Paris Agreement - Expectations for renewable energy
The Paris agreement is an international accord that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent global warming. The goals of this agreement are to keep the average temperature rise of the earth lower than 2℃ from before the industrial revolution, to keep it within 1.5℃ and make global greenhouse gas emission practically zero in the second half of the 21st century. As for Japan’s role, it has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Under this policy, shifting electric power generation from fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum and natural gas to renewable energy sources is required.
Hydrogen energy supports renewable energy
However, electric power production via renewable energy is unreliable; there are challenges to producing enough energy for all the times that it is needed. When the use of solar and wind power generation whose output can fluctuate greatly due to weather, increases, it will be necessary to store surplus electric power for times when the weather prevents sufficient power generation.
Currently, the shortfall is covered by fossil fuel-based thermal power generation, but hydrogen is attracting attention as an energy source, as a replacement for fossil fuel. Hydrogen, when used as a fuel, generates no CO2. From the viewpoint of reducing the environmental burden, hydrogen is an ideal fuel, but it is not been clear how hydrogen fuel will be developed, that is, how it will be produced, stored and transported. Currently, various institutions and companies are developing higher-efficiency, safer production, and storage and transport technology. These technologies to make it safe for energy production are advancing.
Chiyoda's role in building
a hydrogen supply chain
Chiyoda, which commenced R&D into a high performance dehydrating catalyst in 2002, successfully developed one capable of obtaining hydrogen from methylcyclohexane (MCH) in 2011, which can be used for commercial purposes. As a result, it became possible to transport a large amount of hydrogen safely and easily, one of the main challenges in utilizing hydrogen. With these transport and dehydrogenation breakthroughs, Chiyoda has enabled the building of a hydrogen supply chain.
Masashi Nagai, General Manager, Hydrogen Supply Chain Development Department, explains,
“By causing a chemical reaction between toluene and hydrogen, methylcyclohexane (MCH) is formed, and this liquid reduces the hydrogen to about 1/500th the volume of gaseous hydrogen. This makes it possible to transport large volumes of hydrogen at ambient temperature and normal pressure. We call this MCH “SPERA Hydrogen”. Spera is a Latin word meaning to hope.
Nagai continues, “The hydrogen supply chain projects we are first aiming to build start from fossil fuel, and with the use of SPERA Hydrogen”, improve the hydrogen supply infrastructure. In future projects, hydrogen produced from large renewable energy facilities in Russia, Australia, New Zealand and other countries will be converted into SPERA Hydrogen and transported to where it is needed. The hydrogen will then be efficiently separated (dehydrogenated) from the MCH and transported to such sites as power plants, hydrogen stations, and cogeneration facilities. In this way, I believe that the use of hydrogen derived from renewable energy can substantially contribute preventing global warming. ”
The first steps
toward realization of a zero emissions society
Chiyoda is taking the first steps in the realization of a zero emissions society, steadily developing the infrastructure to realize hydrogen-based society by planning to bring on line a supply chain, the transport of hydrogen using SPERA Hydrogen from overseas to Japan, in 2020. This should give hope to people around the world who dream of a sustainable, zero emissions future.