My official visit to France to attend the G7 Environmental Ministers Meeting, which was held in Metz, Lorraine on May 5-6, was accompanied by a team of 10 experts on hydrogen from six companies including Toyota Corporation and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. This team was led by Mr. Toshikazu Masuyama (Special Advisor to the Ministry of the Environment) as advisor and was headed by Professor Kazunari Sasaki (Vice President of Kyushu University). I am convinced that this team is one of the most intelligent expert groups on hydrogen-powered railway trains.
We visited Alstom and Air Liquide in Paris which have highly-advanced technologies in hydrogen-powered railway trains. We were informed of their latest technologies, and exchanged our views.
First we visited Alstom which has engaged in the production of railway trains for the past 90 years, and met with Mr. Philippe Delleur, Senior Vice President. Alstom’s railway trains have been sold in the domestic market in France, and also exported to other European countries. In recent years, Alstom has developed a train powered by hydrogen fuel cell. This new train surpasses other countries’ similar trains in terms of its technical level and social acceptance. Alstom is now exporting hydrogen fuel cells trains to Germany, and this export has become a symbol of cooperation between the two countries.
Secondly, we visited Air Liquide and met with Mr. Benoît Potier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Air Liquide has engaged in the production and sales of industrial and medical gas, including hydrogen gas, for the past 120 years or so. It has had a close relationship with Japan since 1907 engaging in the sales of industrial gas through its subsidiary company, Air Liquide Japan. The company has contributed to the development of hydrogen-powered cars, and has been supporting the deployment of charging stations worldwide. Air Liquide is holding a co-chair position of the global initiative ‘Hydrogen Council’.