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Archive for the category “Japan”

Hydrogen Out of Thin Air

“There is something in the air”… N2, O2, H2O, CO2, solar radiation. In principle all the ingredients are there to produce hydrogen H2, by using the solar light to split the moist H2O. That’s exactly what Japanese car company Toyota in Europe (TME) and DIFFER (Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research) have agreed to research upon. The self-imposed restriction of using moist, naturally present in the air, is justified by pointing at the pure character of the water vapor, no bubbles, as well as applicability in those places where water is not available.

new solid photoelectrochemical cell that was able to first capture water from ambient air and then produce hydrogen under the influence of sunlight. This first prototype immediately took 60 to 70 percent of the amount of hydrogen you can make from liquid water. The system is a membrane reactor in which polymer electrolyte membranes, porous photoelectrodes and materials that absorb water are combined.

When Toyota approached DIFFER, the latter group was already working on hydrolysis of water vapor. They have meanwhile shown that the idea works, but only for the 5% UV light. The next challenge is to expand the amount of light that can be used for the desired conversion. Once that has been achieved, scaling is next.

Both DIFFER and Toyota are operating in a social climate that is receptive towards hydrogen as an energy carrier. Both Japan as well as the Netherlands aspire to operate a hydrogen economy. The end goal is (very) local hydrogen production (like your roof), for instance for mobility, Toyota’s interest. Your home as the replacement for the petrol station.

Sunlight and this stand-alone prototype: all you need to produce hydrogen.

[gasworld.com] – DIFFER and Toyota partner to produce hydrogen from humid air
[differ.nl] – Hydrogen Fuel from thin air
[differ.nl] – Catalytic and Electrochemical Processes for Energy Application
[newsroom.toyota.eu] – Hydrogen fuel from thin air
[hydrogenfuelnews.com] – Toyota and DIFFER explore innovative hydrogen production from humid air
[nl.wikipedia.org] – DIFFER (fusion & solar fuels)

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Germany Missing Out on Power-to-Gas Revolution

[Source]

German magazine der Spiegel despairs at the way with which Germany plays a significant role as a power-to-gas (P2G) innovator, yet fails to make a commercial success out of its endeavors.

One of the largest P2G installations is located in Pritzwalk, in East-Germany. Capacity 360 m3/hour. The installation can be seen as an opposition against an all-electric world. In the Pritzwalk Region 4 times more renewable electricity is produced as is consumed. P2G-installations could absorb this electricity and store it locally, either as H2, NH3 or CH4. In several parts in Germany, renewable wind electricity production is regularly switched off because of overproduction. P2G-installations would fit in wonderfully here.

Germany has a natural gas grid of 500,000 km that could transport renewable H2 or CH4. The trouble is that Germany isn’t pushing hard enough to roll out P2G on a large scale. Other countries do: the Netherlands, Denmark and Japan as prime examples. Official German justification: too low efficiency, 50%. According to der Spiegel installations with 75% do exist and there is room for even better numbers.

[spiegel.de] – Die verschleppte Energierevolution
[deepresource] – The Netherlands is Placing its Bets on the Hydrogen Economy

Solid State Battery Breakthrough

Japan’s Tohoku University and the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization have announced that they accomplished a breakthrough with a new complex hydride lithium superionic conductor, with a record high energy density.

Keywords: hydrogen clusters (complex anions), high ionic conductivity, resulting in the ideal anode material for all-solid-state batteries.

Lithium is the most promising solid state battery material because of its very high theoretical energy density:

Lithium consumption required for a ~90kWh battery (size of useful car battery):

• Li -> Li+ + e- (3860 mAh/g-1)
• 1 kWh = 270,000 mAh ≈ 70 g of Li
• 90 kWh ≈ 6.3 kg of Li

[phys.org] – Highest energy density all-solid-state batteries now possible
[cleantechnica.com] – Awesome Solid State Battery Breakthrough News

Scientists Transmit Electricity Wirelessly Through the Air

Youtube text:

Since the 1960s, space enthusiasts and international space agencies have had one dream: to collect solar power and use it on earth. What seemed utopic more than 40 years ago is about to become reality: the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency JAXA especially is hell-bent on harvesting solar energy from space by 2030.

