Essen – Grenoble-Alpes Métropole – Toyota – Koriyama Study visit

Categorized as News from Asia & Australasia, News from IURC

11-15 October 2022

The City of Essen, Germany, and Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, France, sent a delegation to the cities of Toyota and Koriyama in Japan, to explore the possibilities of urban and regional cooperation in the fields of Hydrogen and Open Innovation. The mission aimed at establishing a mutually-beneficial and future-oriented relationship between not only the four municipalities but academic and research institutes, and private sectors, by sharing good practices and experiences.

During the study visit to Toyota City, the delegation from Essen, Grenoble-Alpes Métropole and Koriyama were able to learn of the private sectors’ drive to develop a hydrogen value chain for fuel cell vehicles, and government policies to support green hydrogen. The delegation was also keen to learn of Toyota City’s open innovation efforts for SMEs and the city’s carbon-neutral school for company managers, which includes one year of training and the development of a carbon-neutral action plan at the end. They also visited the Knowledge Hub Aichi, a center for creating and reporting on next-generation manufacturing technologies. Here they visited a testing site for hydrogen storage of the Enoa Company.

During the study visit to Koriyama City, the delegation from Essen, Grenoble-Alpes Métropole and Toyota, were able to learn of the latest technical innovation in hydrogen related research.

A business seminar was held at Koriyama City Hall and the delegation members presented the efforts and projects of each city and métropole in the fields of hydrogen and open innovation. There were roughly 50 participants from academic and research institutes, businesses and municipal officials in Koriyama. After the business seminar, delegates from Grenopble and Essen participated in the Fukushima Renewable Energy Industrial Fair for networking and information gathering. They also visited the Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute.

The four municipalities that have signed a partnership agreement have shown their strong commitment to work together beyond the study tours. Furthermore, Mayor Shinagawa of Koriyama City expressed his confidence that the inter-municipality cooperation will be beneficial to all four municipalities. The study visit was covered by local TV and print media in both Toyota and Koriyama, a testament to the high interest of the IURC study trip in the hosting cities.