A decade and a half ago, Japan embarked on its first CCS trial in a small northern port when carbon capture and storage seemed like a distant, highly experimental technology. Critics may say that little has changed for CCS in that time, but Japan’s top officials disagree.
This year, the government published its first concrete roadmap for the sector, which gives specific details on when, where and at what cost the technology should be introduced. There are designs for carbon storage sites at home and abroad, and a parallel development for a domestic carbon credits marketplace.
The confidence with which Japanese officials have outlined the emergence of CCS as a new sector that should be operational by 2030 owes a lot to that successful trial back in 2008. In fact, the same northern Hokkaido port has now been upgraded to an industry hub to carry the flag for CCS in Japan.
Still, even with broad global support, turning CCS into a commercially viable technology comes with a number of complications. While CCS has passed its technical tests in Japan, how it will work as a business has many guessing.