Kawasaki Heavy Industries' Hydrogen Road: Japan's first large-scale zero-carbon energy import project

April 03, 2020 | Case Study

Japan's focus on a hydrogen society began in 1925, when industrialist Sakichi Toyoda offered a 1 million yen prize for a battery that could compete directly against a gasoline engine. The motivation was to prevent Japan from becoming dependent on energy-exporting countries. Despite nearly a century of technological progress, little has changed for Japan's energy geopolitics. After the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster cut Japan's confidence in domestic nuclear power, and domestic wind and solar were found to be ill-suited to the task of powering the country's large economy, the Japanese government launched the Strategic Energy Plan in 2014 that established a roadmap to a zero-carbon economy built on imported hydrogen and leveraging the national expertise around fuel cells built up since the 1990s.