CCUS: A Technological Gamble for Japan’s Decarbonization Goals

March 24, 2022|Decarbonization

Japan is a strong proponent of adopting existing energy systems to meet decarbonization goals, and arguably its biggest gamble is on an emerging set of technologies that seek to capture CO2 and then either store or recycle it.

Carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) refers to several technologies that aim to capture CO2 before it is emitted into the atmosphere or to capture it directly from the air, transport it and either permanently store it or use it to create products.

CCUS potentially allows Japan to meet net carbon neutrality commitments by 2050, while retaining thermal power generation to provide reliable baseload power. CCUS technology should be available for certain applications by 2030 and to be widely used in the power generation and chemical industries by 2050.

Major Japanese industrial corporations are already researching and experimenting with the technology in pilot projects supported by state subsidies. However, the technology only appears financially viable for industrial use when coupled with carbon taxation at levels much higher than today’s. The technology also needs to be demonstrated at scale in Japan.

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