Early December 2022, a delegation from the Brittany Region led by its President Loïg Chesnais-Girard visited Japan for a week. This trip, punctuated by visits to Japanese companies, enabled Brittany to consolidate its links with its Japanese partners in the region. In this pioneer country in renewable energies, particular emphasis was placed on hydrogen, for which BDI is piloting the industrial aspect of the Brittany Region’s roadmap.
Japan, an inspiration for the development of the hydrogen sector in Brittany
As the leading region in France for the development of renewable hydrogen, Brittany decided to make this energy vector one of the main focuses of its visit to Japan and organised, through its BDI agency, a programme of meetings with a view to building projects linked to this sector. “During our stay, we met with members of the NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization), which is the equivalent of ADEME for Japan,” says Alain Terpant, BDI’s Managing Director, who was part of the delegation. This visit helped us to understand the methods of supporting and financing projects carried out by Japanese companies outside their borders.”
The trip was also punctuated by visits to Kawasaki and Toyota. Two companies that are at the forefront of designing hydrogen-related solutions. “Kawasaki is at the forefront of logistics issues, particularly in ports, and on turbines for large ships with hydrogen combustion. Toyota is already present in Brittany through two partnerships: EODev, in Saint-Malo, and Kohler-SDMO, in Brest. It supplies the fuel cells inside the hydrogen generators of EODev and Kohler-SDMO.”
On the logistics side and the transportation of hydrogen by sea, “Kawasaki was the first to develop, for example, the first hydrogen tanker to transport low-temperature liquid hydrogen between Australia and Japan. We can also imagine Kawasaki and Toyota supplying turbines or fuel cells for ships made in partnership with Breton manufacturers.”
In its renewable hydrogen roadmap, the Region of Brittany includes an objective of decarbonising its fleet. On 6 December 2022, a study financed by BDI on the development of the hydrogen ship sector was presented in Saint-Malo. “Some of the ships included in this study could be built in conjunction with Japanese companies. In particular the larger ships.”
Strong relations between Brittany and Japan
These visits were part of a wider framework for the Brittany Region. It had been three years since this Japanese-Breton meeting had taken place due to Covid. Launched in 2005 by Jean-Yves Le Drian, the guest of honour on this 2022 trip, these annual delegations traditionally aim to strengthen the links between Japanese investors present in Brittany. Among the actors present during this trip were Loïg Chesnais-Girard, President of the Brittany Region and Laurence Fortin, Vice-President in charge of territories, economy and housing. The Presidents of BDI and BCI were also present. In addition to Kawasaki and Toyota for hydrogen, the personalities present in the Land of the Rising Sun also visited the headquarters of three companies based in Brittany: Canon (Liffré), Sanden (Tinténiac) and Nissui (shareholder of Cité Marine, based in Kervignac).
Stéphane Perrin, Vice-President of the Region in charge of finance, human resources, general resources, Europe and international affairs, was present in the delegation and was able to explore broader issues concerning the cultural, tourism and higher education/research sectors in order to consider expanding the partnerships.