With our corporate philosophy of contributing to the development of science and technology and the preservation of the global environment, we are constantly in pursuit of "HONMAMON" technology.
With the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, the world is quickly moving towards a society, free of carbon and decarbonized by the year 2050.
The establishment of a decarbonized and sustainable energy system is a common global challenge. As a global company, HORIBA, with its comprehensive global footprint, keeps abreast of ever-changing policy, technological, and economic trends in each country and region. Here are a few topics summarizing the latest trends from HORIBA's perspective.
(Please note that the content below is edited based on information released by public organizations, but includes our own interpretations, views, and findings.)
Table of Contents
The "CO2 Capture and Recovery Technology Development Project" under the Green Innovation (GI) Fund Project launched by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), in cooperation with the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE), plans to promote international recognition with a view to international standardization and to establish and operate an actual gas test center. In addition, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has entered into a development study to accelerate the introduction of separation and recovery facilities, against a background of uncertainty regarding global policy on CCUS and the achievement of the NZE scenario for the year 2030. In particular, more detailed studies are needed on the market size related to low pressure, low concentration, and small and medium sized emission sources. (April 2023)
This was the first exhibition after COVID, we were thrilled to see the overwhelming response from visitors. The footfall was so high that at times it was challenging to move through the aisles. We were pleasantly surprised to see a large number of visitors from overseas, surpassing our expectations. According to our own tally, there were more exhibitors from overseas companies than Japanese companies in each zone, and both visitors and exhibitors showed a marked increase in interest in advanced technologies and expectations of the Japanese market from overseas in the energy field.
HORIBA has made significant investments in critical energy regions, ensuring that they remain at the forefront of energy policy and technology trends. We have collaborated on several projects and partnerships with government agencies, academic institutions, and leading companies globally. At the FC EXPO, we set up an exhibit booth with a vast panel that introduced their various global initiatives. The booth received a lot of attention from visitors, and many showed a keen interest in it.
On March 20, 2023, the IPCC on Climate Change issued its Sixth Synthesis Report. The report makes the case that humanity's contribution to climate change is clear and that our options for a sustainable future are rapidly narrowing. It also emphasizes that global warming is progressing, that the composition of advanced developed countries and damaging developing countries is important, that adaptation options are more limited as warming increases, and that current efforts lag behind the required level. In addition, a summary for policy makers has been issued, calling for swift action in areas such as governance, policy, and finance.
The "Global Energy Transition Outlook 2023" published by IRENA includes, against this backdrop, topics such as shifting the focus from supply to demand, overcoming obstacles that hinder progress, and quadrupling investment in renewable energy systems. The Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Japan Meteorological Agency, and the National Institute for Environmental Studies have begun to provide commentary using a variety of media, and preparations are underway for COP28 at the end of the year. (March 2023)
Reference link: IPCC "SYNTHESIS REPORT OF THE IPCC SIXTH ASSESSMENT REPORT (AR6)"
Recognizing that the U.S. Inflation Control Act, which took effect in August 2022, and government subsidy programs in the U.S. and China pose a threat to fair competition in the EU, the Green Deal Industrial Plan was proposed in February to provide equivalent support within the EU. As part of this plan, the European Commission announced on March 16 a draft Net Zero Industry Regulation to support the expansion of production capacity in the EU for technologies that contribute to achieving net zero GHG emissions (net zero technologies). The proposed regulation sets a goal of striving to achieve 40% of the required net zero GHG emissions in the EU by 2030, through a simplified regulatory framework for production sites and an improved investment climate, with an emphasis on solar and thermal power, wind power, battery and energy storage technologies, heat pumps and geothermal power, electrolyzers for hydrogen production and Fuel cells, sustainable biogas and biomethane, CO₂ capture and storage (CCS), and grid technologies, with an emphasis on net-zero technologies. The draft regulation is scheduled to be discussed by the Council of the EU and the European Parliament at the end of March, but the impression is that it lacks speed as a countermeasure to the Inflation Control Act because of the time it takes to establish rules within the EU. (March 2023)
In the Circular Economy (CE), which has been the focus of much attention in recent years, Japan needs to link the arterial and venous industries to create a value chain. The government is also rushing to build a resource circulation market, saying that it is aiming for new growth through CE. Particularly helpful is the recently released "Anatomy of Arterial and Vein Logistics," which illustrates in detail the value chain for materials such as iron, aluminum, and plastic, as well as automobiles, batteries, solar panels, home appliances, clothing and textiles, and PET bottles, and explores the bottlenecks. For example, in the case of batteries, it is pointed out that many of the raw materials are dependent on imports, and there are challenges in ensuring their steady supply domestically. Additionally, certain elements in batteries are complex to recover, making it difficult to ascertain the actual situation. (March 2023)
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, enacted last August, is the Biden administration's key tax policy and is expected to reduce the budget deficit by more than $300 billion over the next 10 years through healthcare, clean energy, and employment measures.
