in 2021 in the tsunami-ravaged Tokyo Electric Power Co. Workers dismantle old storage tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Now the government is pouring billions of dollars into the hydrogen stream. Pool File photo by Kimimasa Mayama/EPA-EFE
June 6 (UPI) — A major investment of more than $100 billion will go toward hydrogen production in Japan’s energy sector, the government announced Tuesday.
The revised hydrogen strategy calls for $107 billion over the next 14 years to increase the island’s hydrogen supply to about 12 million tons from 2 million tons.
“We would like to continuously build the hydrogen supply chain in Asia and the Indo-Pacific region by further expanding Japan’s [hydrogen] technology that was world-leading,” said Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura. was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency.
Hydrogen, a strong energy carrier, is a niche component of the so-called energy transition. Production is described using a spectrum of colors, and most hydrogen produced today is considered “grey”.
It uses a steam-driven process to break down natural gas or methane into its elemental components, carbon and hydrogen. This releases carbon. At the other end of the spectrum, “green” hydrogen uses renewable electricity instead of steam to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, with no emissions.
Japan is reassessing its energy sector after the catastrophic meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011. Economies largely dependent on foreign supplies of fossil fuels are now looking for alternatives, from “clean” coal to hydrogen.
Japan relies on hydrogen produced from fossil fuel feedstock. However, it could help meet carbon reduction targets, ensure a secure energy source and support economic growth.
Elsewhere, Japan’s parliament passed a bill last month that would extend the life of nuclear power plants to more than 60 years as the country seeks to reduce carbon emissions and save energy by redeploying nuclear resources.
The law was enacted in response to dwindling national energy supplies due to Russia’s war in Ukraine and sanctions targeting the Kremlin’s war chest.
Many closed reactors remain offline because they could not meet the stricter safety standards that were implemented after the Fukushima accident.