Tag Archives: eco-innovation

Sky Solar Japan to Start Construction on Solar Power Stations

Since Japan formally implemented new Feed-in-Tariffs for the photovoltaic (PV) industry in July 2012, it has seen an overwhelming response and injection in the market. It is expected that with electricity prices of 42 Japanese Yen (approx. 3.36 Chinese Yuan) /kWh, internal rates of return of around 20% can be given to investors. This level of IRR has attracted and tempted many companies to invest in the PV industry either through development or through mergers and acquisition.

As a professional global PV developer, investor and IPP, Sky Solar finds itself in a strong position as the Japanese market strives forward due to years of hard work, commitment and preparation. Sky Solar is now in a position to seize this opportunity and has announced the successful development of several large solar power plants through its Japanese subsidiary, Sky Solar Japan.

Read the rest of the story: Sky Solar Japan to Begin Construction on PV Power Stations.

Green technology is the new corporate gold

There was a time when going green and doing business simply did not mix.

At best, the term “green business” was perceived as a corporate social responsibility slogan that had little to do with profitability.

Not anymore.

In addition to pressure for generating profit amid the prolonged recession, many companies face the specter of meeting stringent targets for emissions cuts. Thus, “green” and “business” have become inseparable.

The players in this regard were long limited to trading houses or utilities. Now companies ranging from a restaurant chain to a construction company and even small and mid-size companies have thrown their hats into the ring.

The Hokkaido factory of Aleph Inc., which operates the Bikkuri Donkey family restaurant chain, is one of those at the forefront of this new era.

The company’s facility is in Eniwa, south of Sapporo. Aside from processing food to be served at the restaurants, the plant now generates profits through the development and sales of emissions-reduction technology.

Read the rest of the story: Green technology is the new corporate gold
Read more of how Aleph, Inc. is staying green at the Japan for Sustainability site.

Eco Friendly Water Activated Battery – NoPoPo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ywsepn1QKU

Anyone who’s had their laptop or cellphone run out of juice at a crucial moment can attest to the limitations that present power storage methods have on technology, but a product from Aqua Power Systems Japan may indicate an amazing new advancement: the water-powered battery.

At their present capability, NoPoPo (No Pollution Power) Eco batteries have enough power to save lives during a disaster since they can run on the smallest amount of fluid (drinkable or bodily), which means that someone lost in the woods or trapped under rubble could recharge their flashlight easily with a few drops of whatever is available.

But don’t start pouring water on your laptop just yet: For the time being, NoPoPo batteries have significant limitations — just the double-A form is available and can only run low-powered items like flashlights and toy trains (see video above) but if they find a way to expand capacity, the NoPoPo could revolutionize how – and for how long – we work and communicate on electronic devices.

Source: Japan Pulse

Panasonic Eco Technology Center

Seeking to turn an environmental problem into an economic opportunity, high-tech companies in resource-poor Japan are mining mountains of toxic e-waste for precious materials.

One model project, the sprawling Panasonic Eco Technology Center, sits in lush rice fields an hour’s drive outside of Osaka city.

Inside, workers and humming machines disassemble flat-panel televisions, refrigerators and air conditioners, sorting their metal and plastic components into boxes for recycling.

tv-recycling

About 90 percent of dismantled parts are reused in one way or another, says Yutaka Maehara, a manager at the plant.

Among the most precious parts are metals such as copper that are becoming more expensive on the world market, while the plant also isolates toxic components such as heavy metals and dangerous gases.

The plant aims to leave a minimal environmental footprint and to be a good neighbour in its quaint rural setting.

“In the beginning residents here had some concerns,” said Panasonic spokeswoman Kyoko Ishii. “But as you see, we’ve been operating the plant without polluting the water and the rice is growing without problems.”

Japan has come a long way since the 1950s, 60s and 70s when it emerged at breakneck speed as Asia’s economic engine room, boosting living standards but often at a devastating environmental cost.

The skies over Tokyo, Yokohama and other industrial centres then were often choked with pollution, in the way those over parts of China are today, while waterways darkened with industrial effluent.

Since then Japan has tightened many emission standards and other safeguards and launched in 2001 a recycling system that separates paper, glass and aluminium cans from household rubbish that can be incinerated.

Today people who want to dispose of electronic appliances have to pay an average of 28 dollars for a washing machine, 32 dollars for a TV set and 54 dollars for a fridge, according to the industry ministry.

The volume of garbage dumped in landfills every year has shrunk to roughly one third of 1990 levels.

Used mobile phone handsets and digital cameras are now often called ‘city mines’ for the precious metals they contain, such as gold, silver and copper.

The government recently launched a campaign to encourage cellphone users to return their old handsets to mobile phone companies for recycling.

One pioneer in Japan has been camera maker Canon, which started recycling toner cartridges from its printers about 20 years ago and now reuses 90 percent of the components of its photocopiers.

“Our system is closed loop recycling, which means used parts from our products are used again in our products,” said Tomonori Iwashita, the executive officer in charge of Canon’s environmental policy.

“Because we are a corporate entity, we don’t make recycling efforts unless it is useful for our business. If you can recycle cheaply and reduce the burden on the environment then that’s good for your business too.”

But despite manufacturers’ efforts to go green, some disposal companies still dump dangerous materials, said Tetsuya Sekiguchi, an activist who has joined several residents’ lawsuits against waste landfills.

“I’ve been working on the problems of garbage pollution for decades, but the situation of illegal dumping has not improved a bit as there are few conscientious recycling companies,” he said.

Another challenge is “the impact of economic globalisation on the recycling industry,” said Yuichi Moriguchi, head of the waste and recycling research centre at the National Institute for Environmental Studies.

“Asian countries, led by China, are absorbing Japanese waste materials and thereby causing a shortage of materials for the Japanese recycling industry” which has the most sophisticated technologies, Moriguchi said.

Because of very basic and dangerous extraction methods — for example by burning the plastic off metal parts in the open — waste from Japan often causes health and environmental problems in other Asian countries, he said.

“We need to build an international system of recycling” so that Japan’s technologies can be fully utilised, Moriguchi said.

In the long term, he said, “it’s important to seek materials made from sustainable resources, such as plants, with less energy and less pollution … because relying on limited resources such as petroleum will bring trouble in the future”.

Canon and synthetic fibre maker Toray Industries Inc. have jointly developed a high quality plastic made from corn, which has been used in keyboards and components of its office machines.

“Even though it is made from corn, its fire resistance is about the same as that of conventional plastic,” Iwashita said.

To expand research into sustainable materials, he said, Canon needs other companies, including major materials manufacturers, to come on board.

“We can’t do it alone,” he said. “We have to work as a wider group.”

Source: AP

Ibuki Satellite on a Mission to Monitor Greenhouse Gases

Japan on Friday launched an H2A rocket carrying its Ibuki satellite on a mission to monitor greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. The Ibuki satellite is to observe for five years the concentration of carbon dioxide and methane, which cause global warming, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, which makes the H2A rocket.

The development cost for the greenhouse-gas monitoring satellite was $206 million, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said. The satellite is to measure levels of greenhouse gases at 56,000 locations around the globe.

The launch took place at the Tanegashima Space Centre in the southern province of Kagoshima and included seven smaller satellites that were developed by universities, private businesses, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The other satellites will be used to study communications functions.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries hopes to boost its space business if this mission succeeds, the Jiji Press reported.