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The Niigata Prefectural government announced on April 7, 2010, that it will conduct an experiment involving a geothermal binary-cycle power generation system at Matsunoyama Onsen – a hot spring resort area in Tokamachi City. This power generation system will be jointly tested by the Geothermal Energy Research & Development Co. (GERD) and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) as a three-year project from fiscal 2010. This project will be conducted in coordination with the Ministry of the Environment. These organizations aim to develop, demonstrate and promote a geothermal power generation system with no impact on the hot spring or the local power grid.
The power generation system will be constructed at one of three hot springs located in a hot spring resort called “Taka no Yu,” which opened in 2007. It will apply a binary-cycle power generation system using hot spring water at a temperature of 97.2 degrees Celsius and ammonia water with a low boiling point. Under this system, the water from the hot spring will boil the ammonia water into vapor which will then be directed to a turbine. After being utilized for power generation, the temperature of the hot water will still be around 50 degrees, appropriate for bathing. This is the nation’s first experiment to produce power from a hot spring with a water temperature below 100 degrees Celsius.
The power generator will be a 50-kilowatt micro-turbine developed by NEDO, with annual capacity up to 416,000 kilowatts. GERD and NEDO plan to conduct a development and feasibility study of the system in FY2010, and install and test it from FY2011 to FY2012. During the testing, they will also conduct a series of impact assessments including monitoring of underground water levels and temperatures of neighboring hot springs, and analyze the cause of past changes in water volume.
Kaoru Iwamoto, a specially appointed Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical System Engineering at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology Graduate School of Engineering, announced on March 11, 2010, that he has successfully developed a technology which reduces the turbulent frictional resistance that occurs when fluids flow by using pulsation to reestablish laminar flow. He came about this discovery after observing the pulsating motion of the flow of blood. Using this technology he has achieved a maximum of approximately 58 percent reduction in the energy needed to move gases and liquids in pipelines. This is part of an industrial technology research project subsidized by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).
This technology can be applied to almost all fluids in pipelines, and can also be used for moving gases such as natural gas, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The system is easy to construct; by simply changing the pump control method, which drives the fluids, heat loss throughout a piping system is significantly reduced, thereby improving the thermal insulation.
The university intends to promote research and development so that the technology may be put to practical use, and is proposing joint development, technological consultation and exchange of views with companies and organizations that already have expertise in the fields of pipeline technology and district heating and cooling (DHC).
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) announced on February 10, 2010, that it will make use of the exemplary water-supply technology owned by the city of Tokyo to combat global water issues, and has set up an implementation plan to realize this international contribution. Responding to demands for private enterprises to develop businesses in the water sector, the TMG Bureau of Waterworks has formulated this implementation plan to work together with Tokyo Waterworks Service Co. under the management of the Bureau, which is making a 51 percent investment in the company.
The implementation plan has three phases. The first is to establish a research group to examine overseas conditions. The aim of this phase is to collect and organize domestic and international information by identifying foreign needs, and private businesses and enterprises at hearings, and at the same time, to consider business models that meet these needs. By the end of April 2010, 36 government bodies and businesses had participated in such hearings.
The second phase is to send a mission group overseas to combat global water issues. This will involve assessing the risks and needs of targeted countries, and promoting the technology and know-how of the Tokyo waterworks system. The Bureau will be dispatching to 10 countries over the course of three years, beginning in FY 2010. At present their emphasis is on the Asian region. From August through October they plan to dispatch a mission group to around 3 countries. The bureau is currently in the process of choosing these dispatch countries through information gained at hearings.
The final phase involves development of business model planning. The Bureau will be accepting orders for consultations, as well as orders for facility management by the Tokyo Waterworks Service Co.
Tokyo Gas Co. and Osaka Gas Co. announced on May 14, 2010, that they are launching an initiative called the Smart Energy Network Demonstration Project. The network will introduce considerable amounts of renewable energy and currently unused energy to dispersed energy systems, and will employ information technologies (IT) to optimally control energy supply and demand.
The demonstration project will be divided into two systems. The first (System A) is aimed at optimization through the interchange of electricity and heat within specific areas. The second (System B) is aimed at optimization across larger areas by linking geographically scattered System A communities and large cogeneration systems. The project is expected to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by over 30 percent.
Tokyo Gas Co. is in charge of System A, where electricity and heat supplied by high-efficiency cogeneration, solar heat collection, and solar power generation facilities installed at the Tokyo Gas Senju Techno Station (Arakawa Ward, Tokyo) will be interchanged among multiple buildings both in and out of the compound.
Osaka Gas is in charge of System B, and it will build a remote supervisory control system in order to optimize electricity interchange. The system will link the Iwasaki Energy Center, an existing district cooling and heating facility in the city of Osaka, with solar power generation facilities in about four locations, including the city of Kakogawa in Hyogo Prefecture and the city of Konan in Shiga Prefecture, as well as with five customer cogeneration facilities.
Kobe Steel Ltd. and three major Japanese power companies, Chubu Electric Power Co., Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Kansai Electric Power Co., announced on February 9, 2010, that they have jointly developed a high-efficiency hot water heat pump (HEM-HR90). The HEM-HR90 is the first heat pump of its kind to achieve a same-time supply of hot water at 90 degrees Celsius and chilled water at 7 degrees Celsius. The system is capable of dramatically reducing both costs and environmental impact.
In food and electronics factories, hot water is circulated to clean up materials through a boiler and chilled water is circulated for air conditioning or cooling through a refrigeration equipment. Conventional heat pumps supplying hot and chilled water efficiently from a single piece of equipment have previously been limited to supplying hot water at 70 degrees Celsius when supplying chilled water at 7 degrees Celsius.
