Japan seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions through use of liquid e-fuel

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry building in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

The economy ministry will promote the use of a liquid e-fuel made from carbon dioxide and hydrogen, in a bid to help Japan cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

A council will be established to boost use of the fuel, which would be made from carbon dioxide emitted from factories and other sources. There are hopes it will become a decarbonized alternative to fossil fuels such as gasoline for powering vehicles, aircraft, ships and other means of transport.

The council will comprise members from the public and private sectors, and could hold its first meeting as soon as Friday. Participants will come from the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, the Petroleum Association of Japan, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association and other industry groups.

It will consider a schedule for bringing the e-fuel into practical use and examine such issues as how to assess the fuel’s effectiveness in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Producing one liter of e-fuel is currently estimated to cost between about ¥300 and ¥700, making it highly likely to be far more expensive than gasoline and other fuels.

The council will estimate expected demand for e-fuel in the years ahead, and help companies understand how much investment would be required to develop and adopt the fuel.

The government aims to achieve carbon neutrality — net zero emissions of greenhouse gases — by 2050.

The economy ministry and other entities will move forward with steps to encourage the early practical use of e-fuel and other energy sources, and accelerate efforts to realize a decarbonized society.