Japan is a leading country in CCS RD&D with an over-25-year experience. Building on expertise compiled through the RD&D activities, Japan launched an integrated CCS demonstration project in Tomakomai, Hokkaido in 2012 and started its operation in 2016. Information on different aspects of Japan’s CCS commitment can be found below:

Japan’s R&D Program in CCS  

R&D activities on CCS, which included various storage options (i.e. ocean storage, Enhanced Coal Bed Methane [ECBM], and geological storage), started in late 1980s.

From July 2003 to January 2005, 10,400 tonnes of CO2 were injected into saline aquifer 1,100 meters below the ground surface of Iwanohara, Nagaoka site, Niigata under the initiative of the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE) . RITE still continues various monitoring to grasp CO2 behavior underground and confirms CO2 has been safely stored. The Nagaoka project is one of a few projects that keep monitoring CO2 behavior in a post-injection period in the world. The results of the post-injection monitoring indicate that the site has experienced the four trapping mechanisms: structural and stratigraphic trapping, residual trapping, solubility trapping and mineral trapping. For this reason, its monitoring results have drawn great attention from across the world.

After the successful geological storage test in Nagaoka and a preliminary evaluation of storage potential base on existing geological data in Japan, the priority of R&D has been put the focus on "sub-seabed" geological storage. Current R&D activities also include various capture options (absorption, adsorption, membranes, and oxyfuel combustion), CO2 monitoring techniques, long-term computational simulations of CO2 plume in a reservoir, and the potential impacts of CO2 leakage on the marine environment.

In August 2009, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) compiled a guideline, "For safe operation of a CCS demonstration project". This guideline is a standard to be followed from the safety and environment viewpoints in implementing a large-scale CCS demonstration project.

In April 2012, METI initiated a full-chain CCS demonstration project in Tomakomai, Hokkaido. They commissioned its delivery to Japan CCS Co., Ltd. (JCCS), which was established in May 2008 for implementing CCS demonstration in Japan. In April 2016, right after the completion of construction and test operation, JCCS started CO2 capture and injection at an annual rate of more than 100,000 tonnes, which will last for three years.

For future CCS deployment in Japan, METI, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment, started a project in 2014 to identify at least three potential offshore storage sites through seismic and drilling exploration by 2021.

CCS Activities   

Operational Demonstration and Pilot Projects   

  • The Integrated CCS Demonstration Project in Japan – This project is being conducted by JCCS in Tomakomai, Hokkaido, funded by METI. CO2 injection started at a rate of more than 100,000 tonnes per year in April 2016 and will last for three years to be followed by post-injection monitoring. The CO2 is captured at an existing hydrogen production unit in an oil refinery. The injection is made through two directional wells, each of which has the wellhead onshore and the bottom hole under the seabed to store the CO2 in two different-type saline aquifers under the seabed. With the initiation of injection, the project became the world first project where CO2 is injected under the seabed in compliance with the London Protocol 1996.

Current CCS Pilot-scale Activities   

  • CO2 Recovery pilot plant at LNG-fired Nanko Power Station – Osaka, Japan. The CO2 recovery pilot plant was constructed with a capacity of 2 tonnes CO2/day by The Kansai Electric Power Company Inc. in 1991. With the plant, Kansai Electric Power aimed at developing a proprietary technology for CO2 recovery from flue gas. The company partnered Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd, resulting in the development of KS-1 solvent. The solvent has been applied with its process (KM CDR Process) to 11 commercial plants with a capacity of up to 500 tonnes CO2/day throughout the world and to a commercial unit under construction to capture 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 at a coal-fired power plant in the USA. http://www.mhi-global.com/products/detail/km-cdr_introduction.html

CO2 Recovery pilot at Nanko Power Station
CO2 Recovery pilot at Nanko Power Station, Kansai Electric Power

Mikawa PCC
Mikawa PCC pilot plant 

  • Aioi Pilot Plant – Hyogo, Japan. The pilot plant was built by IHI Corporation to test their post-combustion capture technologies, including amine solvents, a capture process and packings for absorbers. In 2012, it became operational with a capability of capturing 20 tonnes CO2/day from flue gas from a coal-fired boiler or a propane gas boiler. IHI also built a 0.5 tonnes per day pilot plant for two-year R&D project with Australian partners in Victoria in 2015.
  • Pilot Plant for BFG – Chiba, Japan. The evaluation plant became operational in April 2010 to execute the comprehensive performance evaluation tests of the chemical absorption process at a scale of 30 tonnes/day, using newly developed amine solutions and actual blast furnace gas (BFG), as part of COURSE50 (CO2 Ultimate Reduction in Steelmaking process by innovative technology for cool Earth 50) NEDO Project. R&D there led to the commercialization of a capture process "ESCAP" developed at the pilot plant and the first ESCAP became operational in 2014 to capture food-grade CO2 from hot stove gas in a steelmaking process at a scale of 120 tonnes per day in Muroran, Hokkaido. http://www.jisf.or.jp/course50/tecnology02/index_en.html
  • COURSE 50 PSA bench plant in Fukuyama – Hiroshima, Japan. A bench scale PSA plant was constructed for the recovery of carbon dioxide and monoxide from actual blast furnace gas in Fukuyama, Japan. Its capacity was 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per day initially and then was expanded to 6 tonnes per day with a number of improvements on the plant. The plant has been operated for the study in various separation conditions since February 2011. Through the demonstration, the recovery cost has come down and has achieved our target.
  • KCC Bench Plant – Hyogo, Japan. A new solid adsorbent for CO2 capture has been developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. The company has verified its performance for the exhaust gas of coal combustion at the Kawasaki CO2 Capture (KCC) bench plant with a capacity of 10 tonnes-CO2 per day since June 2010. The test results have shown that the solid adsorbent performed properly in CO2 selective adsorption and desorption with energy supply from low temperature steam. 

KCC Bench Plan
KCC Bench Plan

Links to CCS-related Information in Japan