The Japanese government has given its approval to a plan that will see an investment of 15 trillion yen ($107 billion) in public and private funds over the next 15 years to accelerate the production and supply of low-emission hydrogen.
The goal of the cabinet-approved plan is to increase Japan’s current hydrogen supply of two million tons per year to 12 million tons by 2040.
With this ambitious plan, the government aims to encourage private companies to actively participate in the hydrogen program and begin commercializing hydrogen power generation by 2030. Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura emphasized the importance of expanding Japan’s hydrogen technology to establish a hydrogen supply chain in Asia and the Indo-Pacific region.
Japan has identified hydrogen as a key element in its energy strategy to reduce polluting emissions and drive decarbonization efforts by 2050. In the recently released White Paper on energy, the government designated hydrogen as a crucial material for its comprehensive decarbonization plan across multiple sectors.
While hydrogen itself is a clean-burning fuel that does not emit carbon dioxide when used, its environmental impact and energy efficiency depend on the production methods employed. Hydrogen can be derived from various resources, including fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. However, the critical aspect is capturing and storing the carbon dioxide produced during hydrogen production to prevent its release into the atmosphere.
Historically, hydrogen has found extensive use in the aerospace industry and has been primarily utilized in sectors such as oil refining and chemical production. However, its adoption in broader areas like transportation and power generation has remained limited.
Japan is also keen on promoting the use of synthetic fuels and ammonia for energy purposes. These alternative fuels offer potential pathways for reducing carbon emissions and diversifying the energy mix.
While the investment plan demonstrates Japan’s commitment to advancing the hydrogen economy and achieving its decarbonization goals, several challenges need to be addressed. These include the development of efficient hydrogen production methods, infrastructure for storage and transportation, and the establishment of international collaborations for the global supply chain. Additionally, ensuring the cost competitiveness of hydrogen compared to conventional fuels and addressing safety concerns are crucial factors in driving widespread adoption.
The approved plan sets Japan on a path to become a global leader in the hydrogen industry, creating economic opportunities, fostering innovation, and contributing to a more sustainable future. It represents a significant step towards achieving a decarbonized society and underscores Japan’s determination to address climate change through the adoption of clean energy solutions.