Japan to Assess Carbon Capture Schemes Once Again
The Renewable Energy Institute, a Tokyo-based think tank, recently published a study claiming that Japan's 2050 energy targets rely too much on problematic Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry stated that by 2050, Japan would implement a mixed-power production system in which renewable energy will be limited to roughly 50–60 per cent, much below the 90 per cent proposed by the International Energy Agency.
Through the extensive adoption of CCS, Japan intends to achieve its carbon-neutral goals.
CCS refers to the subterranean storage of carbon to prevent it from ascending into the atmosphere and exacerbating the climate catastrophe. CCS proponents feel that this technology will be critical in reaching climate commitments.
The Renewable Energy Institute, for its part, claims that the Japanese government's plans are much reliant on carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a means of preserving thermal power stations, claiming that it is wasteful and ultimately impractical.
Indeed, CCS is losing some of its previous international acclaim. Due to the relatively high economic and environmental costs of installation, there are currently just a few CCS projects in operation. 28 of the 31 CCS projects now in operation across the world store carbon in underground reservoirs on land.
However, as stated in the report by the Renewable Energy Institute, suitable onshore places in Japan capable of storing huge amounts of carbon have yet to be located.
As a result, Japan's government is looking into the idea of storing carbon offshore, or beneath the seabed.
The Renewable Energy Institute points out that, in comparison to a land-storage system, any attempt to adopt such a strategy would be extraordinarily costly, partly due to a lack of previous research. In addition, the technology needed to transport carbon to offshore storage sites on a large scale has yet to be established.
Another option being considered by the Japanese government is to export carbon to offshore processing and storage facilities in Southeast Asia, which could result in worldwide repercussions. This is referred to as a "double vulnerability" by the Renewable Energy Institute.
Most countries, according to the research, are simply phasing out thermal power facilities. Earthquakes are a particular threat to CCS storage projects in Japan.
Temblors, according to US Department of Energy research, might cause carbon reserves to leak, causing environmental damage to soil, groundwater, and surface water. Carbon leakage into the atmosphere, of course, would negate the technology's claimed environmental benefits.
According to the study, Japan's present energy policy does not include any preparations to investigate and address this potential hazard.
Furthermore, investigations conducted by Stanford University and the US National Research Council have indicated that CCS can cause earthquakes.
The Renewable Energy Institute is concerned that the Japanese government's plans for combating the threat of carbon emissions fall well short of the rising global standard, posing avoidable risks.