Tokyo ‘Beyond-Zero’ Week seeks to decarbonize world
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry held Tokyo “Beyond-Zero” Week 2021 from Oct. 4 to 8. The event combined eight separate international energy and environmental conferences into one event, addressing ways to achieve carbon neutrality worldwide and ensuring the adoption of innovative technologies that can help enable the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions on a stock basis, or “beyond zero.” About 17,000 people registered online for the conferences.
At the TBZW conferences, Cabinet ministers from various countries, experts and leaders in various fields discussed wide-ranging topics, including specific issues that should be addressed to achieve the goal of beyond zero and the ways available to get there. They also discussed priority areas that Japan is making efforts in ahead of the rest of the world, including hydrogen and ammonia fuels and carbon recycling, as well as themes that transcend the boundaries of science, including green growth, finance and innovation. TBZW is aimed at contributing to achieving carbon neutrality for the world as a whole by serving as a platform for stimulating international discussions and cooperation, and sharing Japan’s technological know-how with other countries.
This article focuses on the International Conference on Fuel Ammonia,and Research and Development 20 for Clean Energy Technologies, or RD20, two of the eight conferences held as part of TBZW.
Ammonia as a zero-emission fuel
As climate change looms large as an urgent issue for humanity, ammonia is attracting fresh interest as a zero-emission fuel that does not give off carbon dioxide when burned.
This type of fuel has been given high priority in Japan’s strategy for carbon neutrality. METI has decided to spend about ¥70 billion on developing technologies that will enable the stable supply of ammonia power. The goal is to perfect such a technology by 2030 and to begin operating ammonia power plants by the 2040s.
Using ammonia as a fuel requires ensuring it can be stably supplied. An urgent task is to establish an international supply chain for fuel ammonia and bolster it on both the demand and supply sides.
This was what led METI to decide to hold the International Conference on Fuel Ammonia for the first time as part of TBZW. The conference featured speeches by speakers from Japan and seven other countries, and a launch event of the International Energy Agency’s first analytic report on ammonia power, “The Role of Low-Carbon Fuels in Clean Energy Transitions of the Power Sector.” In an effort to run a concrete project, a memorandum of cooperation on a project to introduce ammonia co-firing in Malaysia’s power plants was signed between Japanese and Malaysian companies.
A key achievement of this year’s conference was that the participants came to the understanding that it is important for countries producing fuel ammonia and those consuming it to work together to build a structure for production, supply and transfer technologies. Another important piece of the puzzle is a consensus to adopt a joint strategic initiative between public- and private-sector entities aimed at creating value chains that can produce stable, low-cost supplies of fuel ammonia.
METI aims to drive efforts to achieve a realistic energy transition and decarbonization process for the entire world by introducing measures to support wider use of ammonia.