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Renewable Energy

About renewable energy

With the goal of becoming an integrated energy company that contributes to the global community, INPEX promotes efforts to commercialize renewable energies and reinforce Research and Development (R&D) activities for the next generation.  INPEX will continue to explore business potentials of various types of renewable energy such as geothermal, which has synergies with conventional  oil and gas development, and photovoltaic power generation.

Geothermal energy development

Geothermal power generation systems, which produce electricity by extracting hot water and steam from underground and by propelling steam turbines using the energy of the extracted hot water and steam. It has been gaining attention as a precious clean energy source because of its low CO2 emissions and its stability with no influence from the weather compared with the other types of renewable energy.

Japan as a volcanic country is said to be rich in geothermal energy potentials of approximately 20 million kilowatts (kW), the world’s third largest country after Indonesia and the United States. However, the total volume of power generated by the geothermal power plants in operation amounts only to around the 0.5 million kW unit level in Japan.  Furthermore, since most of geothermal potential sites sit in national parks and hot spring areas, geothermal development is required to comply with environmental regulations and to secure the supports and understanding of local communities.

Since 2011, INPEX has been participating in joint studies into geothermal development in both Akita and Hokkaido Prefectures. In July 2013, drilling of exploratory wells in those Prefectures has started for geothermal energy development as part of the second phase of the joint geothermal energy development study. The result of the second phase will be used to determine whether we move on to the third phase of the study, which includes the drilling of production pilot wells, steam production / hot water reinjections tests, evaluation of the geothermal reservoirs and environmental impact assessment.

INPEX will also strengthen its geothermal energy development initiatives outside of Japan, having joined the Sarulla Geothermal Independent Power Producer (IPP) Project in Indonesia in June 2015.

About Teiseki Drilling Co., Ltd.
Our subsidiary Teiseki Drilling Co., Ltd. provides a geothermal well drilling service. Thus far, Teiseki Drilling has successfully completed many projects drilling geothermal wells to depths exceeding 3,000m.

Photovoltaic power generation

In photovoltaic power generation, large-scale systems with an electricity generating capacity of 1 megawatt (MW) or more are called Mega Solar facilities. Since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, expectations have grown which for photovoltaic power generation in the hope to help mitigate concerns about power supply shortages. The construction of Mega Solar facilities comprising ranks of many photovoltaic panels over a wide area is being promoted throughout Japan.

In 2013, INPEX began generating and supplying electricity at its first photovoltaic power generation system with a maximum output of 2 megawatts, located in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture. In July 2015, the company began operating its second photovoltaic power generation system also with a maximum output of 2 megawatts located adjacent to the first system, through INPEX's wholly owned subsidiary, INPEX Logistics., Ltd. The INPEX Group collectively refers to the two photovoltaic power generation systems as "INPEX Mega Solar Joetsu". The photovoltaic power generation systems combined are expected to generate around 5,330,000kW of electricity per year, which is the equivalent of the annual power consumption of approximately 1,600 households.

Artificial Photosynthetic Chemical Process

In recent years, hydrogen is seen as holding tremendous promise as the ultimate renewable energy resource. This is due to the fact that when combusted hydrogen produces only water and hydrogen can be made into hydrocarbon fuel and chemicals by reacting with carbon dioxide gas, and therefore is an exceedingly clean source of energy.

INPEX has been participating in “Japan Technological Research Association of Artificial Photosynthetic Chemical Process” and engaged in the R&D project aim to produce chemical products like plastics and hydrocarbon fuel from hydrogen obtained by decomposing water with the use of some catalyst using solar energy, and CO2.

Other activities

High-capacity lithium-ion battery

INPEX has been supporting ELIIY Power Co., Ltd., which is engaged in lithium-ion batteries business. The wide scale popularization of high-capacity lithium-ion batteries, this company manufactures the storage of electricity generated by solar, wind and other natural energy, and is expected to contribute to the conservation of the global environment through more effective use of renewable energy.

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