Japan’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy is aiming by 2040 to commercialize synthetic fuel produced from the synthesis of CO2 and hydrogen. Plans are to carry out demonstration testing for this over the coming 10 years, then promote increased adoption of this and reduce associated costs through the 2030s.
Able to be produced through utilization of factory- and power plant-emitted CO2, synthetic fuel is considered to be a carbon neutral resource. A typical production method for this is a synthetic reaction between hydrogen and CO2 – though going forward, ground is also expected to be made on research into new production methods, such as CO2 electrolysis. Synthetic fuel has a broad range of applications, ranging from fuel for commercial vehicles like trucks to jet and marine fuel, and even as a consumer-purposed fuel alternative in place of kerosene.
According to estimates from a synthetic fuel study group under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the minimum cost of synthetic fuel using current technology is approximately 300 yen ($2.78) per liter. Fuel production itself is only a minor factor in this total, with the production process costing 33 yen per liter; instead, the bulk of this cost comes from the materials needed to make the fuel, with hydrogen coming in at 209 yen per liter and CO2 at 32 yen per liter. This means that the key to cost reduction lies in reducing hydrogen prices, as well as in reducing the cost of separating and recovering CO2.
Under its Green Growth Strategy, METI has set a target to get synthetic fuel prices below gasoline prices by 2050. Even with technology currently on hand, getting hydrogen prices down to the government’s 2050 target of 20 yen per normal cubic meter would make it possible to provide synthetic fuel at around 200 yen per liter.
|Synthetic Fuel Costs (current estimated value)|
|634 yen/L||＋||32 yen/L||＋||33 yen/L||＝||Approx. 700 yen/L||Cases of domestic synthetic fuel production utilizing domestic hydrogen|
|301 yen/L||＋||32 yen/L||＋||33 yen/L||＝||Approx. 350 yen/L||Cases of domestic synthetic fuel production utilizing imported hydrogen|
|209 yen/L||＋||32 yen/L||＋||33 yen/L||＝||Approx. 300 yen/L||Cases of synthetic fuel production outside Japan|
|127 yen/L||＋||32 yen/L||＋||33 yen/L||＝||Approx. 200 yen/L||Cases in which hydrogen price becomes 20 yen per Nm³|