The German Japanese Energy Transition Council

GJETC publishes studies on decarbonization of the building sector and the chemical industry

The German-Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) has completed two in-depth studies and one topical paper on current issues of the Energy Transition in both countries. We are pleased to inform you that the following studies are now available on the GJETC-Website (Studies – GJETC | Topical Papers – GJETC). 

The study “Roadmaps towards a climate neutral petrochemical production system“ compares scenario analyses and roadmaps in Germany and Japan, highlighting the need for defossilization, renewable electricity and hydrogen production in the petrochemical sector. An emphasis is put on the importance of policy support and global harmonization of climate policy for a successful industry transformation. While Germany and Japan share similarities in terms of their large petrochemical industries and dependence on imported energy, their specific contexts require tailored approaches. Collaboration between the two countries can facilitate technology and policy development, market introduction of new processes, and the establishment of global partnerships for non-fossil energy carriers and feedstocks.

In the second study “Strategies, concepts and measures for decarbonizing the building stock by 2045/50” it becomes clear that ambitious policy measures are essential to achieve climate neutrality goals in Japan and Germany, particularly in the building sector. Both countries focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through measures such as improved insulation, installation of PV systems, and transitioning from fossil fuel-based heating systems to renewable energy-powered heat pumps. However, challenges exist in promoting renovations due to limited information, financial resources, and regulations. Geographical characteristics and cultural factors pose unique challenges in each country, but both prioritize technological standards.

Within the topical paper Comparing the basic strategies of Japan and Germany against the energy crisis while aiming to achieve their climate mitigation goals, the climate protection strategies of Japan and Germany are compared. It examines how the energy crisis has impacted their climate goals, particularly in terms of supply security and price mitigation. Both countries aim to achieve carbon neutrality, but their approaches differ due to factors such as energy self-sufficiency and the role of nuclear power. Germany focuses on renewables and energy conservation, while Japan considers the use of fossil fuels, nuclear power, and imports of blue hydrogen or ammonia. Both countries face challenges in meeting their climate goals under changing geopolitical conditions and competition in the global green technology market.

We encourage you to take the time to review the studies and the topical paper thoroughly and share them in your network. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the studies further, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

The German and Japanese Council Members met in Tokyo on March 2/3, 2023

Besides 2 days of discussion on current study topics such as decarbonization of the petrochemical industry, carbon-neutral buildings and waste heat utilization potentials, there were a row of side events such as a GJETC Stakeholder Dialogue with the Industry on Decarbonization of Buildings, a “Hydrogen Talk” organized by the German Embassy and an event on “Women in Leadership in the Energy Sector” of the German-Japanese Energy Partnership.

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Press releases:

Retrospect: Overview of GJETC Activities 2016-2023

Council Meeting held in Berlin / online on Nov 28 & 29, 2022

The German-Japanese Energy Transition Council held a 2 days Council Meeting at the Japanese Embassy in Berlin on November 28 and 29, 2022.
The Japanese Council Members joined online.

On the 1st day, concept and intended contents of GJETC studies currently prepared on decarbonising the building stock and the petrochemical industry as well as waste heat usage were discussed.

On day 2, the Council Members exchanged views on pathways to reach ‘’Net Zero’ in both countries. Furthermore, possible topics for Innovation Roundtables and the timeline of coming events (Outreach Event on December 9, Council Meeting in Tokyo in March 2023) were presented.

Key strategies towards decarbonized energy systems: GJETC presents three new studies with policy recommendations

Berlin/Tokyo, April 7, 2022. In its role as a provider of research on key issues of the energy transition, today the German Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) publishes three studies that have been conducted during the past nine months. The German and Japanese scientists have been working on research concerning a comparison of long-term scenario analyses up to 2045/2050, the decarbonization of the steel industry, and the role of batteries towards carbon neutrality. The findings from the studies form the basis for GJETC recommendations to policymakers. The studies are freely downloadable from the GJETC website.

