Japan claims hydrogen first

KYUSHU University in Japan is establishing what it says will be the world’s first graduate programme in hydrogen energy technologies.

Given the importance attached to hydrogen-related work globally, this postgraduate course might, just might, appeal to aspiring British graduates with a keen interest in the topic.

The new Master’s programme for hydrogen engineering is to be offered at the university’s new Ito campus in Fukuoka Prefecture.

Lectures will cover such topics as hydrogen energy and developing the fuel cells needed to convert hydrogen into heat or electricity. About 10 students are expected to enter the programme initially.

The new graduate school will conduct hydrogen-related research in a broad range of areas, from basic research to field tests using fuel-cell vehicles.

In Japan, fuel-cell vehicles have been pre-commercialised since 2002, and hundreds of fuel-cell co-generation systems are now being tested in various locations.

For their commercialisation, however, various scientific as well as engineering challenges must be solved. Moreover, fundamentals on materials and system engineering in various hydrogen-related technologies must be clarified to ensure reliability of energy systems for hydrogen production, storage and utilisation, as well as their integration technologies.

More than 50 researchers are now involved in this work at Kyushu University. It’s Hydrogen Technology Research Centre research facilities are open for university researchers, with advanced infrastructure for the safety of experimental research using hydrogen.

This facility focuses on four research themes:

R&D for fuel cells, hydrolysis, hydrogen storage and supply, hydrogen sensing and safety are the major research activities.

The Kyushu centre is co-operating with Japan’s Research Centre for Hydrogen Industrial Use and Storage, which was founded recently within Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).

This work is focused on fundamental materials science and technology in high-pressure hydrogen systems.

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