The gods of Olympus have settled for some time in Asia. After Pyeongcheng, they will make a stopover in Tokyo in two years. The Japanese ambitions for the success of these Olympics are very high. Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzo announced:
The 1964 Tokyo Olympics left the Shinkansen high-speed train system as its legacy. The upcoming Olympics will leave a hydrogen society as its legacy.
Hydrogen, hydrogen, Jules Verne already dreamed of it for his Mysterious Island 140 years ago. Since then, the H2 gas has regularly returned to the forefront, always full of promise, chained to the fantasy of the clean energy of the future. And the promise remains a promise. Indeed, there is always a well thought out way of explaining to you scientifically that hydrogen remains a whim of sweet dreamers because, I let you choose, too dangerous, too expensive, too light, too complicated, too much. But I have read a lot of Jules Verne and I admire all those who have transformed dreams into reality and those to come. So I listen carefully to Mr. Masuzo and wonder if we have any common readings. Jules Verne? not sure. But we may have both read a speech by Shinzo Abe in September 2014:
The curtains are actually about to be lifted on the hydrogen society.
This course imposed to an entire country in 2014, would it have been confirmed so early without the disaster of 11 March 2011 of Fukushima Daiishi? Probably not. It may be the least predictable consequence of the suspension of Japan’s nuclear programme in 2011 in the advent of a hydrogen society. Anywhere else, one might expect some media buzz. In Japan, the whole country entails itself into this new energy policy. All Japanese firms are involved in this gigantic programme, which aims, more or less, to adopt new ways of producing, storing and transforming electricity, to bring new technologies, to develop new modes of hydrogen transport on the scale of a country with 140 million inhabitants, and to create market conditions so that companies can develop new products and services. A colossal project. Titanic investments.
Some will continue to say that hydrogen is not THE solution, that Japan is taking huge risks to capitalize on an immature technology to make it the backbone of their energy policy. Others, of which I am a member, see this as a clear sign of an acceleration of the change in our energy habits, a real revolution that will lead renewable energies to displace fossil fuels. Next week, we will be present in Tokyo for the FCEXPO 2018 show. And I am very excited, the word is not too strong, to see what Japan will offer us as a vision of its hydrogen company. Maybe we’ll see each other there…
Photo credit: AUTOMOTIVE NEWS ILLUSTRATION