been engaged in the hydrogen business for over 70 years since the company started dealing with hydrogen in 1941 and at present we hold a share of 70% of the Japanese hydrogen market.  Starting with the launch of the first commercial hydrogen station in Japan in 2014, we are now operating hydrogen stations at 22 locations. Through participation participating in the Hydrogen Council, we would like to contribute to the realization of a hydrogen society in cooperation with leading companies in the fields of energy, transportation and manufacturing worldwide.

What action would you like the Hydrogen Council to take?

The Council is asked to foster momentum towards the expansion of hydrogen technology applications and the promotion of utilization of hydrogen energy on a global basis, as well as formulating a roadmap toward the realization of a hydrogen society.

What are your company’s hydrogen related milestones for this year? Which hydrogen project run by your company are you most proud of?

The topic that attracts the most attention this year would be the doubling of capacity of our liquefied hydrogen production plant in Yamaguchi Prefecture (Yamaguchi Liquid Hydrogen Corp.) in preparation for a growing demand for hydrogen. One of the key achievements of our hydrogen business is the start-up of “Hydro Edge Co. Ltd.”, the liquefied hydrogen production plant in 2006.  The plant which uses LNG cold energy was unique in the world. We are the only liquefied hydrogen manufacturer in Japan, and are confident that this plant paved the way for the era of mass consumption of hydrogen in Japan.

What, in your opinion, is one of the biggest challenges facing Hydrogen technology right now? How does your organization intend to deal with this challenge?

The greatest challenge is the high production cost of hydrogen. One of methods for manufacturing inexpensive hydrogen, and one which hasn’t been utilized effectively, is natural energies such as sunlight and wind. This potential is now being explored throughout the world. At present the verification project is in progress, in which hydrogen is produced from brown coal in Australia, liquefied and transported to Japan by sea. We participate in this project together with Kawasaki, another member of the Hydrogen Council, and other companies.

If you could communicate one hydrogen-related message to the general public, what would it be?

Existing inexhaustibly on the earth, hydrogen is the “ultimate clean energy” which doesn’t emit CO2 when it is used. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that hydrogen will solve energy issues and environmental issues simultaneously, and may cause a “new industrial revolution.”

What is the one key message that you would like to pass on to all Hydrogen Council CEOs & teams?

Let’s open the way to the future of mankind with hydrogen energy.

When we speak again in 2018 and are looking back at Hydrogen Council’s work, what would you like to be able to say?

I expect that I’ll be able to make comments like “activities of the Hydrogen  Council helped all the countries of the world greatly increase their awareness of hydrogen, and there was a further growth in the momentum toward the realization of a hydrogen energy society.”