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06/15/2019

G20: More than just a summit

Japan’s global contributions on TCFD, hydrogen, carbon recycling

Carbon recycling cooperation

Question: The ministry also proposed a new concept of “carbon recycling,” which seeks to prompt technological innovations including the capture and storage of carbon dioxide (CO2). Could you tell us some of your ideas on how to promote relevant international efforts to realize this?

Seko: Currently, a conventional method for reducing CO2 emissions is to try to restrain their sources. However, reducing CO2 emissions using only such a method appears difficult, as more and more developing economies are expected to increase demand for energy.

On this matter, creating breakthrough innovation is essential and would require a perspective to capture, store and utilize CO2. It is crucial to view CO2 as a source of carbon, rather than thinking how to restrain this unwelcome nuisance material, as it has been conventionally seen in the past. Changing our mindset, we are creating a road map focusing on the importance of carbon recycling technology.

Question: Could you tell us about some of the possible technologies?

Seko: There are various types of technologies. One example is a catalysis technology to create raw plastic materials with solar energy using CO2 and hydrogen as raw materials, and another is a technology to transform CO2 supplied type algae into biofuel.

We’d like to show how much potential such technologies and relevant products among possible ideas have in terms of utilizing CO2, as well as a rough schedule for relevant research and development.

Many are still at the feasibility study stage, and we hope to present the potential of emissions and cost reduction shortly. It would be ideal to present the road map at the G20 ministerial meeting on energy transitions and global environment for sustainable growth and share it with other countries.

Taking the first step, Japan seeks to lead an initiative in this field as well. To this end, we will organize the International Conference on Carbon Recycling on Sept. 25 in Tokyo.

At this event, I hope to further discuss the challenges to promote innovation through sharing the latest knowledge and deliberating on the potential for international collaboration in this area with participants from industry, academia and government.

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