In Japan, the automotive industry is focusing on this legislation, including subsidies (tax credits) for EVs that are final assembled in North America. On the other hand, on the global front, attention is focused on inducing investment in the U.S. to realize a hydrogen economy. The U.S. has high potential for solar and wind power generation, and is capable of "producing," "storing and transporting," and "using" hydrogen, including the spread of fuel cell vehicles, all within its own borders. In addition, the expectation for hydrogen exports makes it a worthwhile investment from the perspective of Germany and Japan, which do not have their own hydrogen economies. (January 2023)
The Cabinet Secretariat's "GX Implementation Conference" has been discussing the matter since July 2022, and its fifth conference on December 22 presented its basic policy for the coming decade. The Prime Minister emphasized the potential of GX to transform the economy and society, stating that progress in technology and efforts made by each country would affect the situation. He pointed out the U.S.'s substantial investment support program for energy and the EU's recent agreement on border adjustment measures for carbon pricing. To achieve over 150 trillion yen of GX investment in the public and private sectors over the next 10 years, Japan plans to make an upfront investment of 20 trillion yen. The Prime Minister also emphasized the need to build up public and regional confidence to accelerate policies to address the current energy crisis. Specifically, he mentioned the importance of carbon pricing, stable energy supply, and investment promotion measures. He also highlighted the review of nuclear energy policy, with a focus on restarting nuclear reactors and developing innovative next-generation reactors, as well as the development of submarine direct current transmission networks. (December 2022)
COP27 has been held from November 6-18, 2022, with Egypt presiding. According to preliminary information compiled by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan, the focus is expected to be on international cooperation, especially support for developing countries by developed countries. The following is a list of three main pieces of information from the United Nations (UN) and other sources at this timepoint. (Nov. 2022)
[UN Secretary-General Guterres' opening speech]
Called for a historic agreement that combines capabilities in developed and developing countries to redirect the world toward reducing carbon emissions, transforming energy systems, and averting a climate catastrophe. Key messages included "We are on the highway to climate hell," "The two largest economies, the United States and China, have a particular responsibility to join efforts to make this Pact a reality," " The war in Ukraine, other conflicts, have caused so much bloodshed and violence and have had dramatic impacts all over the world. But we cannot accept that our attention is not focused on climate change," and "I am asking that all governments tax the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies".
Reference link: ”Secretary-General's remarks to High-Level opening of COP27 ”
[Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda]
Egypt, as the chairing country, presented an action plan to support the 4 billion people living in areas most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The plan includes concrete measures to be implemented by 2030 for the five systems of resilient food and agriculture systems , water and natural systems, human settlement systems, coastal and oceans systems, and infrastructure systems, including the cultivation of crops that can withstand high temperatures and the introduction of early warning systems to warn of flooding and landslide disasters.
Reference link："Sharm-El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda"
[New participation to Global Offshore Wind Alliance (GOWA)]
COP27 has seen nine new countries including Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK, the US join the Global Offshore Wind Alliance (GOWA), pledging to a rapid ramp up of offshore wind in order to tackle the climate and energy security crises.
The alliance, which is bringing together governments, the private sector, international organizations and other stakeholders to accelerate the deployment of offshore wind power, was launched in September by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Government of Denmark, and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
At COP26, a joint statement was announced that all new cars sold in major markets will be electric vehicles (EVs) and other zero-emission vehicles by 2035 and by 2040 globally, but it was revealed that countries and automakers are not aligned on this goal.
The statement was signed by 28 countries, including the United Kingdom, Sweden and other Nordic countries, Canada, Chile, and the Netherlands, as well as 44 cities and states in 10 emerging countries, including India. In addition, 11 automakers, including Mercedes-Benz of Germany, GM and Ford of the United States, and BYD of China, have signed the statement. In addition, investors and financial institutions with large holdings in automakers will be added to the list. On the other hand, Japan, the U.S., China, Germany, France and some automakers have not signed the agreement. This shows the different levels of brand-specific strategies toward carbon neutrality. (December 2021)
In order to rapidly reduce global GHG emissions, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) have simultaneously issued a report urging strong international cooperation.
