Concern for potential global climate change will become greater within the next decade, forcing society to move toward energies that will minimize the emission of greenhouse gases. Hydrogen energy is considered to present a potential effective option for minimizing the release of greenhouse gases. The Japanese Government promoted the WE-NET (World Energy Network) Project (Phase I: 1993-1998, Phase II: 1999-2002), which envisions: (1) construction of a global energy network for the effective supply, transport, storage and utilization of renewable energies and (2) promotion of hydrogen energy entry into the market in the near and /or mid- future, even before the construction of a WE-NET system. In this paper, the results of the Phase I research and development are summarized and the Phase II program is described, placing an emphasis on the research and development of small-scale and distributed hydrogen utilization technologies such as fuel-cell vehicle related technologies.
The Japan hydrogen project, WE-NET (World Energy Network), has shown that high-density LH2 (liquid hydrogen) is the most promising medium for transporting and storing large-mass hydrogen efficiently and economically. In the future, large-mass liquid hydrogen storage technology for ground