2022 Masao Horiba Awards
Analytical and measurement technologies that contribute to the use of hydrogen for a decarbonized society
Fossil-derived petroleum, coal, and natural gas have supported the growth of the global economy and continue to play a major role in the development of mankind. Today however, we are entering a new phase. One which aspires towards carbon neutrality. Renewable energy and low CO2 emission technologies are paramount in order to achieve both high living standards and environmental preservation.
To achieve, and even exceed, a carbon neutral target, there needs to be a paradigm shift. One which proactively shifts the industrial activities and economic focus.
Significant efforts are being directed toward a low carbon future by the world’s major economies. Europe has proposed a "Green Recovery" policy that combines climate change targets as well as support for a green economic recovery. Not only does this policy address issues relating to climate change and enhancing biodiversity; but it also supports the expansion of the economy. Other nations are adopting similar economic stimulus measures that are conscious of the environmental impact. Japan has a decarbonization target of a 46% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to a benchmark of 2013 and carbon neutrality by 2050. To achieve these goals, decarbonization in the power generation is a must. Hydrogen is expected to play a pivotal role.
An efficient distribution network is necessary to support the adoption of hydrogen. It’s required not only to be a source for the energy industry but also the industries in which Hydrogen is used as an input material.
Until now, hydrogen has been mainly used as an industrial gas, such as for hydrodesulfurization in the petroleum refining process. Hydrogen is expected however, to be used in wider applications in the future. In addition to producing chemical raw materials and steelmaking for example, it is forecast to be used as an alternative source of energy to substitute petroleum. Research is taking place around the world to accelerate its adoption as a energy vector.
Key challenges for the implementation of hydrogen are diverse: They can be summarized as:
1. Establishment of production and carrier technologies which can supply large quantities of hydrogen in a stable and low cost manner
2. Expansion of the use of hydrogen into new applications
3. Building international hydrogen supply chains.
Optimal solutions are required for various problems faced in each of the above challenges.
To address these it will be necessary to:
・Improve the efficiency of water electrolyzers
・Efficient use of natural gas
・Adopt new hydrogen production technologies such as artificial photosynthesis
・Create technologies to simplify reactions with hydrogen carriers (organic hydrides, ammonia, and so on)
Furthermore, technological innovations in the catalytic reaction processes are required for broader use of hydrogen, with a view to converting it to methanol, ethanol, and other core materials. In addition, attention to reaction modeling and the estimation of variables that are difficult to measure is needed.
The 2022 Masao Horiba Award seeks out advanced analytical and measurement technologies that contribute to these technological innovations. Applications from domestic and overseas researchers and engineers who are enthusiastically working to develop these new technologies are most welcome.
Masayuki Adachi, Dr., Eng.
Chief of the Organizing Committee for 2022 Masao Horiba Awards
President & COO