We spend 60 seconds with Yoshinori Kanehana, President and CEO at Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Why is your company a part of the Hydrogen Council? Why do you believe this initiative is so important?
In Japan, clean hydrogen energy has been gaining momentum since the endorsement of the Japanese Government’s Strategic Energy Plan in 2014, which identified hydrogen as an important energy solution of the future. Kawasaki is developing world-leading technologies that will play an important role in realizing the hydrogen economy and global supply chains. These include liquefied hydrogen storage and supply systems for H-II space rocket base, hydrogen gas turbines, liquefied hydrogen carrier ships as well as electrolyzers. Our aim is to contribute to the realization of a decarbonised society relying on sustainable, affordable and stable energy. We will do this by promoting international hydrogen supply chains through our patented hydrogen-related technologies.
We believe the Hydrogen Council, bringing together global leaders from major industry sectors, has the potential to drive the global hydrogen revolution, promote collaboration, develop the social license and diversify its applications demonstrating its advantages to policymakers, investors and community stakeholders.
Are there any recent or upcoming hydrogen related milestones in your company that you are especially proud of?
Together with our private and public sector partners, we have launched the world’s first hydrogen energy supply chain pilot project between Australia and Japan. Under this flagship initiative, we will establish an integrated supply chain for hydrogen exports from Australia to Japan. The Japanese, Australian and Victorian State Governments have invested in the project alongside a consortium of reputable private sector companies. In April 2018, the project was officially announced by industry and government leaders in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria. I am particularly proud of the unprecedented levels of collaboration we achieved with all stakeholders to get to this stage.
In addition, we have successfully demonstrated hydrogen-fuelled gas turbine co-generation system in Kobe city, supported by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). In April 2018, we achieved the world’s first delivery of heat and power, generated exclusively by hydrogen.
What in your opinion is the biggest challenge for hydrogen in the near future, and how would you like to see it being tackled?
The biggest challenge for global hydrogen uptake is the initial cost needed in the introduction phase. However, at Kawasaki, we are convinced that we can deliver cost-competitive hydrogen in the future if we focus on large-scale, affordable hydrogen production from competitive sources such as excess renewable energy. Hydrogen take-up will increase exponentially as soon as scale and mass deployment start to drive costs down and infrastructure is available. Then the choice will become obvious as hydrogen is cleaner whilst being able to contribute to energy security and decarbonisation.
In addition, it is necessary for policy makers and societies at large to support forward-looking companies taking the risk to make the first investment into this fuel of the future. This should be done through policy incentives and by establishing effective frameworks to regulate emissions. It is also important for the Hydrogen Council to keep playing a leading role in demonstrating and socialising the benefits of the hydrogen economy in terms of industry development, employment generation and environment preservation to key stakeholders.
Finally, it is critical that we are able to standardise rules and regulations relating to hydrogen infrastructure, globally. Different rules and regulations applied in each country become a hurdle for the effective deployment of hydrogen energy and hydrogen-related technologies. We need to work together on the harmonisation of standards under an organised framework for international cooperation. Safety is paramount.
If you could communicate one hydrogen-related message to the general public, what would it be?
Our Kawasaki Mission Statement, to which we fully abide, states that “We create new value for a better environment and a brighter future for generations to come.” We believe that hydrogen is key to the fulfilment of our mission. Hydrogen has the potential to empower societies to become sustainable while, at the same time, expanding the economy and creating new employment opportunities. At Kawasaki, we are fully committed to the global hydrogen transition. We will foster the technological and infrastructural solutions necessary to supply the world with sustainable, safe, stable and affordable hydrogen energy. The hydrogen society is just around the corner.
What is the one key message that you would like to pass on to all Hydrogen Council CEOs & teams?
We are honoured to be working with many leading companies towards our common hydrogen goal. We know this will not happen overnight – it requires vision, leadership and tenacity. We need to work together towards the full realization of a global hydrogen economy. Along the journey, we need to remind ourselves and the whole society that hydrogen can indeed bring a brighter future and a better environment for generations to come.