Researchers from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) managed to transfer 1.8 kilowatts of power via microwaves to a specific receiver located at a distance of 170 feet (55 meters). You may think that it’s not such an impressive distance, and the delivered energy was only enough to power an electric kettle, but the experiment opens up new prospects for alternative energy research. In particular, similar technology could be utilized for collecting solar energy in space and delivering it to Earth. In fact, this is how the International Space Station is powered – it converts sunlight into electric current with the help of solar cells placed on its solar array wings.

The Japanese Science and Economy and Trade Ministry are currently pushing the project, set to launch in 2030. Just last month they put together the Institute for Unmanned Space Experiment Free Flyer (USEF) consortium consisting of several high-tech giants such as Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, Fujitsu and Sharp. Given that Japan has few energy resources of its own and therefore relies heavily on oil imports, it is no surprise that the country has long been a leader when it comes to solar and other renewable energies.

It seems that after more than a century, someone eventually managed to come close to Nikola Tesla’s breakthrough in transferring wireless electric power. Japanese scientists for the first time succeeded in transmitting electricity wirelessly through the air.

In any case, I strongly believe that the world community will soon realize that alternative sources of energy are the only way for humanity to survive. While definitely different than Tesla’s idea of FREE energy, if the SSPS is finally implemented, we would have a permanent supply of wireless electric power regardless of the time of the day and the weather conditions.

Japan Could Mine Methane-Hydrates as of 2030

We stopped worrying about “peak oil” a long time ago. Instead we worry that there is too much fossil fuel left and that the world doesn’t move to renewables fast enough.

[bbc.com] – Why ‘flammable ice’ could be the future of energy
[deepresource] – The Sudden Death of Peak Oil – 4.5 Trillion Barrels of Oil Left

The State of Solar

[worldatlas.com] – Countries That Use The Most Solar Power
[energy-charts.de] – Electricity-production in Germany

Offshore Wind in Japan

Youtube text: “A number of projects are under way around Japan’s coast to develop offshore wind power Japan has developed an advanced form of this platform that it expects will create demand in the rest of the world.

Fast Charging Your Car With Toyota in 2022

[source]

Current e-vehicles use lithium ion batteries. Solid state batteries with higher energy density do exist but they are too expensive for an average car. Toyota however seems to be in a position to produce affordable solid state batteries by 2022. Apart from higher energy density per unit of weight and extra advantage is that these batteries can be charged in minutes.

[reuters.com] – Toyota set to sell long-range, fast-charging electric cars in 2022

Mitsubishu Hydraulic Driven 7MW Offshore Wind Turbine

Hydraulics topic starts at [0:25].

Youtube text: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries worked with Artemis Intelligent Power to build this prototype 7MW offshore wind-turbine which is now on test at Hunterston in Scotland. The video shows the rotor blades being made and the building and testing of the wind turbine’s Digital Displacement® hydraulic transmission at Yokohama.

Youtube text: Construction of the largest wind turbine in diameter in the world at 167m. The sea angel was designed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Construction was in December 2014. Working with SSE, MHI Vestas, Artemis Intelligent Power, Innovate UK, and Department for Business Innovation and Skills to complete.

The Sea Angel Turbine is 7MW output and located within 1 mile of Hunterston Nuclear Power Station in Renfrewshire, West Scotland.

[windminds.com] – Mitsubishi 7MW Sea Angel Floating Turbine
[windpowerengineering.com] – Hello SeaAngel: Hydraulic drive train could provide 7 MW offshore turbine
[beta.machinedesign.com] – Hydraulic Wind Turbines?

