Highlights in 2019
High impact innovation activity triggered by MI
Japan plans to continuously conduct the “Mitou” challenge 2050 program with an aim to promote industry-academia collaboration among researchers aged 40 or younger in academia to generate new ideas for reducing GHG emission by 2050.
Impact of your national clean energy innovation activity
While carrying out the formulated “Environment Innovation Strategy”, Japan will steadily reduce the GHG emission toward carbon neutrality and further strive to Beyond Zero.
Update on clean energy innovation policies and strategies
In September 2019, in the field of hydrogen and fuel cells technologies Japan formulated a “Strategy for Developing Hydrogen and Fuel-Cell Technologies”, which is a policy that stipulates specific approaches to developing technologies toward the achievement of field-based goals set in the “Strategic Roadmap for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells”. The roadmap was renewed in March 2019 in line with the hydrogen-related policy materials, namely the Basic Hydrogen Strategy, the Fifth Strategic Energy Plan, and the Tokyo Statement.
In January 2020, Japan formulated the “Environment Innovation Strategy” based on the growth strategy for establishing innovative technologies that enable the reduction of global GHG emissions toward carbon neutrality and further reduction of the accumulated atmospheric CO2 level “Beyond Zero” by 2050. The strategy consists of the “Innovation Actions Plans”, “Acceleration Plans” and “Zero-Emission Initiatives”.
Major innovation initiatives and programmes in 2019/20
On 15-16 June 2019, Japan held the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth to discuss issues on climate change and securing affordable, reliable, accessible energy [systems] for supporting global economic growth.
On 25 September 2019, the International Conference on Carbon Recycling was held in order to exchange the latest international knowledge of Carbon Recycling and find the potential in international collaboration on Carbon Recycling, with 10 MI member countries participating. At the conference, Japan established “Carbon Recycling 3C Initiative”, which is composed of: (i) promotion of mutual exchange (Caravan), (ii) establishment of R&D and demonstration base (Center of Research) and (iii) promotion of international joint research (Collaboration).
On the same day, the Second Hydrogen Energy Ministerial Meeting enriched discussions on future directions of policies for utilization of hydrogen at a global level, and released “Global Action Agenda” as action guidelines that member countries, including 15 MI members, should take involving hydrogen and fuel cells.
On 9 October, the Green Innovation Summit brought together representatives of a series of international conferences, i.e. the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Summit, Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF) on Research and Development 20 for Clean Energy Technologies (RD20) to exchange views on measures for accelerating disruptive innovations in order to realize a decarbonized society. In the Summit, Japan’s inauguration of an international joint research base for zero emission technologies, as a hub of aggregated knowledge from all over the world was announced.
Japan launched the new ambitious “Moonshot Research and Development Program”: aiming to solve various difficult issues in today’s society and to promote disruptive innovations by aggressively encouraging challenging R&D from domestic and foreign researchers and others. In February 2020, a call for research proposals designated as one of goals, “The Realization of sustainable resource circulation to recover the global environment by 2050” has announced. The total program budget is 100 billion JPY over the five-year period.
Japan launched a global collaboration program, “Research and Development Program for Promoting Innovative Clean Energy Technologies Through International Collaboration” (FY2020–FY2024), which is led by research institutes or universities between Japan and other countries mainly from G20 members in order to create new and innovative clean energy technologies that will have practical use after 2030. The total program budget is 900 million JPY per project/per year.
Private sector engagement in 2019/20
“The Carbon Recycling Fund Institute” was established in August 2019 as a private sector organization with the aim of both addressing the global warming issue and improving energy access throughout the world. The institute will foster innovation in carbon recycling and development in the field by public relations and sponsoring the research while strengthening international collaboration and coordination with national projects, contributing to new job creation and other forms of regional revitalization in partnership with local government.
Major activities in support of the Innovation Challenges in 2019/20
The IC5 roadmap workshop was held in Hiroshima in November 2019. Many experts from Japan also participated in the workshop to discuss how “the current SUNRISE technological roadmap” in the solar fuels fields can be improved to the global roadmap. The R&D activity of Japan Technological Research Association of Artificial Photosynthetic Chemical Process (ARPChem) was also introduced.
IC8 members participated in the second Hydrogen Ministerial Meeting in Japan in September 2019 to present MI IC8 activity. Japan designated the three regional locations, Fukushima, Yamanashi and Fukuoka in the Hydrogen Valleys initiatives oriented to the platform for sharing best practices about hydrogen demonstrations among the members.
National plans and priorities for clean energy innovation
The “Innovation Action Plans” is one of the elements in the Environment Innovation Strategy. The plan identifies and prioritises 39 themes and 16 important and technical challenges in the five fields – (i) energy transformation, (ii) transportation, (iii) industry, (iv) business, household, cross-sectoral and (v) agriculture, forestry and fisheries/carbon sinks – to establish innovative technologies that enable the reduction of global GHG emissions towards carbon neutral and further reduction of the accumulated atmosphere CO2 level “Beyond Zero” by 2050. This also specifies i) cost targets, estimation of GHG reduction potential, ii) contents & formation of R&D, and iii) the process from basic research to demonstration.
International Conference on Carbon Recycling
Australia, Canada, Norway, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, the ROK, UAE, USA, Morocco
The leading experts from industry, academia, and government shared global innovative efforts and the latest knowledge, discussed and identified potential for international collaboration, and consolidated networks.
Type of collaboration: research and development
Start date: 2019
Research and Development 20 for Clean Energy Technologies (RD20)
Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the ROK, the UK, the USA, the EU
International conference gathering leaders of research institutes engaged in R&D for clean energy technologies from G20 member countries in order to create disruptive innovation toward large reduction of CO2.
Type of collaboration: research and development
Start date: 2019
 Described as “Progressive Environment Innovation Strategy” in the Long-Term Strategy.