Japan adds backing to energy storage

NGK is known for the development of sodium-sulphur (NaS) batteries, Sumitomo are currently working on vanadium redox flow batteries.

NGK is known for its sodium-sulphur (NaS) batteries. Sumitomo is working on vanadium redox flow batteries. Photo credit: NGK Insulators

In a week where continued fears over radiation leakage call the future of the country’s nuclear fleet into question, there is at least one piece of good energy news coming out of Japan. NGK Insulators and Sumitomo Electric Industries have both been chosen by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to find ways of driving down the costs of energy storage.

The two companies will be working on separate projects with the Japanese taxpayer picking up as much as 75% of the development costs, according to a reports in Bloomberg Business Week and elsewhere, although at least some of this is expected to be repaid if progress does not meet with officials’ satisfaction. The Japanese government has set itself the goal of USD$234 per kilowatt-hour within a seven-year time-frame, with participants receiving financial aid until early 2018. This news of government support comes just as a number of reports are predicting a surge in energy storage markets in Asia and beyond. Last week, we reported on positive predictions for energy storage in China, whilst Frost and Sullivan believes that battery energy storage in the Asia-Pacific region was worth $855m in 2012 and predicts that will climb to $1.6bn in 2017.

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