This is due to the slow progress of the roadmap toward carbon neutrality (CN) caused by global political instability, and as a milestone toward reaffirming the agreement reached at COP26 and COP27 to be held in November 2022. The report warns that "stagnation in international cooperation will delay the realization of CN by decades," and it calls for behavioral changes in five sectors (electricity, hydrogen, road transport, steel, and agriculture), technological development, and modal shifts such as Mobility as a Service (MaaS) to attract investment and achieve market expansion at the earliest possible time. In Japan, the Ministerial Conference on Hydrogen will be held on September 26, and HORIBA expects the coming year to be marked not only by hydrogen production, but also by green power generation (semiconductors), electrification of mobility, hydrogen-reduced steelmaking, and soil/water conservation, according to statements from various countries. (September 2022)
In the midst of drastic changes in the internal and external environment surrounding hydrogen safety, such as climate change, progress in hydrogen utilization technologies, diversification/complexity of business categories, and safety requirements, a panel was established to look at the overall strategy and the entire supply chain with the aim of accelerating the implementation of hydrogen in society.
Discussion points include: ensuring the safety of consumers, local residents, etc., seamless response throughout the supply chain to promote smooth use of hydrogen, and actions according to the physical characteristics of hydrogen and technological progress/risks. The first meeting (feasibility hearings and compilation of past efforts) will be held on August 5, and the report will be compiled and published in February 2023. Prior to that, in July 2022, the NEDO-sponsored "Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Outcome Reporting Meeting 2022" was held on a large scale over three days. There, as well, nearly half of the time was spent on active discussions related to hydrogen stations, regional hydrogen utilization models, power-to-gas, hydrogen supply chains, hydrogen power generation, and other topics, with discussions going beyond the framework of technological development and starting to move toward social implementation. (August 2022)
Reference link: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan "1st Study Group on Formulation of Hydrogen Safety Strategy" (Japanese only)
A report titled "Ukraine-Russia Report (Impact on Energy Resources, Mineral Resources and Rare Gases, and Digital and Space Sectors)" has been issued by NEDO. The report summarizes critical issues in the short-, medium-, and long-term, including resource price hikes, supply chain impacts, and technological development, and also mentions the impact on the DX/space/food sectors.
In terms of energy issues, the report describes Japan's energy-saving technologies, such as heat pumps, as a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity, whereas in Europe, where the concept of energy efficiency and conservation has not been widely accepted in the short term. In the medium to long term, it is also important to realize carbon neutrality in consideration of energy security. With regard to mineral issues, the report states that it is necessary to promote the use of recycling technologies such as storage batteries, develop alternative resources, improve resilience in procuring resources, and engage in strategic international cooperation. Additionally, it mentions the importance of the DX sector, such as cyber security and the successful use of virtual currency. The report also summarizes the impact on the space sector, such as the impact on advanced control of the International Space Station (ISS), of which Russia is responsible, and on the food sector, such as soaring prices of sunflower oil, barley, and wheat, of which Russia and Ukraine together hold more than 50% of the world production share. (July 2022)
Reference link: NEDO "Ukraine-Russia Report" (Japanese only)
Following in the footsteps of Europe's Battery Passport (a system developed to record information on materials used in storage batteries, supply chain, carbon footprint, performance, etc.), Japan has begun full-scale efforts toward a circular economy that aims to maximize resource and product value, minimize resource consumption, and reduce waste generation, with storage batteries as a leading example. On the other hand, in addition to understanding the actual distribution situation for reuse and recycling, strengthening the ability to collect used batteries, revitalizing the reused battery market, and building a recycling infrastructure, the establishment of cross-industry data linkage and traceability (DX) was identified as an issue, and the entire supply chain, from design and production to sales, maintenance, and service, must be highly coordinated at the equipment, product, and component level, including the "identification of necessary data," "identification of system requirements," and "coordination with overseas entities," in order to increase efficiency and add value. (July 2022)
Reference links: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan "Study Group on Sustainability of Storage Batteries, Draft Interim Report," "Data Linkage" (Japanese only)