Japan's Hydrogen-Fueled Future

Source: DNV GL. The Jidai concept produces hydrogen from seawater using floating offshore wind turbines and processing platforms.

Published Aug 13, 2015 5:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

Harnessing offshore resources to produce clean energy has become a primary goal around the world. Japan has been particularly interested following its 2011 nuclear plant disaster in Fukushima. The Japanese have since then sought to reduce their reliance on nuclear energy and become a hydrogen-fueled nation.

This summer a group of international students arrived in Oslo to help formulate plans for offshore production, storage and transport of renewable hydrogen. The solution is named Jidai and it was presented to Japan’s ambassador to Norway, Toshio Kunikata, and DNV GL President and CEO Remi Eriksen.

Jidai is the Japanese word for “new era.” The Jidai concept uses floating offshore wind turbines to harvest hydrogen from purified seawater using a process of electrolysis. The extracted hydrogen is compressed and stored and transported to shore by tanker. The study estimate the technology could become cost-effective by 2030.

Additonally, Jidai could the dependency on fossil fuel imports and reduced CO2 emissions in Japan. The concept would also address discontinuity problems on solar and wind power as well. Instead of integrating the energy into power grids, hydrogen stores energy as it is transported.

“The world is facing an energy shift,” Eriksen said following the presentation. “The global energy demand will rise by more than 50% by 2050. We need energy to be greener, more reliable and affordable. To achieve that, we need to change the way we generate, transmit, distribute and use energy.”