TOKYO - Energy ministers and officials from more than 30 countries agreed Wednesday to aim to introduce hydrogen-powered systems for 10 million vehicles, planes and ships around the world in the next decade to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
While the target set in the second Hydrogen Energy Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo is nonbinding, countries are expected to promote private investment in developing technologies and to lower costs to boost hydrogen-powered transport and hydrogen stations.
The chair's summary called for "10 million hydrogen powered systems" in different modes of transport and "10 thousand hydrogen refueling stations" in 10 years as indicative, nonmandatory and collective goals to help incentivize and mobilize the private sector and investment community.
"We must work toward (using hydrogen) globally in order to prevent the acceleration of global warming," said Japanese industry minister Isshu Sugawara, who chaired the meeting.
The number of fuel cell vehicles in the world has hovered at tens of thousands, while that of hydrogen stations remains in the hundreds, according to the Japanese industry ministry.
FCVs are powered by electricity generated by a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen and do not emit carbon dioxide.
There has been growing public interest in renewable energy sources in Japan, particularly after the major nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in 2011, the worst since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
The Japanese government has been supporting research and development as well as the introduction of necessary infrastructure in the field, hoping to generate and store hydrogen created through renewable sources, such as solar power, and reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuel imports.
The country hosted the first hydrogen ministerial meeting in Tokyo last year, with around 20 countries participating.