1 of 2 | Workers demolish old storage tanks at the tsunami-devastated Tokyo Electric Power Co. Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2021. The government is now sinking billions of dollars into the hydrogen stream. Pool File Photo by Kimimasa Mayama/EPA-EFE
June 6 (UPI) -- A massive investment of more than $100 billion will go toward building up hydrogen in the Japanese energy sector, the government announced Tuesday.
A revised hydrogen strategy outlines $107 billion over the next 14 years to increase the hydrogen supply in the island nation to some 12 million tons from 2 million tons.
"We would like to steadily build a supply chain for hydrogen in Asia and the Indo-Pacific region by further expanding Japan's [hydrogen] technology, which has been world-leading," Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura was quoted by the Kyodo news agency as saying.
Hydrogen, a potent energy carrier, is something of a niche component of the so-called energy transition. Production is described using a color spectrum, with most of the hydrogen produced today considered "gray."
That uses a steam-driven process to break natural gas, or methane, into its elemental components -- carbon and hydrogen. Carbon is released as a result. On the other end of the spectrum, "green" hydrogen uses renewable electricity instead of steam to break water apart into hydrogen and oxygen, with no emissions.
Japan has been reassessing its energy sector since the disastrous meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011. Largely dependent on foreign supplies of fossil fuels, the economy now is looking for alternatives, from "clean" coal to hydrogen.
Japan is leaning on hydrogen produced from a fossil-fuel feedstock. It could nevertheless help address decarbonization goals, ensure a secure source of energy and support economic growth.
Elsewhere, the Japanese parliament passed a bill last month that would extend the lifespan of nuclear power plants to more than 60 years, as the country aims to cut carbon emissions and conserve energy by repurposing its nuclear resources.
The legislation was passed in response to a dwindling national energy supply due to Russia's war in Ukraine and sanction's targeting the Kremlin's war chest.
Many of the shuttered reactors remain offline as they have been unable to meet tougher safety standards that were implemented after the meltdown at Fukushima.