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Japanese Geothermal Energy: A 24/7 Energy Solution?

TOKYO01 Jul (News On Japan) – A large-scale geothermal energy project similar to nuclear power is underway in Japan, as the government and private sector accelerate their efforts to achieve a green transformation (GX) and transition to renewable energy. However, rising power consumption, partly due to the spread of AI, has sent demand for electricity skyrocketing.

At the same time, solar and wind energy, which make up a significant portion of renewable energy, are unreliable for a stable 24-hour supply due to weather conditions. Amid this, there are new developments in geothermal energy, which can provide a stable 24-hour supply and is one of the world’s best resources that Japan is proud of, but is difficult to harness and not widely used. Novelist Jin Mayama, who has written works on the topic of geothermal energy, delves into the efforts of Japan’s leading geothermal developers.

After the nuclear accident 13 years ago and the historic depreciation of the yen due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, fuel prices have soared, putting Japan, which relies heavily on imports, in a difficult position. There is growing interest in renewable energy that harnesses natural forces. Renewables now account for more than 20% of domestic electricity supply, and geothermal energy, which had been forgotten, is making a comeback.

“We are challenging ourselves with a new method called supercritical geothermal power generation,” explains the researcher from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), which has 12 sites across the country and is working on next-generation technologies such as semiconductors and AI. The Fukushima facility, established in 2014 for advanced renewable energy research after the Great East Japan Earthquake, is the only research institute in Japan dedicated to renewable energy.

Geothermal energy generation involves tapping into underground reservoirs of water that are heated by nearby magma. This high-temperature water, which reaches 200° to 300°, is brought to the surface, where it is converted into steam to drive turbines and generate electricity. Geothermal energy can generate electricity 24/7, unaffected by weather conditions, making it a reliable and continuous source of energy. Japan, a volcanic country, boasts the third largest geothermal energy potential in the world.

Source: Business Intelligence

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