Japan’s commitment to decarbonization is receiving a significant boost, with leading energy firm Iwatani Corp. aggressively expanding its hydrogen business.

This strategic shift is intended to capitalize on the increasing demand for cleaner fuels. It falls in line with Japan’s broader national decarbonization drive towards net zero emissions by 2050.

In an ambitious move, Iwatani announced that they would be allocating ¥178bn ($1.25bn) towards hydrogen-related projects over the five years to the fiscal year April 2027-March 2028. This massive investment accounts for approximately 38% of the ¥470bn that has been earmarked for overall investments as per the company’s recently released five-year business plan on 21st June.

A lion’s share of these funds, about ¥115bn, will be used to construct a fourth hydrogen production site domestically, located in the Kanto region of Japan. This also includes the development of a unique project to produce hydrogen from plastic waste, offering a potential two-pronged solution to environmental problems. Additionally, Iwatani is exploring opportunities to establish a hydrogen production facility in the US by 2027-28, the specifics of which remain under wraps.

In a bid to develop an international supply chain, Iwatani plans to invest another ¥30bn in overseas hydrogen projects, specifically in Australia, and potentially the US. The energy firm is presently engaged in a feasibility study for green hydrogen production in Australia, collaborating with industry giants such as Kansai Electric Power and trading house Marubeni, Australia’s Queensland state-owned utility Stanwell, and Singapore’s Keppel Infrastructure.

For domestic market development, the remaining ¥33bn will be allocated to increase the number of hydrogen fuelling stations across Japan and the US. This underscores the company’s commitment to not just producing cleaner fuel but also making it accessible.

Iwatani projects its global hydrogen sales volumes to achieve substantial growth, aiming to reach 30,000 t/yr in 2027-28, soaring to a remarkable 300,000 t/yr in 2030-31 from the current 14,000 t/yr in 2022.

Beyond bolstering its hydrogen operations, Iwatani’s strategies are also geared towards promoting decarbonization in other sectors. The company has set its sight on slashing its domestic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by half by 2030-31, from its 2019-20 levels. To put this in perspective, Iwatani emitted around 219,000t of CO2 in 2019-20, which included 78,000t of scope 1 and 140,000t of scope 2 emissions.

This holistic approach to a greener future, as demonstrated by Iwatani, encapsulates the potential of hydrogen as a key component in the drive towards decarbonization, while underlining the crucial role of businesses in supporting national and global environmental goals.

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