By - Reuters
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is to revise its hydrogen strategy by the end of May with an ambitious target to boost annual supply to 12 million tonnes by 2040, the industry ministry said on Tuesday, as competition increases in the global market for the fuel.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday addressed a ministerial meeting on the need to revise the hydrogen strategy, which was first mapped out in 2017, and accelerate the development of supply chains.
Citing massive hydrogen investment by the United States and Europe, Kishida said Japan will speed up the roll out of supply chains in cooperation with Australia, the Middle East, and Asia.
The resource-poor country will also advance the development of domestic regulation and support, Kishida said.
The industry ministry aims to complete the new plans in about two months' time, including for investment of 15 trillion yen ($113 billion) over 15 years in the public and private sectors, as it aims to lead the setting of global standards for the cleaner fuel, an official at the ministry told reporters.
Japan's existing goal is to increase annual hydrogen supply to about 3 million tonnes in 2030 from 2 million tonnes now, which is mainly used by oil refiners, and to expand the figure to 20 million tonnes in 2050, according to the ministry.
Hydrogen has been touted as a clean alternative to fossil fuels and major industries, including energy, steel and chemicals, are looking at how to switch to hydrogen to reduce carbon emissions.
Its carbon footprint depends on the energy source used to produce it using electrolysis to split water.
The fuel, together with ammonia, has a major role in helping Japan to meet its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
($1 = 132.6500 yen)
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi, Miho Uranaka and Yoshifumi Takemoto; editing by Barbara Lewis)