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Project WENET

World Energy Network

Project logo
Full project name International Clean Energy Network Using Hydrogen Conversion - World Energy Network - WE-NET
Project (geographical) scope and type National Japanese Project
Project acronym WE-NET
Project website
Project main objective(s), goal(s)

WE-NET (World Energy Network: International cooperation in research and development of clean energy system with particular emphasis on hydrogen) was initiated in 1993 with an objective to enable introduction of a world-wide network for development of abundantly available renewable resources such as water, solar energy, wind power, etc, for transportation of the reusable energy to where needed, and for utilization of the energy in variety such as for power generation, fuels, city gas, etc. It was expected to contribute to solving world wide problems in energy and environmental issues through reduction of greenhouse gases and provision of a buffer for demand and supply of international energy field.

R&D in the first phase, which lasted for 6 years until 1998, was based on a long term concept in utilization of hydrogen. It was tried to develop core technologies indispensable for construction of a network for supply and demand of hydrogen as the secondary and reusable energy.

After then, thorough review on the overall project concept was made, and the second phase of WE-NET started in 1999. It was intended to introduce concepts in the short and medium term as well (realization, promotion and actual introduction of hydrogen energy into human society) although they should be based on the long-term concept in the first phase. It was also intended to further develop hydrogen sources and to apply a policy to emphasize hydrogen technology in its wide application. The second phase in WE-NET was completed one year ahead of schedule in 2002, and was succeeded by a new project “Development of Fundamental Technologies in the Safe Utilization of Hydrogen”, which will be starting from 2003.

In Phase II safety was a dedicated task (Task 2) with the objective to establish safety evaluation method by verification through experiment. Based on results of preliminary safety evaluation, standards for safety design are to be discussed.

Key issues, background

One of the worldwide most ambitious hydrogen energy research projects pursued in Japan was the “International Clean Energy Network Using Hydrogen Conversion”, short World Energy Network or WE-NET, operating under the wider frame of the New Sunshine Project. Its main objective was the establishment of a large-scale energy system based on hydrogen from renewable energy sources. The project was directed by NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization), which is an implementing agency of the Japanese government to promote the development of technologies related to new energy sources. Starting in 1993, WE-NET was scheduled to run over 28 years in three distinct phases. Phase I (1993-98) was dealing with the survey on key technologies and elemental research and system studies under various subtasks. Phase II (1999-2005) was dedicated to the development of prototype systems in the order of 50 MW, until eventually in the final phase III, the hydrogen technologies were to be demonstrated in sub and full systems (Murase 1995). Main hydrogen production method was considered to be solid polymer electrolyte water electrolysis. Long-distance maritime transportation of the H2 was foreseen to take place in the liquid form LH2, alternatively liquid hydrides like methanol or ammonia. On the demand side, the H2 was to be used as a fuel in the transportation sector, in fuel cell power plants, in combustion turbines, in households, and as chemical feedstock. Originally based on renewable energies, the later Phase II considered also fossil fuels to allow the introduction of H2 on a short term.


??? funding (Phase I)
??? funding (Phase II)

Project start

1993 (Phase I)
1999 (Phase II)

Project end

1998 (Phase I)
2002 (Phase II)

Coordinator contact details
 The safety task was led by "The Institute of Applied Energy" 
 Ko Sakata, Director of Hydrogen Group  	
List of participants (organisation name, country)
Organisational structure

The project was conducted in two phases, Phase I and Phase II. In Phase II safety was a dedicated task (Task 2) with the objective to establish safety evaluation method by verification through experiment. Based on results of preliminary safety evaluation, standards for safety design are to be discussed.

  1. Task 1 Study of System Evaluation
  2. Task 2 Study of Safety Measures
  3. Task 3 Review and Investigation for International Cooperation
  4. Task 4 Development of Power Generation Technology
  5. Task 5 Development of Hydrogen Fuel Tank System
  6. Task 6 Development of PEFC Utilizing Pure Hydrogen
  7. Task 7 Development of Hydrogen Refueling Station
  8. Task 8 Development of Hydrogen Production Technology
  9. Task 9 Development of Hydrogen Transportation and Storage Technology
  10. Task 10 Development of Cryogenic Materials Technology
  11. Task 11 Development of Hydrogen Storage Materials
  12. Task 12 Investigations and Study of Innovation and Leading Technology
Technical approach intentionally left blank
Results, achievements

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Page last modified on February 18, 2009, at 02:40 PM