ITOCHU Announces Strategic Joint Venture with Air Liquide on Hydrogen Value Chain Development

February 26, 2021

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yoshihisa Suzuki, President & COO; hereinafter "ITOHCU") announced today that it has agreed to a strategic collaboration on the development of a hydrogen value chain that covers all aspects from upstream to downstream (low-carbon hydrogen production to its utilization), with Air Liquide Japan G.K. (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Virginie Cavalli, President & CEO; hereinafter "Air Liquide"), the Japanese subsidiary of Air Liquide, the world's largest industrial gas company driving the worldwide hydrogen business, and ITOCHU ENEX Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Kenji Okada, President; hereinafter "ITOCHU ENEX"). The three companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect.

ITOCHU, Air Liquide and ITOCHU ENEX will start by considering local-production-for-local consumption business models in major metropolitan areas, and jointly explore a competitive hydrogen production, supply system and the expansion of the hydrogen station business as part of efforts to help scale up the hydrogen market for industry, including the mobility market.
The three companies will be further developed to promote the hydrogen business in Japan and overseas, with the aim of establishing a world-class hydrogen value chain in anticipation of future hydrogen imports to Japan.

In December 2020, Japan announced the "Green Growth Strategy Towards 2050 Carbon Neutrality," and as part of that strategy, hydrogen is expected to contribute to the decarbonization of various fields as a key technology for carbon neutrality with promising applications across a wide range of fields. Commercial fuel cell vehicles such as trucks are also attracting special attention in the area of hydrogen utilization in the transportation sector, where there are rising expectations. Additionally, the government has clarified its policy of achieving 100% e-vehicles*1 in new car sales by the year 2035, which is expected to spur the widespread adoption of fuel cell vehicles moving forward.

In light of this major trend, ITOCHU's wide-ranging networks focused on consumer-related sectors, in addition to ITOCHU Enex’s customer base and energy distribution systems as a major domestic energy trading company, will be used to demonstrate the comprehensive capabilities of the ITOCHU Group and promote the development of the hydrogen market.

As one of the international major gas companies and joint chair of the Hydrogen Council*2, Air Liquide has firmly established its position as a global leader championing the utilization of hydrogen. Air Liquide expanded to Japan in 1907 and has supplied industrial and medical gases along with related equipment and services to various industries.

ITOCHU, for its part, will aim to accelerate the development of sustainable energy systems through these initiatives, ensure "contributions to the SDGs and improved efforts" as one of the basic policies of its next medium-term management plan, and achieve a low-carbon society.

  • ※1 E-vehicles: electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles and hybrid vehicles
  • ※2Hydrogen Council: A global action group whose aim is to provide and share a broad vision for the widespread adoption of hydrogen-related technologies. The council was formed in January 2017 in Davos, Switzerland by 13 global companies in the energy and other sectors, and now has 109 member companies (as of January 2021).