Highlights in 2018
Mission Innovation impact case study
The “Mitou” challenge 2050 programme has been launched, inspired by the activity of MI. “Mitou” means unexplored in Japanese. This programme is also promoted to industry-academia collaboration and limited to researchers aged 40 or younger in academia.
We have come to realize that it is important to promote long-term, challenging but high-impact research and development (R&D).
Although there is no impactful outcome yet, the motivation of young researchers has been improving.
Update on clean energy innovation policies and strategies
The Government of Japan formulated the Strategic Energy Plan in order to show to the public the basic direction of Japan’s energy policy under the Basic Act on Energy Policy in July 2018. The new Strategic Energy Plan is the basis for the orientation of Japan’s new energy policy towards 2030 and further towards 2050, considering the changes in energy environments inside and outside Japan. Efforts to achieve an optimal energy mix are only partly accomplished. The new plan emphasizes the strengthening of such efforts to ensure continued, concrete results towards 2030. Towards 2050, the new plan seeks to achieve energy transitions and decarbonization, in light of the global momentum in this direction and in enforcement of the Paris Agreement, and to pursue all tenable options toward this end.
The Paris Agreement calls on countries to submit to the UN a long-term strategy in order to steadily reduce GHG emissions. Currently, we are working hard to formulate a long-term strategy for submission in summer 2019.
Major innovation initiatives in 2018/19
The existing Strategic Roadmap for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells was renewed in March 2019. The renewed roadmap defines: (i) new targets on the specification of basic technologies and the breakdown of costs; (ii) necessary measures for achieving these goals; and (iii) that Japan will convene a working group consisting of experts to review the status of implementation in each area stipulated by the roadmap.
In 2019, Japan will invest 20.4 billion yen in R&D on clean hydrogen.
Japan hosted the Hydrogen Energy Ministerial Meeting in October 2018. More than 20 countries got together and shared the view that hydrogen can be a key contributor to the energy transitions. We confirmed the value of collaborating on these agendas in the “Tokyo Statement”.
(i) Harmonization of Regulation, Codes and Standards, (ii) International Joint R&D emphasizing Safety, (iii) Study and Evaluation, (iv) Communication, Education, and outreach.
Japan considers the concept of “carbon recycling” as recognizing CO2 as a source of carbon, capturing and recycling it as carbon compounds in industries, then utilizing it as fuel or a raw material or even in the growing of vegetables. To promote technological innovations involving capture, storage and utilization of CO2, the “Carbon Recycling Promotion Office” was established in the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.
Major activities in support of the Innovation Challenges in 2018/19
Japan joined the IC8 Deep Dive and Hydrogen Valleys workshops to provide the knowledge and information obtained from previous research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) projects. Furthermore, Japan held the First Hydrogen Energy Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo in October 2018. IC8 was invited to the meeting to present their activities and future plans.
Prof. Kodama from Niigata University co-worked with prof. Gus Nathan (The Univ. of Adelaide, Australia), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to establish an international collaboration “Converting Sunlight to Fuels” as a part of IC5 activity.