Japanese expert overseeing hydrogen gasification in Latrobe Valley

Masahiko Tomioka moved to Australia in June 2019, bringing his family and vast experience in hydrogen gasification technologies with him.

Masahiko Tomioka. Photo copyright of HESC.
Masahiko Tomioka. Photo copyright of HESC.

Mr Tomioka is the Chief Engineer for J-Power Latrobe Valley (J-Power LV), which recently announced commencement of hydrogen production from its coal gasification and hydrogen refining facility in the Latrobe Valley.

“The best thing about being part of HESC is working with all the plant personnel to reach the same goal of producing hydrogen,” Mr Tomioka said.

Mr Tomioka is involved with planning and executing operations, maintenance and analysing the performance of the HESC Project’s Latrobe Valley facility.

At a Japanese university, he studied catalytic reforming methodology of petroleum, including hydrogen production and earned a Master’s Degree in Applied Chemistry.

This study set him up to take on the exciting opportunities that the emerging hydrogen economy is unlocking.

Mr Tomioka’s first job was working in environmental management of a coal power station in Japan, with J-Power. He reported on the CO2 emissions produced by the station and evaluated them against government emissions reduction targets.

“Through this work, I realised the importance of a zero-emissions future and became strongly motivated to become involved in a hydrogen production project that can achieve this goal,” he said.

In his second job, Mr Tomioka gained the knowledge and experience of coal gasification he uses today, from the J-Power Wakamatsu research institute.

His experience working at the Institute— a centre focused on coal gasification technologies, gas refining technology, carbon dioxide separation and capture facilities —Mr Tomioka was captivated by HESC and requested to be assigned to the Chief Engineer role in Australia.

Of the biggest challenge faced while working on the HESC Project, Mr Tomioka said: “Operations of the plant requires a lot of my experience and knowledge but when the Victorian coal is gasified and refined from Victorian coal to hydrogen, I feel very pleased.”

Mr Tomioka resides in Traralgon and is fascinated by the old power station and landscape on the trip to work each day.

Mr Tomioka not only finds joy in his work, but in colloquialisms used by his Australian counterparts.

“I love hearing the phrase ‘no worries’. It makes me happy every time I hear it.”

Mr Tomioka will continue working in the Latrobe Valley for the duration of the HESC Pilot Project and hopes to explore Australia’s beautiful nature and wildlife with his family in his free time.

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