The Financial Post reports in its Monday edition that Panasonic is turning a fuel-cell factory in the lakeside city of Kusatsu in central Japan into what could be the world's first hydrogen-based plant powered entirely by renewable energy.
A Bloomberg dispatch to the Post says that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's October pledge to make Japan carbon-neutral has been a "tailwind" for Panasonic's hydrogen-factory project, and the company intends to commercialize the system by fiscal 2023 and sell it globally, said Panasonic's Norihiko Kawamura. Japan was an early leader in developing hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels. The country began investing heavily in the gas in the 1970s when the first of several oil shocks exposed its reliance on imported petroleum. In recent decades, however, the efforts of Japan and other countries to exploit the energy source slowed. Despite growing investment, the cost of producing hydrogen has remained stubbornly high, discouraging investment in the infrastructure and technologies needed to make the fuel more widely adopted. National carbon pledges and targets of major customers such as Apple, which aims to make its supply chain carbon-neutral by 2030, are tipping the balance.
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