Image: Sumitomo Rubber

Sumitomo Rubber Industries announced that, with the backing and support of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO, a national research and development agency), our major tire factory in Shirakawa (Fukushima Prefecture) will begin a proof of concept in August with the ultimate goal of harnessing hydrogen energy, which has been widely hailed as a safe and clean source of energy.

  1. Purposes:
    To develop ways for harnessing hydrogen as a novel energy source with the eventual goal of carbon-neutral tire manufacture.
    To build a paradigm for local generation and consumption of hydrogen in Fukushima Prefecture.
    To create tires that emit zero*1 CO2 during the manufacturing process.
  2. Historical context:
    Tire manufacture needs the use of high-temperature, high-pressure heat energy in the form of steam, which is difficult to generate using simply electric power due to a variety of technological constraints. As a result, the Sumitomo Rubber Group has shifted its focus to hydrogen as a potentially transformative new energy source in support of our continued efforts to attain carbon neutrality. As a result, we chose Shirakawa Factory as a pilot factory to illustrate hydrogen’s potential while also leveraging existing hydrogen energy programs in Fukushima Prefecture. We then submitted this strategy to NEDO, who approved and supported it.
  3. Future Objectives:
    Shirakawa Factory, with funding from NEDO, will execute a proof of concept including the use of hydrogen energy in specific tire manufacturing processes from August 2021 to February 2024. Following that, we intend to increase the usage of hydrogen energy throughout Shirakawa Factory and, eventually, throughout our group’s manufacturing facilities in Japan and abroad.

Nedim Husomanovic

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