By Shigeru Sato
Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) — Japan’s energy policy makers are poised to promote development of cleaner-burning coal and new- generation solar and nuclear power plant technology as they hasten efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
“Pursuing far-advanced technology is the core of Japan’s energy policy,” Harufumi Mochizuki, head of the agency of natural resources and energy, said today. “We must specify what technology we need for our future energy supply and to cut carbon dioxide emissions.”
Mochizuki’s agency was part of a trade ministry advisory panel meeting in Tokyo today that focused on technology Japan needs to develop a carbon emission-free coal-fired power plant. Policy makers discussed a system to trap carbon for storage underground, a floating offshore wind power farm, and newer reactors to replace aging nuclear power plants, according to documents distributed at the summit.
The trade ministry’s advisory panel revises its 30-year outlook for the country’s energy supply and demand every three years, and published its last report in 2005. Japan proposed at the Group of Eight’s summit in the northern German town of Heiligendamm this year that global emissions be halved by 2050, while seeking measures to achieve 2012 targets set under the Kyoto Protocol.
The government plans by 2025 to introduce an energy system that will produce gas from coal, then extract hydrogen from the gas and use a fuel cell to generate electricity from the hydrogen, today’s document shows. It has built a pilot plant on the southwestern island of Kyushu for testing that is due to be completed by 2009.
NEC Corp. Chairman Hajime Sasaki said Japan’s energy policy should target developing a hydrogen-fuel cell that can be used for home electronics and cars. Sasaki is a member of the panel.
Advanced, cleaner coal-fired power generation technology can be promoted in other Asian countries and later globally, the document from the meeting suggests.
Asia’s coal demand will grow at an annual pace of 3.9 percent to 4.61 billion metric tons in 2020, according to a forecast from the Japan Institute of Energy Economic. China will account for 65 percent of those gains, and India 22 percent.
By 2030, Japan aims to develop safe and economical light- water reactors that can replace the nation’s aging nuclear power plants, today’s document shows, calling for next-generation reactors that match global standards.
“Japanese demand for newly designed reactors will increase by some time around 2030, as utilities are expected to replace several of their aging reactors, many of which were built in 1970s and 1980s,” the panel said in the document.
Japan’s nuclear plan, prepared last year by the trade ministry, contains recommendations that allow the country to develop technologies, such as spent atomic fuel recycling, the acquisition of overseas uranium supply, a commercial fast- breeder reactor, and the provision of technical assistance to other countries building atomic power plants.
Fast-breeder reactors are designed to generate more fuel than they consume.
The panel is next due to meet in November.