Idemitsu, ENEOS, Toyota, MHI eye introducing carbon-neutral fuels in Japan by 2030

Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan, ENEOS, Toyota Motor, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced on May 27 that they will jointly explore the introduction of carbon-neutral fuels in the country around 2030.

Following this agreement, the four companies have initiated a study to facilitate the adoption and dissemination of carbon-neutral fuels as part of their efforts toward achieving carbon neutrality. This study follows a memorandum of understanding signed on January 31, 2024, which stemmed from Toyota’s proposal in the latter half of the previous year to pursue a multi-pathway approach to carbon neutrality, according to an ENEOS spokesperson.

The study will involve developing scenarios and roadmaps for introducing carbon-neutral fuels, such as e-fuel produced from CO2 and hydrogen derived from renewable sources, as well as biofuels made from plants that absorb CO2 through photosynthesis. These fuels will be considered for Japan’s automobile market, along with the necessary frameworks for their implementation.

Additionally, the companies will assess the feasibility of domestic production of carbon-neutral fuels to enhance the country’s energy security.This initiative aligns with Japan’s aim to establish efficient and large-scale production technology for e-fuels by 2030, with commercialization targeted for 2040.

Idemitsu and ENEOS’s latest efforts are part of Japan’s broader strategy. Idemitsu has been actively pursuing early adoption of carbon-neutral fuels through collaborations both domestically and internationally. Recently, on May 13, Idemitsu acquired a minority stake in synthetic fuels producer HIF Global for $114 million to develop an e-methanol supply chain in Japan and abroad, aiming to use it as bunker fuel and in producing e-gasoline, SAF, e-diesel, and synthetic chemicals.

Idemitsu plans to establish an e-fuel supply system by 2030, targeting the production of 500,000 kiloliters (3.14 million barrels) of SAF from domestic and imported sources. ENEOS is similarly focused on developing its e-fuel and biofuel supply chains, aiming to commence 1 b/d e-fuel production at its Central Technical Research Laboratory in FY 2024–25, with plans to increase production to 300 b/d by FY 2030–31.

Toyota’s multi-pathway approach includes not only promoting electrified vehicles but also reducing CO2 emissions from internal combustion engine vehicles. Since introducing flex-fuel vehicles in Brazil in 2007, Toyota has continued to work on reducing CO2 emissions from existing internal combustion vehicles and is considering the development of engines specifically for electrified vehicles that support carbon-neutral fuels.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is contributing to this effort by building CO2 and hydrogen solutions ecosystems, aiming for carbon neutrality by 2040 through its products, technologies, services, and new innovations to reduce CO2 emissions.

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