Japan is known for its technological prowess and advancements across almost every industry. Quite unsurprisingly, Japan is also one of the pioneers in the field of green hydrogen and the associated hydrogen economy to help propel the country to new levels of industrialisation while keeping its net-zero commitments intact. In fact, green hydrogen was produced in Japan as long as about a century back in 1923, through water electrolysis powered by hydroelectricity (1). In 2021, Japan signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with ISA to cooperate in the proliferation of solar technologies, renewable energies, energy storage, energy efficiency and technology innovations among ISA member countries (2). Green hydrogen thus seems to be a natural extension of the areas of cooperation between Japan and ISA.
The demand of hydrogen in Japan is as follows. Japan wishes to increase its hydrogen consumption about 10-fold from 2020 to 2050 (including the use of hydrogen in the form of derivatives like ammonia), as per Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) (3).
The supply of hydrogen is expected to match the consumption target; hence, Japan is focusing heavily on import of low-carbon hydrogen from countries like Australia, USA, Saudi Arabia, Chile and others.
The Basic Hydrogen Strategy (4) announced way back in 2017 by the Government of Japan is a pioneering strategy where the need of hydrogen as the fuel of the future was realised early on. The strategy is comprehensive in nature and fixes well defined targets across various sectors to ensure the development of a well-rounded hydrogen economy in Japan.The strategy has fixed the hydrogen supply and demand targets till 2050, as explained in the previous section. Additionally, the following targets have been mentioned in the Basic Hydrogen Strategy of Japan.
|Automotive Sector||FCEVs: 200,000 unitsFC-Buses: -NA-||FCEVs: 800,000 unitsFC-Buses: 12,000,000 Units||FCEVs: -NA-FC-Buses: -NA-|
|Hydrogen Refuelling Stations||320||900||-NA|
|Cost of hydrogen production||-NA-||$3 / kg||$2 / kg|
|Cost of electrolyser||¥200,000/kW(~$1,470/kW)||¥50,000/kW(~$370/kW)||-NA-|
|Specific Energy Consumption for electrolysis||5 kWh/Nm3(~56 kWh/kg)||4.3 kWh/Nm3(~48 kWh/kg)||-NA-|
So far, the Government has invested about ¥140 Billion (~$ 1 Bn.) cumulatively in 2020 and 2021, focusing on R&D, demonstration projects and creating new supply chains for low-carbon hydrogen.
As per METI, Japan currently has about 12 percent of its primary energy supply from renewable sources and the vast majority is being handled by oil and coal. In terms of power generation, renewables contribute to 18 percent of the total electricity production while a vast majority is handled by natural gas at 37 percent.
Going forward, Japan plans to increase the share of renewables to about 23 percent in primary energy supply and upto 38percent in electricity generation by 2030. Interestingly, hydrogen finds share of 1 percent in both primary energy supply and electricity by 2030.
As of now, no public information is available on electrolyser manufacturing projects in Japan, although major OEMs are present like Asahi Kasei, Hitachi Zosen, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toshiba, etc. It is believed that significant electrolyser manufacturing capacity will emerge in Japan in future, given the Government’s intentions to occupy 10 percent of the market share of global electrolyser market (6).
Takahiko Katsumata, the Japanese ambassador to Ankara, stated that there are extensive opportunities for energy cooperation between Türkiye and Japan. The sides convened in Istanbul to assess potential energy collaborations between the two nations. Their discussions covered a wide range of areas, from critical minerals, renewable energy and energy efficiency to natural gas, new fuels and technologies.
The ministers also signed a joint statement to initiate the “Türkiye-Japan Energy Forum.”