P.S. in this design the generator is still located in the nacelle.

Methane Hydrates

MethaneHydrates_Global_Map][source]
Some people believe that methane hydrates, located at the bottom of the sea, could be part of a future energy solution. Recently a Japanese firm reported that it had produced non-commercial quantities of methane from methane hydrates, present ca. 300m below the sea bed at 1000m depth near the Japanese coast.

[ogi.com]
[wikipedia.org

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Fukushima To Be Replaced By 1 GW Windfarm

First-Japanese-Offshore-Wind-Farm-to-Start-Operating-in-January[source]
Should become the world’s largest offshore windfarm, consisting of 143 turbines, 16 km off the coast of Fukushima. Completion date 2020.

[deccanchronicle.com]

Iceland Pushes Geothermal Energy Use In Japan

japan_monkee_geothermal
A Japanese macaque swims in a geothermal hot spring in the mountains of Japan. ow ironic that Stefan Larus Stefansson, Ambassador of Iceland to Japan, needs to tell the Japanese how big their potential for geothermal energy actually is, using his own country as an illustration. Interesting detail: most of the geothermal turbines operational in Iceland were made in Japan. 66% of the energy in Iceland comes from geothermal sources. Japan in contrast, despite having the world’s third-largest potential for geothermal energy, built its last geothermal energy plant in 1999, and all research funding from the government ceased in 2003, when the japanese government decided to put most of its cards on nuclear energy. Effectively Japan could replace 25 nuclear power stations with geothermal energy. 92 percent of houses in Iceland are heated by geothermal hot water, and heating prices are the lowest in Northern Europe.

[unu.edu]

Where Does Everybody Gets Its Oil From?

[source]
USA 2010

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Japanese Ambassador About Fukushima

The ambassador Kohei Murata paints a bleak picture of the situation in Fukushima.

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20 GW Geothermal Potential In Japan

[source]
Since the Fukushima desaster Japan is looking for alternative ways of generating energy for its economy. Geothermal energy definately is a candidate. Japan has the third largest reserves after Indonesia and the US. Currently Japan generates 535MW of geothermal energy, the eighth producer in the world. That’s 0.2% of Japan’s total output.

[nytimes.com]
[wikipedia]
[wikipedia – geothermal in Japan]

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Solar energy boom on horizon for Japan


In the wake of the Fukushima desaster Japan has announced ambitious plans to boost solar power generation. What is special here is that there are no large-scale sar projects planned, but rather that the government will set the price of electricy. Industry Minister Yukio Edano may set a premium price for solar electricity that’s about triple what industrial users now pay for conventional power, a ministry official said. Read more…

Japan Asks For Power Usage Cuts


Welcome to the new reality of energy scarcity. If a highly advanced country like Japan asks its citizens to voluntarily cut energy use, one can be assured that something big is in the making. In western Japan energy consumers will be asked to reduce demand by at least 15% compared with peak levels in the summer of 2010 for the period from July 2 through Sept. 7. The power cuts are linked to the nuclear power stations that were taken off the grid after the desaster in Fukushima. There is no reason not to assume that this will be a recurring pattern in the years to come, until the moment arrives where electricity will be rationed.

[WSJ]

Japan to become neo-medieval?


Dejima and Nagasaki Bay, circa 1820. Two Dutch ships and numerous Chinese trading junks are depicted.

Kunstler in his yesterday column writes: “all of which points to the likelihood that Japan will become the first advanced industrial nation to bid sayonara to modernity and return to a neo-medieval socio-economic model of daily life.” Kunstler has earlier acknowledged that the days of globalism are over in the long run in the light of resource depletion, first and foremost oil. It is ironic that it had been the US that in 1854 under commodore Matthew Perry had forced Japan to open up for world trade. Before that Japan always had been a closed, read nationalist society, that did not need combustion engines to keep it’s society going. The only contact Japan had with the West up until 1854 was with the Dutch on the small island of Desima.
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