logo #H2AmericasSummit 8–11 June 2021

Interview with Ricky Sakai

In preparation for the Summit, Rob Arthur, Business Development Manager at Sustainable Energy Council interviewed Ricky Sakai, Vice President of New Business Development at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on his observationsexpectations and predictions related to the growing role of hydrogen in the region.

 

Ryosuke “Ricky” Sakai Vice President of New Business Development Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

What do you think needs prioritising for a quicker hydrogen deployment?

Accelerating hydrogen deployment is two-fold. First, we need to prioritize investment in infrastructure. Our current energy value chains are sophisticated, but hydrogen will be a game changer. Scaling it will require us to build an ecosystem and adapt our current system to help speed up deployment of the actual product. It is also important to drive collaboration from all players. To make hydrogen a reality and create the market, we need support and partnership from government, regulators and corporations. It cannot be viewed as competition – we need to work together to achieve a sustainable and resilient long-term future for the energy sector.

How is Mitsubishi Heavy Industries contributing to the Americas hydrogen economy?

With our focus on the energy transition as a core strategy, MHI is combining our wide-ranging products and technologies to make carbon neutrality – and the hydrogen economy – a reality. We see our role as a value chain solutions provider: We deliver by both manufacturing cutting-edge technologies and enabling breakthrough innovations through partnerships and investments. In the past year, MHI has executed two major investments in the hydrogen space. We’re partnering with Monolith Materials, a leader in clean hydrogen and chemical production, to support its innovative commercial-scale, emissions-free hydrogen manufacturing technology. We also invested in C-Zero, a hard-tech startup, to accelerate efforts to produce clean hydrogen from natural gas. These investments have allowed us to strengthen and diversify the hydrogen value chain by advancing strategic initiatives for our energy transition business. Additionally, we’re accelerating solutions in partnership with our more than 200 Group Companies within MHI. In Utah, Mitsubishi Power has partnered with Magnum Development to create the world’s largest renewable energy storage project, which will deploy technologies and strategies that are essential to realizing a decarbonized future for the power grid in the Western U.S. Using Mitsubishi Power hydrogen gas technology above ground and Magnum salt dome storage technology below ground, the Advanced Clean Energy Storage project will develop dozens of caverns that are each capable of storing 100 GWh worth of long-term clean energy.

How does the Hydrogen Americas Summit help Mitsubishi Heavy Industries achieve these goals?

The Summit is important in bringing key players across industry, academia and policy together to discuss how we can collaborate to make the hydrogen economy a reality. As I noted previously, collaboration is essential to our collective success. Events like this one offer a valuable chance to network, discuss challenges and opportunities, learn from each other and think big about what’s next.

What companies or sectors are you looking forward to hearing from, meeting and doing business with at the Summit, to bring these plans to life?

MHI is interested in connecting with all stakeholders who are playing a role in making the hydrogen economy a reality. As we look to expand our value chain, I look forward to engaging with customers, technology providers, academics and even competitors.

As green hydrogen projects scale, how rapidly can we see the cost of green hydrogen dropping to natural gas levels?

The global market for hydrogen has grown immensely over the past 40 years, and it only continues to rise. In fact, recent forecasts find that green hydrogen could price gas out of power markets by 2050. We’re seeing increased momentum as the number of projects and government support for hydrogen increases, which will help scale the market and make green hydrogen much more competitive.

In comparison to Europe or Asia, how do you see the hydrogen value chain developing in the Americas?

Countries around the world – in particular, Japan and Korea – have been committed to hydrogen for more than a decade. However, their limited access to natural resources and renewable power have made them reliant on importing hydrogen from places like the U.S. This is an opportunity for the U.S., especially as it looks to decarbonize its own sectors. With green hydrogen’s potential, we’re seeing more hydrogen projects and investment across the country. At MHI, we recently announced our participation in the U.S. Department of Energy’s H2@Scale Project in Texas. The project intends to show that renewable hydrogen can be a cost-effective fuel for multiple end-use applications, including fuel cell electric vehicles, when coupled with large, baseload consumers that use hydrogen for clean, reliable stationary power. Ultimately, the project aims to enable affordable hydrogen production, distribution and utilization across multiple sectors of the economy. At the Port of Houston, the project team will conduct a feasibility study for scaling up hydrogen production and use. The study will examine policies, regulations, and economics so that industry can develop a strategic action plan to present to policymakers to enable heavy-duty fuel cell transportation and energy systems. MHI will be engaged in the feasibility study for the Port of Houston by providing technical solutions and economic data to the project team. Although green hydrogen is a long-term goal, every advancement we make in the space is one step closer to getting there.

We Hope You Enjoyed the Pre-Summit Reading


If you’re looking for business opportunities in the growing hydrogen sector, then the Hydrogen Americas Summit is made for you. While the North American countries embrace investment in accountable, transparent pathway to reduce emissions and Latin America develops its huge potential to become one of the world’s hydrogen powerhouses with vast renewable resources in the region, the Hydrogen Americas Summit is the only industry event presenting business opportunities for its entire value chain and across the two continents.

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