On April 1, Iwatani shut down its existing Shiga Technology Centre and began operating its new R&D center named the Central Research Laboratory in Amagasaki and opened it to the public.

As reported in the Gas Review, No 373, the new center will take over the function of the former, and also strive to enhance the various types of facilities in use. It cost about ¥4bn and took one year to complete construction.

The new building will engage in joint research and development with users and other partner companies with an open type lab. It will offer total support by engaging in everything from basic research to product development. Along with this it is aiming at a comprehensive service combining the three fields of testing, analysis and proof-of-concept demonstration.

Iwatani invited Shinji Murai to head the new center. He is a world class authority in the fields of organic synthesis chemistry and catalyst science. The new center will make full use of his knowledge and experience he has in the management of the new building.

The star attraction of the new center is its liquid hydrogen testing facility, the only one of its kind in Japan and of the highest level in terms of a private facility. It is equipped with the latest gauges and analysis equipment. It is capable of testing hydrogen related equipment such as valves and tubes with actual gas.

The hydrogen used in the tests can be recovered and allotted to fuel cells. LP gas is supplied for air conditioning inside the facility using a gas heat pump facility.