July 26, 2021
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has revised the Roadmap for Carbon Recycling Technologies, a document that aims to accelerate innovation by showing the path for expanding and disseminating Carbon Recycling (technologies whereby CO2 is used as a fuel or raw material.)
1．Roadmap for Carbon Recycling Technologies
Carbon Recycling refers to technologies that suppress CO2 emissions into the atmosphere by regarding CO2 as a resource, separating and collecting it, and reusing it for making various products such as concrete, chemicals and fuels.
The Roadmap for Carbon Recycling Technologies was formulated in June 2019 for the purpose of specifying goals, technological challenges, and timeframes (what directions to aim for in each phase) regarding these technologies and accelerating innovation by having these goals, etc. shared widely among government officials, private companies, investors, researchers, and other related parties in and outside Japan. It was formulated mainly by academic experts and engineers in the respective technology
fields, with cooperation from the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and the Ministry of the Environment.
2． Background to the revision
There has been significant progress in a wide range of areas since the roadmap was established. Examples include accelerating R&D and commercialization of Carbon Recycling technologies both in Japan and abroad, and progressive international cooperation with the United States and other countries.
In addition, December 2020 saw both the formulation of the “Green Growth Strategy through Achieving Carbon Neutrality in 2050” and the establishment of the Green Innovation Fund. Against this background, Carbon Recycling is now viewed as a key technology for achieving carbon neutrality.
The roadmap has been revised to reflect these developments and further accelerate efforts toward Carbon Recycling.
3． Key points in the revision
(1) Adding new technological areas (DAC, synthetic fuels) where progress has been made
In light of the progressive, accelerating trend of development being seen, new information has been added to the roadmap regarding DAC (Direct Air Capture; a technology whereby CO2 is captured directly from the atmosphere) and synthetic fuels (carbon-free decarbonized fuels produced by the synthesis of CO2 and hydrogen).
(2) Bringing forward the beginning of widespread adoption of (general purpose) Carbon Recycling products to around 2040
In the original version, the following timeframes had been set regarding the widespread adoption of products: (1) around 2030 for early widespread adoption (products that do not require hydrogen and products that have high added value); and (2) around 2050 for widespread adoption in the medium to long term (general purpose products).
In the revised version, (2) above has been brought forward to around 2040 in light of the progressive, accelerating trend of development. With regard to (1) above, efforts will continue to aim for achievement by around 2030.
(3) Adding efforts regarding international cooperation
In light of the progress being seen in terms of international cooperation, details about the efforts concerned have been added. (Examples include holding an industry-academia-government international conference on Carbon Recycling, signing a memorandum of cooperation with the United States, Australia, and the UAE, and signing a Japan-U.S. climate partnership.)
5. Related links
Division in Charge
Carbon Recycling Promotion Office, ANRE