Kawasaki Heavy Industries spun off its motorcycle operation in October, 2021. Despite the split, both Kawi arms continue to pursue alternative fuels to power their fleets moving into the future. For Kawasaki Heavy Industries, that means signing a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to partner with aviation giant Airbus to develop and construct Japan’s hydrogen fuel ecosystem.

Under the agreement, both parties will establish a roadmap for implementing critical infrastructure. The deal will also pool Kawasaki and Airbus’ resources to address supply chain issues while moving toward Airport Hydrogen Hubs installations.

“We are very pleased to work with Japan's leading hydrogen supplier Kawasaki. This partnership will obviously accelerate and promote efforts by the Japanese government to achieve a carbon-neutral, decarbonized society from overall aircraft operations in 2050,” noted Airbus Japan President Stéphane Ginoux. “We strongly believe that the use of hydrogen - both in synthetic fuels and as a primary power source for commercial aircraft - has the potential to significantly reduce aviation's climate impact.”

To help get the plan off the ground, Airbus will supply data concerning aircraft characteristics, fleet energy usage, and hydrogen-powered aircraft for ground operations. In turn, Kawasaki will build out infrastructure deployment scenarios for targeted airports and identify technology drivers of the supply chain.

“Hydrogen is a clean energy that emits no CO2 when used and is suitable as sustainable fuel,” explained Kawasaki Executive Officer and Deputy General Manager of Hydrogen Strategy Division Motohiko Nishimura. “We have specialized in the development of infrastructure for liquefaction, transportation, storage, and transport to receiving terminals, contributing to the construction and expansion of supply chains for the hydrogen market. We are confident that our technology will connect the hydrogen production and consumption areas, creating a new road called Hydrogen Road.”

While the Airbus relationship focuses on commercial aviation travel, Kawasaki is already working on a joint project with Yamaha to build hydrogen-powered engines. If Kawasaki Heavy Industries can successfully establish a hydrogen ecosystem for planes, that might bode well for the fuel's future in the automotive sector.

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