Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has announced plans construct a floating hydrogen factory to generate low-cost, low-carbon energy.Â
The Japanese engineer and shipbuilder will team up with Chiyoda Corporation, a company specialising in energy production, to make the plant. Mitsubishi will make the platform and Chiyoda will make the generating equipment.
The system works by recovering hydrogen produced as a by-product of oil and gas extraction.Â
The firms have received approval for the basic design of the plant from Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, the regulatory body that oversees offshore facilities, and plan to complete it by 2020.
Demand for hydrogen is likely to increase as governments in Japan, America, Europe and Korea bring forward plans for "hydrogen highways".Â
The European Union is presently sponsoring its own offshore hydrogen research project, called H2Ocean. This is aimed at turning wind and wave power into hydrogen at sea, then shipping it to shore as green energy.
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi is to make a contribution to energy use as well: this week it launched the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, Japan’s first domestically produced airliner in 50 years. The firm will compete with Bombardier of Canada and Embraer of Brazil in the small jet market, which is forecast to more than double in Asia in the period to 2030.