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Japan prioritising global cooperation in hydrogen, report says

Out-Law News | 13 Sep 2021 | 1:35 am | 1 min. read

The Japanese government is seeking cooperation with international partners as it seeks to develop viable hydrogen energy opportunities, according to a new report.

The report, published by Leader Associates ahead of next month’s Connecting Green Hydrogen Japan 2021 conference, believes that the Japanese government and Japanese private sector participants are actively prioritising collaboration on hydrogen pilot projects. Current partners include Australia, Saudi Arabia, Brunei and New Zealand.

Due to Japan’s limited energy reserves, complex geography and high production and transportation costs, domestic-only hydrogen energy production cannot meet demand, according to the report. Importing hydrogen or the raw materials needed for its production would be the first option. International relationships will accordingly be important.

The Japanese government released its third strategic roadmap for hydrogen and fuel cells in March 2019. The country sees the development of hydrogen energy as a viable way to increase energy self-sufficiency, decarbonise the economy, improve industrial competitiveness and position Japan as an exporter of fuel cell technology.

George Varma, a hydrogen and cleantech expert at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: “Japan is enthusiastically exploring a range of potential hydrogen production and offtake opportunities and, along with South Korea, is perhaps Asia’s most strident supporter of the developing hydrogen industry.”

“Japan’s focus on international collaboration will be key, as well as its ambition to reduce production costs to a point where hydrogen becomes a viable competitor to other fuel sources. We have already seen some exciting technological advances coming out of Japan in this regard,” he said.

Hydrogen, the most common substance in the world, has been described as the ‘brave new world’ for energy and is being researched and pursued globally as a potential alternative energy source to heat homes, fuel planes, ships and trucks, and power electricity grids and heavy industry.