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Air Liquide to develop hydrogen mobility markets in Japan with Itochu

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TOKYO (Reuters) - French industrial gas company Air Liquide said on Friday it had agreed to collaborate with Japanese trading house Itochu Corp for the development of hydrogen mobility markets in Japan.

The two companies will initially focus on the development of hydrogen retail infrastructure in Japan, both for passenger vehicles and new commercial vehicles such as trucks and busses, it said in a statement.

The objective is to expand retail infrastructure and develop competitive hydrogen supply offer for passenger and commercial end-users in collaboration with local authorities, allowing a rapid ramp-up of hydrogen mobility in Japan, it said.

The move comes after the Japanese government laid out the green growth strategy in December under which it aims to eliminate new gasoline-powered vehicles by the mid-2030s to help achieve Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s October pledge to eliminate carbon emission on a net basis by mid-century.

The government’s ambitious goal included a plan to boost its annual hydrogen demand to 3 million tonnes by 2030 from about 2 million tonnes now, and 20 million tonnes by 2050.

Hydrogen is mainly used in oil refining and to produce ammonia for fertilisers but future demand is expected to come from broader segments including transport, building and power generation.

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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