Japan pledges $107 billion in funding for hydrogen developments

The Japanese government has approved a new plan to raise $107 billion in both private and public funding for the expansion of its hydrogen supply over the course of the following 15 years. In an effort to lower the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, the country revised its renewable energy plan to increase the use of hydrogen as fuel. To bridge the gap to renewables, Japan’s controversial decarbonisation strategy includes the use of so-called clean coal alongside hydrogen and nuclear. Furthermore, Japan’s pursuit of clean coal has been criticised as an attempt to extend the lifespan of coal-fired power plants through co-firing with ammonia.

By 2040, the revised Basic Hydrogen Strategy seeks to increase Japan’s current supply of two million tonnes of hydrogen to 12 million tonnes. According to reports, Japan’s plan to focus its renewable energy strategy primarily on hydrogen or ammonia satisfies the needs of major industrial players who already have infrastructure for fossil fuels. At the moment, fossil fuels are used to produce the majority of the hydrogen in Japan. Additionally, the government intends to use a combination of hydrogen and natural gas in thermal power facilities. As neither hydrogen nor ammonia emit carbon dioxide when burned, co-firing results in fewer emissions.

In April 2023, the first shipment of ammonia from Saudi Arabia arrived in Japan as part of a collaborative project. Fuji Oil plans to begin burning ammonia in a mix of 20 per cent with 80 per cent coal.