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Japan plans first carbon capture and storage project

Japan will launch its first permanent carbon capture and storage (CCS) project by 2030, according to local reports.

Japanese largest oil company ENEOS and utility J-Power will work together and open a feasibility study for the project. The two companies will design the carbon capture facility next year at the earliest and make a final investment decision in 2026, according to a report.

A Nikkei report said ENEOS would use its technical expertise in storing carbon dioxide underground to cut three million tonnes of emissions nationwide in 2030. J-Power will capture carbon from coal-fired power plants.

According to a Reuters report, Japan’s industry ministry is planning to build up a legal framework for CCS in order to enable companies to start storing carbon dioxide underground or under the seabed by 2030.

Renewables expert Karah Howard of Pinsent Masons said: “Japan might seem an unlikely candidate for CCS projects as a country prone to earthquakes, impeded by onerous legal obstacles and negative public opinion. However, Nikkei Asia reports that the Japanese government plans to overhaul its CCS laws to turn carbon storage into a full-fledged business sector by 2030. ENEOS and J-Power will be competing against leading players Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which the report says has more than 70% global share in carbon dioxide sequestration equipment, as well as carbon pricing and other government support.”

“Lambert’s paper ‘Energy Transition in Japan and Implications for Gas’ reports that there is CO2 storage potential of 146 billion tonnes, equivalent to 100 years of the country’s current annual CO2 emissions, in water depths of 200 metres around the coast. Three significant sites each with 1-5 billion tonnes of storage potential have already been appraised with 3D seismic surveys. He explains that Japan’s increased reliance upon fossil fuels, particularly coal and liquified natural gas (LNG), since the Tohoku earthquake in 2011, together with Japan’s commitment to achieve net zero by 2050 requires a greater scale of development compared to European countries that have committed to the same target,” she said.

In April 2021, Japan announced its aim to cut emissions by 46% by 2030 from 2013, which doubled its previous target of a 26% reduction from 2013 set in 2015. In 2020, Japan set its aim to become carbon neutral by 2050.

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