Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No. 35: Using fallen leaves and dead branches for power generation (January 18, 2012)

Business trend
The Ministryof Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism decided to install generation equipment in large-scale government-managed parks as an emergency power source in a time of disaster. It plans to start testing in one or two of the 17 government-managed parks across the country. The equipment to be installed generates by running a turbine using gases created by steaming fallen leaves and dead branches. It is designed to keep high generation efficiency even with unhomogeneous fuels. The ministry plans to put the technology into practical use in one year in alliance with private companies.

The electricity to be generated will be used for lighting inside the park normally and for rescue activities in case of power outage in a disaster. The ministry calculates that a government-managed park in Tokyo with an area of 1,650,000 square meters can supply enough amount fallen leaves and dead branches to generate about 10% of annual electricity demand. The ministry decision aims to decrease the amount of plant trash by using weeds and fallen leaves as fuel. About 2,000,000 tons of plant trash is produced annually in this country, most of which is incinerated while only a small amount is used for fertilizers.

Friday, January 6, 2012

No. 34: Using earth thermal for energy saving in a production plant (January 6, 2012)

Business trend
Japan is behind western countries in the application of earth thermal. Thanks to technological development, however, it has become possible to use earth thermal in a clean room that needs strict management of room temperature, and Fujitsu will start to use earth thermal for energy saving in one of its production plants shortly. In this plant, a total of 31 pipes are dug in down to 30 m below ground to collect earth thermal that is 15 degrees centigrade throughout the year. The plant will collect earth thermal efficiently using the heat pump technology. The collected earth thermal will also be used to warm air after dehumidification in summer.

The capital investment is 70 million yen, and the payback period is 14 years. The company plans to introduce the same system in other production plants. The system is estimated to reduce 50 kiloliters per year as compared with the existing air-conditioning equipment that uses city gas. In addition, about 120 tons of carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced, the company estimates. The application of earth thermal is growing popular steadily in Japan now, and it is expected to accelerate with the introduction in production plants.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

No. 33: Growing popularity of offshore wind farming in Asia (January 2, 2012)

Business trend
The offshore wind farming market is estimated to grow nearly three times in 2015 over the level in 2011. Since Denmark launched offshore wind farming in the 1990s, Europe has been taking the initiative in this business. Following Europe, Asian countries have grown serious about introducing offshore wind farming. Because wind farming creates lots of supporting industries, companies with advanced technology are asked to explore business opportunities.

J-PowerSystems and Sumitomo Corp. jointly got an order for the laid down of undersea power cable between an isolated island and the main island of Taiwan that stretches 350 km for 32 billion yen, beating JS Cable of Korea in the international tender. J-Power Systems will build the power cable in Japan, and Sumitomo Corp. will undertake the laid down and civil engineering work. A total of six cables, each of which is 15 cm in diameter, will be laid down. Offshore wind farming is expected to grow more popular as a renewable energy source in Japan, China, and Southeast Asian countries.