MOSCOW, October 13 (RIA Novosti) - The Japanese government is set to bolster the use of hydrogen in an attempt to contribute to a "hydrogen society", The Times of Japan reported.
"Hydrogen, which can achieve high energy efficiency, low environmental burden and capability for emergency use, provided appropriate usage, is expected to play a central role as a secondary energy source," the newspaper quoted a Japanese governmental policy report as stating Sunday.
Energy-saving, the environment, energy security and industrial competitiveness are the four main goals behind Japan's plans to create a society that would depend on hydrogen rather than nuclear power, Eiji Ohira, director of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technology Group at the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (Nedo), told the newspaper.
Automobile manufacturers, according to the newspaper, will also contribute to the efforts by commencing next year the first sales of fuel-cell vehicles run by hydrogen.
Hydrogen is reported not to emit carbon dioxide when it is being burned, leading energy to be clean, while at the same time decreasing greenhouse gases. However, since it can hardly be found as a natural resource, it will first need to be extracted from other elements and molecules, acting as one of the challenges standing in Japan’s way of creating a “hydrogen society”. Japan currently receives hydrogen from fossil fuels, including naphtha, natural gas and coal, the newspaper said.
Other challenges include the construction of hydrogen stations, securing sufficient amount of the gas and its production without emissions of carbon dioxide. To build one hydrogen station, Japan will need from ¥400 million to ¥500 million ($3.8 million to $4.6 million), according to the Times of Japan.
Japan opted to promote renewable energy following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in 2011. The plant was hit by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and a subsequent tsunami. The disaster caused a partial meltdown of the three of the plant's nuclear reactors, with the radiation from the plant leaking into the atmosphere, soil and sea. The incident is considered to be the world's worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.