JAPAN HYDROGEN ENERGY IN 2020: The Hydrogen Society is Gradually Coming to the Fore

The International Association Cedigaz has just released its report “JAPAN HYDROGEN ENERGY IN 2020: THE HYDROGEN SOCIETY IS GRADUALLY COMING TO THE FORE”, which assesses developments and prospects for clean hydrogen in Japan. 


Japan has been a pioneer in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and has the world’s most ambitious vision. Japan’s ambition is to lead the way towards decarbonisation in the world by providing hydrogen as a new energy option. In the context of the nation’s unique energy challenges, the government wants to turn Japan into a hydrogen society to solve the issues of energy security and global warming. Japan’s Basic Hydrogen Strategy (2050 Vision) is the world’s first national strategy developed. It describes the future visions for the year 2050 and also serves as an action plan through the year 2030, coordinating public and private hydrogen initiatives. The main thrust of the strategy is to achieve the cost parity of hydrogen with competing fuels (after allowing for environmental externalities) by increasing economies of scale and overcoming technological barriers. The target cost is to make H2 affordable at $3/kgH2 by 2030 and $2/kgH2 by 2050.


Cedigaz has just released its thematic report “CLEAN HYDROGEN: Building Large-scale Supply Chains”, which  assesses progress in the development of large-scale clean hydrogen supply chains worldwide and looks at industry efforts to produce clean hydrogen.


Since 2017, governments from 18 countries have adopted national hydrogen strategies for deploying clean (low and zero carbon) hydrogen energy solutions. Leading companies around the world are proactively investing in clean hydrogen and related technologies. The transition to clean hydrogen would create a significant step-change in hydrogen production technology in terms of scale and costs, making clean hydrogen solutions more attractive not only for industry, but also in all other sectors. Clean hydrogen is an emerging market. It is a key lever for achieving deep decarbonisation, specifically in hard-to-abate sectors like transport. It can tackle various critical energy challenges, including facilitating the large-scale integration of intermittent renewables, enabling grid balancing and seasonal storage. It can also help to improve air quality and strengthen energy security. Its potential is immense and future developments depend on energy and environmental policies, cost reductions and competition with other low-carbon options.

The LNG market in June 2020 : Qatar at full speed, US in slow motion.

Global LNG import[1] decline accelerated in June. Preliminary data[2] point to an 8% drop (-2.3 Mt) compared to May and a 4.2% decline (-1.2 Mt) year-on-year. Global net imports stood at an estimated 26.3 Mt, which is equivalent to only 72% of global liquefaction capacity, a level significantly below the 5 year capacity utilization range in June for the 2015-2019 period (81-89%). This signals a growing oversupply in the first semester as capacity utilization had remained within the 5 year range until May and shows that the LNG market flexibility needed to absorb the surplus is being stretched to its limits.


The strong decline in June is due to Europe where imports nosedived in several major importing countries : France (- 1.4 Mt), Netherlands (-0.7 Mt), UK (-0.6 Mt), Belgium (-0.6 Mt) and Turkey (-0.5 Mt). Overall European imports (including Turkey) were down 40% in June compared to May (-3.5 Mt). All other regions registered modest growths. In particular imports grew by 0.8 Mt in Asia essentially thanks to Japan (+0.6 Mt) and India (+0.4 Mt) while they declined in South Korea (-0.3 Mt) and remained almost stable in China. The year-on-year picture is less dramatic with imports down by 1.5 Mt (-23%) in Europe, essentially due to France and the Netherlands and up 0.5 Mt in Asia essentially because of China (+0.7 Mt) while South Korean imports declined by 0.5 Mt.