The memorandum of understanding (MOU) delineating the agreement will be signed on September 19th in Iceland. Specifically, the two companies will provide technological support to Iceland's quest to be a pioneering country in clean energy (achieving zero percent hydrocarbon fuel emissions). As the first step of this initiative, MHI and MC will cooperate in the establishment of an infrastructure for verification testing of a new generation, zero-emissions electric vehicles (EV). On the day of the MOU signing, Mr. Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, the President of Iceland, is scheduled to test-drive a zero-emissions EV.
The MOU signing ceremony will take place in Reykjavik, the capital, in conjunction with the Driving Sustainability '08 conference to be held in the city on September 18 and 19. Mr. Ossur Skarphedinsson, Icelands Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, Mr. Ichiro Fukue, Senior Executive Vice President of MHI and Tsunao Kijima, Executive Vice President of MC, will attend the ceremony.
Since the 1980's, Iceland has been shifting its energy sources to renewable energy. At present the country generates almost all its electricity by geothermal power or hydropower. Iceland has also launched various initiatives toward realizing a society that will use hydrogen energy in the near future, a stance for which it is garnering attention globally as a nation with an advanced clean energy policy. In the area of transportation, however, energy sources for transport modes such as automobiles and ships are still dependent on fossil fuels, a situation which the Icelandic government seeks to rectify expeditiously.
During the course of the discussions that led to the agreement, MHI's Sustainability Energy and Environment Strategic Planning Department, established in April this year, served in a liaison role. In this instance, the energy policy embraced by Iceland meshed perfectly with the aspirations on the Japanese side, resulting in the agreement at hand. Going forward, MHI and MC are looking to collaborate in the manufacture and supply of clean fuel to replace light oil as fuel for fishing vessels. The fisheries industry is one of Icelands major industries.
New-generation fully electric vehicles will not emit carbon dioxide (CO2) as they run on electricity alone, which costs considerably less than gasoline. Amid todays intensifying need to reduce CO2 emissions, a variety of ecologically friendly vehicles are currently under development, including hybrid and hydrogen-fueled cars. Fully electric vehicles figure high among these new technological directions.
Iceland and the two Mitsubishi companies have already forged strong relationships in many areas, and to date MHI, together with MC, has received orders for 15 geothermal power plants from the country. In the wake of the latest MOU signing, MHI and MC now intend to apply their respective technologies and know-how to making even more proactive proposals to Iceland in the areas of energy and environmental issues. They also aim to leverage the experience gained through the pilot program in Iceland, one of the worlds most advanced countries in terms of clean energy usage, toward expanded developments of global scope.