A hydrogen-powered society is around the corner



Hydrogen energy has a head start thanks to the existing infrastructure and expertise in petroleum

The day will soon come when most of the service stations operated by ENEOS, Japan’s largest energy company, will offer carbon-free fuel to automobiles throughout Japan, according to Seiji Maeda, who leads ENEOS’s carbon-free hydrogen initiatives. “There’s a preconception that a society powered by hydrogen lies in the distant future,” he says. “But the infrastructure and know-how for oil that we have accumulated over the years is helping us get there.”

ENEOS began operating hydrogen stations in 2014, the year when the Japanese government stated its commitment to accelerate moves towards a hydrogen-powered society. As of early 2021, ENEOS operates 44 hydrogen stations, the largest network in Japan. With a technology a decade in the making nearing completion, ENEOS is working to bring a society based on carbon-free hydrogen closer to reality.

Hydrogen without carbon

There are two main ways to produce hydrogen gas without releasing carbon. One is to reform fossil fuels such as brown coal and natural gas and eliminate carbon dioxide emissions with carbon capture and storage technology. Another is to electrolyze water using electricity generated from renewable energy — now a point of focus for ENEOS.

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