The EU-Japan Centre is pleased to start a new weekly service by publishing brief summary of the latest information from the Japanese governmental organizations & private companies/organizations. A couple of minutes reading to be informed about what is happening in Japan's policy, economy, EU-Japan relations, and innovation.

*Information is deemed correct at the time of release. 

METI signs a memorandum of cooperation in the mining field with the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources
foreign economy

On November 3, 2023, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) signed a memorandum of cooperation in the mining field with the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The memorandum of cooperation was signed by METI Minister Nishimura and Minister of Natural Environment and Resources Loyzaga. With the conclusion of this memorandum of cooperation, it is expected that cooperation between Japan and the Philippines will be strengthened to promote sustainable development in the mining and mineral resources fields.

The Philippines is the second largest producer of nickel in the world after Indonesia, and the fourth largest producer of cobalt, both of which are essential minerals for EV batteries, home appliances, and defense technology. Although the country has significant mineral potential, the government estimates that less than 5% of its mineral reserves have been mined to date.

METI website:

Four companies including Toyota use "EV batteries" for stationary storage batteries
On November 1, Eurus Energy Holdings, in collaboration with Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Toyota Tsusho, and Toyota Motor Corporation, began a demonstration experiment of a stationary storage battery system that utilizes EV storage batteries. The demonstration will include verification of how to maximize the value provided by large-scale wind power plants whose FIT period has ended. The plan is to last several years.

The stationary storage battery system used for the demonstration has an output of 1000kW and a capacity of 3000kWh. It was developed by combining the in-vehicle batteries, control parts, and technology used in Toyota Motor Corporation's EVs and TEPCO Holdings' grid connection technology, and will be installed at the "Eurus Tashirodaira Wind Farm (capacity 7,650kW)" in Akita Prefecture. In the demonstration, they will operate a stationary storage battery system to eliminate the instability that is an issue with renewable energy power sources, and also to maximize the value provided by large-scale wind power plants that FIT period has ended and to make them a long-term power source. 

Eurus Energy website:

Enechange invests in Canadian geothermal energy technology startup
ENECHANGE announced on November 2nd that it has invested in Canada's Eavor through the JAPAN ENERGY Fund (JEF). Eavor is a global startup in the field of geothermal energy solutions. With Eavor-Loop, a patented closed-loop geothermal utilization technology, it is developing a new source of stable energy supply and cost-effective clean energy.

In the C$182 million (US$131.5 million) funding round, led by Austrian energy company OMV AG, JEF, Canada Growth Fund (Canada), Monaco Asset Management (Monaco), and Microsoft's Climate Innovation Fund (USA) are participating. From Japan, Chubu Electric Power is an investor. Closed-loop geothermal technology involves constructing a loop (an underground system similar to a radiator sealed underground by connecting two vertical piles and multiple horizontal piles) and circulating fluid (fresh water) inside the loop. This allows for efficient extraction of heat from deep underground.

Japan's geothermal resources are the third largest in the world at approximately 23GW, and it is thought that if geothermal power generation is developed, it could supply 10% of the country's electricity, and the government plans to introduce 1.5 million kW of geothermal power generation by 2030. However, due to high initial costs and the regulatory process for existing technology, geothermal power generation currently accounts for only 0.3% of Japan's electricity supply.

Enechange website:

JOGMEC successfully identifies resources at the level of 50 million tons in seafloor hydrothermal deposits 
JOGMEC continues to conduct wide-area surveys, drilling surveys, and resource assessments of Seafloor hydrothermal deposits that mainly contain copper, zinc, lead, gold, and silver in the Okinawa sea area and the Izu/Ogasawara sea area. It has recently calculated the approximate amount of resources to be a total of 51.805 million tons. JOGMEC announced it on November 8. This is an important result that forms the basis for developing prospects for Seafloor hydrothermal deposits within the EEZ. In the future, JOGMEC explained it will continue to improve the accuracy of resource amounts at existing sites, assess resource amounts at unexcavated sites, and conduct wide-area surveys to discover new mineral deposits, making further efforts to contribute to government plans.

Note1 Seafloor hydrothermal deposits: Metal components such as copper and zinc contained in hot water gushing from the ocean floor are precipitated when cooled by seawater. In Japan, it is distributed in Okinawa waters, Izu and Ogasawara waters, and has been confirmed to exist at depths of 500 meters to 3,000 meters.

Note2 Mineral Resource Potential: This is a unique concept introduced in JOGMEC's exploration of seafloor hydrothermal deposits, and is approximately equal to the sum of Inferred Mineral Resources and Exploration Results under the international standards for land resource assessment. 

JOGMEC website:

Tokyo Gas and Belgium's TES collaborate on e-methane
Tokyo Gas and Tree Energy Solutions Belgium (TES) announced on November 7 that they have signed a memorandum of understanding for comprehensive collaboration regarding e-methane. Based on this collaboration, the two companies will raise global awareness of e-methane, design a system for international CO2 emission counting for fuels that contribute to carbon neutrality, including e-methane, and develop an international supply chain for e-methane. 

In Japan, it is important to decarbonize gaseous energy to meet heat demand, which accounts for 60% of current energy demand. As one means of achieving this goal, e-methane is expected to achieve both a smooth transition to carbon neutrality and cost reduction, as existing city gas infrastructure such as LNG receiving terminals and pipelines, as well as consumption equipment, can be used. 

TES is a company headquartered in Brussels, Belgium with offices in Europe, North America, the Middle East, and East Asia/Oceania. The company aims to produce and liquefy e-methane in regions of the world where competitive renewable energy is available and sell it in the European and Japanese markets. Meanwhile, Tokyo Gas aims to introduce e-methane equivalent to 1% of city gas sales by 2030.

Tokyo gas website:

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