Three major Japanese shipping companies—Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” Line), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK)—have joined forces with JSE Ocean, a subsidiary of Japan Suiso Energy (JSE). This collaboration marks a crucial step towards realizing Japan’s ambitious hydrogen targets as outlined in its Basic Hydrogen Strategy, revised by the Japanese government in June 2023.
The Japanese government has made it clear that hydrogen will play a central role in its pursuit of decarbonization. In the revised Basic Hydrogen Strategy, Japan commits to producing 3 million tons of hydrogen annually by 2030, a figure that swells to 12 million tons per year by 2040 and an impressive 20 million tons per year by 2050. These targets underscore Japan’s unwavering commitment to hydrogen as a viable alternative to fossil fuels.
One of the critical challenges in achieving these hydrogen milestones is ensuring a cost-effective and secure supply chain. To this end, the target hydrogen supply cost is set at approximately JPY30 per normal cubic meter of air (Nm3) by 2030 and an even more competitive JPY20 per Nm3 by 2050 at the point of arrival in Japan. Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) emphasizes that for Japan to reach these price and volume goals while creating a secure global supply chain, the role of maritime transport will be pivotal.
The journey towards a hydrogen-powered future received a significant boost in August 2021 when Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) allocated a grant from the Japanese government’s Green Innovation Fund. This grant supports the “Liquefied Hydrogen Supply Chain Commercialization Demonstration Project,” a groundbreaking initiative involving JSE, Iwatani Corporation, and ENEOS Corporation.
In the heart of this project, JSE is tasked with establishing the world’s first large-scale hydrogen liquefaction and transportation technology. This technology is set to handle an initial 30,000 tons of hydrogen per year, with plans for further expansion. The project’s grand vision encompasses the creation of a comprehensive and robust global liquefied hydrogen (LH2) supply chain. This chain spans the entire hydrogen journey, from production and liquefaction to export from Australia, marine transportation, and ultimately import into Japan.
The partnership between these Japanese shipping giants and JSE Ocean underscores their collective commitment to revolutionizing Japan’s energy landscape. By making significant strides in hydrogen transport technology and supply chain logistics, they are poised to play a pivotal role in realizing Japan’s hydrogen ambitions. This endeavor doesn’t just signify a step towards cleaner energy; it represents a decisive move towards a more sustainable and eco-conscious future for Japan and the world.