Wednesday, June 26, 2013

No. 85: Japan’s largest off-shore wind turbine starts generation coming October (June 26, 2013)

A huge off-shore wind turbine to be installed 20 km offshore of Fukushima Prefecture was released to the public. It is currently the largest wind turbine ever built in Japan. It is a floating type wind turbine built by Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding. It will start operation coming October. It is 106 m high above the sea when it is installed. The windmill is 80 m in diameter, and the output is 2,000 kW.

Building this off-shore wind turbine is part of the government-funded substantiative experiment, and a total of 11 organizations including universities, trading companies, and shipbuilding companies participate in this project. The project team is scheduled to build the world largest off-shore wind turbine that has an output of 7,000 kW in 2014. Details of this project are available in English

 Japan's largest off-shore wind turbine is unveiled. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

No. 84: Kyocera gets an order for its photovoltaic generation system from JA Zennoh (June 24, 2013)

Business trend:
Kyocera got an order for the construction of its photovoltaic generation system in 80 locations with total power generation capacity of 30,000 kW from the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (JA Zennoh) for 8,500 million yen as the order for 2013. The company plans to start the photovoltaic generation business at Zennoh’s 500 locations in alliance with Mitsubishi Corp. Kyocera will install 124,000 solar panels and take care of everything involved in photovoltaic generation from system design, construction, and maintenance. 

Kyocera has competitive edge in the technology to put various shapes of solar panels, such as trapezoidal and rectangular ones, with no space between them. Because Zennoh’s plants and livestock barns have various shapes of rooftops, they reportedly outdid Chinese makers that competed with low-priced products. Kyocera plans to increase the production of solar panels 25% over the previous year in 2013. 

Photovoltaic generation on the 
rooftop of a livestock barn

Sunday, June 9, 2013

No. 83: A new back sheet for solar cells from Fujifilm (June 9, 2013)

Fujifilm will put its newly-developed sheets used for solar cells on the market. The sheet is the so-called back sheet attached to the back of a solar cell to protect it from heat, humidity, and ultraviolet. It oxidizes should it be exposed to air and water, but the company increased the durability of the sheet by mixing special compound with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and applying its own unique technology to blow up film. The new sheet has a life of 30 years, three times more durable than the existing products on the market. It is priced at 20-30% higher than the standard back sheet. According to European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPA), solar cells with a total generation capacity of 31 million kW were introduced worldwide in 2012, making the cumulative output reach 100 kW. The introduction is expected to increase 55% from 2012 to over 48 million kW in 2017.   

Fujifilm had no way but to decrease the share of film business considerably because of the growing popularity of digital cameras. Actually, film sales account for less than 1% at present as compared with about 20% in 2000. The company is busily occupied with launching new business operations based on the technology it has accumulated. Late last year, it started to ship the EXCLEAR designed for the touch panel of smartphones and tablet PCs. In addition to higher precision, it can be mounted on the next-generation display because it is bendable. Fujifilm is also marketing the label to prevent counterfeiting that allows printed images and literal information to be seen only through the special filter. 

 Fujifilm's technology to extract 
organic EL illumination light 

Friday, June 7, 2013

No. 82: Developing raw materials for biofuel (June 7, 2013)

Kobelco Eco-Solutions discovered a new species of euglena that has two times more fat inside than euglena gracilis z stock, which is the currently most promising euglena, and successfully cultured it in collaboration with the University of Tsukuba. The company confirmed that the new euglena proliferates fast if it is cultured by effluent containing organic substances and purifies water. It is supposed to have the same degree of combustibility as coal. The company wishes to put a system from the culture of the new euglena to the refinement of biofuel toward 2018.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries established a technology to produce bioethanol from rice straws at a low cost. The new technology processes rice straws only by hot water. Because it does not use sulfuric acid, it can reduce capital investment. The new technology makes it possible to produce bioethanol at 40 yen per liter. The company has been conducting the substantiative experiment for the past five years.    

   Producing bioethanol from rice