However, the HEM-HR90 is able to efficiently and simultaneously supply hot water at 70 to 90 degrees Celsius and chilled water at 5 to 30 degrees Celsius by utilizing a two-stage screw compressor, by adjusting the electric motor to operate at higher temperatures and by selecting an adequate refrigerant. The system can be adapted to a heating process that yields hot water at 70 to 90 degrees Celsius, for applications such as thermal sterilization and hot-water washing.
When compared to conventional heat pumps that combine a boiler and refrigeration equipment, the HEM-HR90 can reduce running costs and energy consumption by approximately 60 percent, and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 70 percent.
Okamura Corporation, a Japanese machinery and construction firm, announced on May 10, 2010, that it has started to sell a power consumption visualization system “OFFICE NAVI”. By connecting electric power meters to the power distribution board in the office, the OFFICE NAVI quantifies and graphs on a monitor where and how much electric power is being consumed. The system was developed in cooperation with the IT company IP Square.
The visualization system consists of a touch-panel monitor called the Smart Station, electric power gauging meters, and a local server. The power gauging meter has several functions, including measuring current power consumption and reporting to the Smart Station when the consumption exceeds a target level. The local server controls the Smart Sensors and accumulates the data. Graphing the accumulated data helps to identify any wasted electricity and room for improving efficiency.
Since the amendment of the Act on the Rational Use of Energy (known as the Energy Conservation Law) took effect in April 2010, the number of companies being regulated has increased. For such companies, the system provides optional software to prepare regular reports, which comply with the Act, as required by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).
The megacity of Tokyo is like a country in many ways. It consumes as much energy as entire countries in Northern Europe, and its production matches the GNP of the world’s 16th largest country. And even before the national government of Japan took action, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) has made major changes to steer Tokyo toward being a low-carbon city. It has made steadily progress in achieving results by designing and implementing effective measures, including the launch of a made-in-Tokyo emissions cap-and-trade program in April 2010. In this article, we introduce the measures that the TMG has implemented to address climate change, the results, and prospects for the future.
In June 2007, the TMG formulated the Tokyo Climate Change Strategy as a basic plan for the “10-Year Project for a Carbon-Minus Tokyo,” one of the measures aimed at realizing “Tokyo’s Big Change — The 10-year Plan,” formulated in December 2006. This strategy clarifies Tokyo’s basic policy on measures against climate change in the next decade and introduces major initiatives. The TMG says it “formulated this strategy in order to pose leading measures instead of depending on the national government — which has not yet been able to produce effective and workable plans — and take the lead in taking action on climate change.”
Tokyo Climate Change Strategy
The main points of the strategy are: (1) creation of a mechanism to bring Japan’s environmental technologies into full play; (2) creation of a mechanism to encourage large businesses, smaller businesses, and households to achieve carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction in accordance within their own capacities and on their own; (3) implementation of strategic and intensive measures during the first three to four years as an initial period of the shift towards a low-carbon society; and (4) the use of private and public funds, tax incentives, and bold implementation of the investments needed to achieve CO2 emissions reduction.
About half Tokyo’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from the commercial and industrial sectors, and the other half is from the household and transportation sectors. Forty percent of emissions from the commercial and industrial sectors are emitted by large establishments, which the TMG set as the main target of its initiatives.
Tokyo set up five policies and major initiatives, including one to “powerfully advance CO2 reduction measures by companies.” Above all, defining the responsibility of large CO2 emitters to reduce their emissions and introducing the cap-and-trade scheme stirred considerable controversy, since the national government was far behind schedule with full-scale introduction of emissions trading; it was still at the level of discussing and testing a voluntary national emissions trading system.
About three years have passed since the Tokyo Climate Strategy was launched. So what has been achieved so far?
One of the TMG’s major achievements is the pioneering approach it has used to establish new initiatives, such as the cap-and-trade program it implemented in collaboration with companies and business groups in Tokyo. As part of the introduction of new initiatives for companies, households, and city planning in the Tokyo Climate Change Policy, it started various programs in accordance with the strategy within three years of its launch, including the cap-and-trade program which requires mandatory CO2 reductions from CO2 emitters that are large establishments and sets up an emissions trading system, a reporting program that requires small and medium-sized companies to report on their efforts to save energy, and enhancing a series of measures for sustainable urban development. These are pioneering efforts in Japan, and also represent some of the most leading-edge initiatives in the world.
In particular, Tokyo’s cap-and-trade program, launched in April 2010, was the world’s third such initiative, following the European Union Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading System (EU-ETS) launched in 2005, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the United States in 2009, the first mandatory, market-based initiative implemented by ten American Northwest and mid-Atlantic states to reduce their GHG emissions. It should be noted that the TMG’s program (Tokyo-ETS) is the first among these to set targets for business sectors.
Mitsubishi Estate Co., the owner of Shin-Marunouchi Building, and Idemitsu Kosan Co. announced on December 9, 2009, that they have agreed to meet all the energy demands of the building using renewable energy generated by Idemitsu. This will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by about 20,000 tons per year. The Shin-Marunouchi Building is a 38-floor skyscraper complex with shops and offices.
It is the first example in Japan of green power, 100 percent renewable energy, being sent directly from power plants to the user. Idemitsu will supply electricity generated at the wind power stations in Aomori Prefecture through electrical grids owned by the electric power company.
Both companies plan to utilize the interregional cooperation structure to promote renewable energy, established by Tokyo, Chiyoda Ward and Aomori Prefecture.