On the 11th of this month, the "All-Party Parliamentary Association for the Promotion of Basic Industries such as Batteries to Create a Future Society" was launched, consisting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and volunteer members of the Liberal Democratic Party(LDP). At the parliamentary establishment general meeting, a special lecture was given by Dr. Akira Yoshino (Asahi Kasei Corporation Honorary Fellow) who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his achievements in LiB development. In his speech, he made recommendations to the government on promoting the battery industry.


The following is a summary of some of the lectures.


Japanese battery makers are doing well even though there is no EV market in Japan.


"Currently, the global LiB market is shifting from mobile / IT to EV. Although there is no EV market in Japan, domestic battery makers and battery material makers are doing well unexpectedly. However, all customers are dependent overseas. They are desperately fighting against the world on the cliff of relying on companies. "


The situation of doing well is clear from the data of B3 company that Dr. Yoshino gave as reference material below.



In-vehicle LIB for ESS

"The LiB market for ESS (Energy Storage System) is also growing significantly. ESS is a system that stores photovoltaic power generation in stationary batteries (storage batteries). Regeneration for the realization of a decarbonized society. The use of storage batteries is absolutely essential to popularize possible energy, but if we try to cover all of the current power consumption with renewable energy, the power generation cost is at the limit. In addition, it is costly to install a new storage battery system. It's impossible at all.


However, in fact, the LiB installed in the EV and the LiB used in the ESS are exactly the same. The size is almost the same. With that in mind, the idea of ​​using in-vehicle LiB for the purpose of ESS is natural. Since the battery was originally made for EV, the installation cost is counted as zero. Moreover, about 90% of passenger cars are not usually used in parking lots, and if the government can establish a power storage system using those cars, the problem will be solved at once. "



Dr. Yoshino pointed out five points as recommendations to Japanese government.


1 Measures to quickly establish the EV market in Japan



2 Measures to accelerate the spread of renewable energy power sources by utilizing EV-equipped batteries

"It is important not only to promote the spread of EVs, but also to take measures from a broad perspective to utilize in-vehicle batteries as storage batteries for renewable energy. This will greatly develop the spread of renewable energy and aim to reduce CO2 emissions by 46% in 2030. It can move forward. "



3 Support measures for Japanese battery makers and battery material makers

"In the future, the main player is expected to shift from China to the EU, and the United States will follow suit. In these countries, there is rapid cost competition against the backdrop of various government support measures such as R & D and capital investment subsidies for battery manufacturers. In a crisis situation where only Japan is in a state of galapagos, we must somehow protect domestic manufacturers who are desperately enduring fierce competition. "



4 All-Japan system that integrates industry, universities, and research institutes

"Because there is no domestic market, researchers are struggling to find a direction. In order to revive the basic development capabilities of universities and research institutes, we must concentrate people, funds, and measures. "



5 Measures for Japan to take the lead toward a next-generation mobility society

In this lecture, Dr. Yoshino really wanted to talk about this fifth item.

"In the battery industry, the perspective necessary for Japan to take three steps forward is to envision a future car society on the premise that EVs have become widespread to some extent. AI will be installed in automobiles, and automatic driving will be put into practical use. When the car itself has information from all over the world like a smartphone, EV will become an ideal form of sharing and will be a huge force in the formation of a sustainable society.Although the news of EV development by Apple and Huawei already is reported, it is certain that IT companies will enter the EV industry more and more and become a huge market. In order for Japan to take the lead in such a big change in society. I hope that the battery policy will be taken so that we look ahead.. "



In addition, in the question and answer session,  A question "With limited people and funds, it is necessary to have a strategy of examining and prioritizing the parts to focus on and the parts to be discarded in the battery industry.".


Dr. Yoshino replied,"I'm not so pessimistic. It's true that Japan is devastating in the mobile business such as smartphones. However, the core parts of mobile are overwhelmingly made in Japan. The same is true for automobiles, for example, they are used in EVs. One of the parts is manufactured by a manufacturer in Kyoto, which has an 80% share of the world market. Ideally, they should do their best in the outside fields while suppressing the core parts inside.

High-end products are currently stuck on the edge of the LiB market. Each manufacturer is desperately trying to maintain the development of high-quality products that can only be produced with domestic materials and domestic technology. However, there are of course cheap and bad markets, where Japanese manufacturers are completely locked out. "


Dr. Yoshino concludes with a preface that the theme of the lecture is a little different.

"The difference in voltage between eastern Japan and western Japan is the biggest obstacle to Japan's use of renewable energy, not just the spread of storage battery systems. We have to do something about it first. It's a negative legacy of the Meiji Restoration, so I hope that it will be resolved at the government’s own risk. "


An urgent resolution by the Battery Parliamentary League, which was compiled from the same perspective as Dr. Yoshino's proposal, will be included in the "Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform" decided by the Cabinet on the 18th of this month.


→(Japanese version article)崖っぷちの国内LiB市場を救え 吉野彰氏、国家戦略的取組の必要性を提言