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Environment

Japan looks to ASEAN nations for carbon capture and storage

Joined by Australia and US, Tokyo hopes to achieve Suga's carbon-neutral goal

The technology behind carbon capture, utilization and storage offers countries a way to reduce emissions.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Japan, the U.S., Australia and the 10 members of ASEAN are forming a partnership to commercialize the technology behind carbon capture, utilization and storage as early as this decade, opening up ways to bury carbon dioxide in Southeast Asia to reduce emissions.

The CCUS technology is seen as vital to achieving net-zero carbon emissions. For example, carbon dioxide emitted from a thermal power plant could be captured and injected into a gas field, adding pressure underground that would in turn lead to more gas production.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga made a pledge in October to achieve net-zero emission by 2050, as countries across the world move to tackle climate change. While the use of clean technologies such as renewable energy and hydrogen is expected to increase, the reduction of emissions from industries such as steel and chemicals remains a difficult problem to solve.

Japan is planning to continue using thermal power plants to generate energy and the government hopes using CCUS will help it to offset emissions. The government plans to launch the new partnership in the summer of 2021, after first establishing ground work at the East Asia Summit this month.

Southeast Asia, which is rich in gas and oil fields, is seen as a viable location for storing carbon dioxide. As the first step of the partnership, Japan, the U.S., Australia and the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will make a list of potential CCUS sites in Southeast Asia.

According to Japan's trade ministry, Asia has the capacity to bury 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to at least 10 years of emissions in Japan.

After evaluating storage capacity, cost and environmental impact in each location, partnering countries and companies hope to commercialize CCUS before 2030. Japan is already looking into Indonesia and Australia. The U.S. is considering bringing the technology implemented in Asia back home.

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