Both countries have now adopted goals for achieving net carbon neutrality by 2045 (Germany) and 2050 (Japan). However, the economic recovery after the 2020 recession due to Covid-19 pandemic led to increases in greenhouse gas emissions in 2021. The key question is, how these rebound effects can be curbed and what are key pathways towards achieving these goals of decarbonized energy systems.
“In 2021, more CO2 is being produced than ever globally and also Germany wasn’t on track of its ambitious climate targets. At the same time, the Russian aggression against Ukraine has put the urgent reduction of fossil energy dependency high on the agenda. This calls for intensified efforts on international knowledge exchange to speed up the energy transition and to generate synergies of climate mitigation and less import dependency” says Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke, the German co-chair of the GJETC, “From the results of our studies, we can derive recommendations for political decision-makers in Germany and Japan in this regard that can help achieve the climate targets and energy security alike.”
The Japanese co-chair of the GJETC, Prof. Tatsuya Terazawa, says: “There is still room for our two countries to reach their full potential as reflected in the results of our studies. Reducing the energy demand in all sectors and implementing stronger efficiency measures remains the first pillar of a successful energy transition. It is especially noted that the use of innovative technologies for decarbonizing fossil energy and alternative fuels in industry are important. In addition to the continued focus and expansion of renewable energies, pilot projects, such as for the use of battery systems for the sustainable storage of electricity, are necessary to drive energy transition efforts. At the same time, taking the current Ukraine situation into account, we will have to reemphasize the importance of energy security. In light of this, we need to diversify the energy types and sources as well as to ensure realistic transition of the energy mix consistent with the necessary timeframe.”

Study 1: The decarbonization of the steel industry

This study shows that governments and major companies in both Germany and Japan have adopted similar goals for the decarbonization of the steel industry, and how these may be achieved. Both countries focus on full decarbonization mainly through new direct reduction processes using hydrogen as fuel in primary steel making and the further expansion of secondary steel use through electric arc furnaces. Policy recommendations that can be derived include, among other things, fostering the use of clean hydrogen, the use of innovative technologies for steel production, the generation of CO2-neutral electricity and an acceptance of decarbonized steel on the market.

Study 2: Long-term scenarios for achieving climate neutrality by 2050

This study analyses scenarios of several studies that examine the achievement of climate neutrality in Germany and Japan. For both countries, the scenarios underscored the importance of energy efficiency and of a forced market introduction of renewable energies as key strategies. They go hand in hand with expanded electrification of the building and transport sector, the increased use of clean hydrogen and synthetic fuels, and technical carbon sinks to compensate residual (“hard to abate”) greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the GJETC discusses shortfalls that the respective technology focussed scenarios have with respect to, e.g., social acceptance or missing integration of circular economy strategies. Additionally, an adequate contribution of both countries to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees has to be developed. The GJETC thus opens the subject up for further specific research.

Study 3: The role of batteries towards carbon neutrality – How can distributed electricity storage contribute to balancing supply and demand in power markets as well as in power grids?

This study examines three different battery systems for electricity storage and their potential for stabilizing the power markets and grids: Grid-Integrated large storage systems (LSS), Home, Commercial, or Industrial Storages (HSS/ISS), and Battery-electric Vehicles (BEV). The GJETC sees HSS/ISS and BEV in particular as having great potential. To improve conditions for the use of battery systems as a flexibility resource, the GJETC advises a clear definition of storage as an own element of the electricity system; removing any double charging with levies, fees, or taxes of electricity during storage charging and feed-back to the grid; and the use of smart meters and smart pricing.

The GJETC’s third council phase ended last month. Another, fourth council phase is planned to continue the exchange between German and Japanese scientists intensively in the future. New formats are being discussed for the dialogue: An Innovation Lab will further encourage the exchange with the young researchers in particular, and an Innovation Hub will create a space for deeper communications with the industry in developing solutions.

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