2013年10月29日

A Study of Japan’s Nuclear Safety Issues from the view of Risk and Crisis Managemen

A Study of Japan’s Nuclear Safety Issues from the view of Risk and Crisis Management

Lecturer:
Dr. Masayasu Miyabayashi
Professor for the Study of Risk and Crisis Management, Chiba Institute of Science

Outline:

Today’s theme is to consider issues on Nuclear Safety from the point of view of Risk and Crisis Management Field.

Dr. Miyabayashi entered Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 1967 after he graduated from the Department of Synthetic Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering, the University of Tokyo. Three Mile Island accident happened right before he was assuming the position as First Secretary of Embassy of Japan in the United States of America; it gave him the opportunity to experience, see and observe the nuclear accidents firsthand and at near. His career was developed to science and technology policymaking and activities promotion as well as atomic energy research administration, and he served as Director General of Nuclear Safety Bureau in 1995, at Science and Technology Agency. Ever since 2004, he has been involving with the Risk and Crisis management Study at Chiba Institute of Science.
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1. Overview

It is regrettable that the current Risk Management Study tends to emphasize only reduction of risk before incidents and that once the harm is done, only top-to-down instruction by the “Management” who sit behind the table is expected. What we need is to open broader mind to incorporate human factors or tendencies into realistic Risk and Crisis Management method.

(1) Risk and Crisis Management Concept

“Before” and “After” the outbreak of crisis must be considered as a part of the whole issue. The bottom line is to put the outbreak of crisis in scope, and we focus on keeping the harm to the tolerable and manageable level when the harm is done, therefore our strategy should be on how to manage the possible damage. Prioritizing the matters is the most critical attitude in total risk management. Partial optimization is the worst attitude.

(2) Basic Concept

We need to be mindful that there is no perfect world - Human makes mistakes; We live in cognitive bias and in distortion. Our human behavior is restricted and impacted by the organizational culture. This being said, our multi-layered defense system needs to be stretched to our working environment, how to lead our way of life in addition to the hardware side.
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2. Consider Nuclear Safety from Fukushima Nuclear Plant Accident


1. Radioactive debris splattered around from the hydrogen explosion
2. Fuel got exposed due to the meltdown.
These phenomena were similar to what assumed at Three Mile Island accidents.



Tokyo Electric Power – Tokyo Electric Power underestimated and ignored warning and forecast of Giant Tsunami.

Government – The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency in METI who was supposed to have first responsibility of giving instruction and supervision threw the entire decision making responsibility to the Cabinet behind the table.

Others – Japanese social trend is of taking the technology as one partial aspect rather than the whole complexity mechanism.


1. Organizational structure and cultural trend
Assignment of human resources have been segmented and disconnected between the general administration and technical and engineer specialists; most of the times, it gives the impression that general administration is superior, and just theory and formality walks by itself.
2. Human Resources and technology
The standard contract for the nuclear plant construction is turnkey system, and deeply depends on the subcontracting. This environment makes it very difficult to all around technical engineer to grow.
3. Management
Top management is not thorough with the actual complicated engineering field, and dominant mainstream executive team has a biased mind to the nuclear technology.
4. Knowledge and Head on Risk and Crisis management
It is hard to say that urgency and the needs of the systematic educational program of Risk and Crisis management are recognized among government body or management of nuclear plant operation companies.
5. Regulations
It is necessary the safety approval is merged with the permission of the design and construction methods. Review and licensing system for nuclear facilities must be simplified and its transparency is increased.

6. Others – Public Awareness

There is strong emotional opposition toward nuclear plants among public. On the other hands, advocating groups tend to insist the necessity of nuclear energy with the view of energy supply and without the enough reflection and recollection toward what did not work out in the safety myths; these extreme opposites are contradicting to each other. What we are lacking most is the humble and sincere attitude in monitoring the risk at all times and dealing with the risk immediately once it was found.

3. Current report on Fukushima Nuclear Plant
Fukushima continues to have some danger and risk, with the unsolved problems. I am afraid we are losing the total sight of Fukushima by focusing too much segmented attention onto the radiological contaminated water problem.
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4. Challenges and Conclusion

Audience went utterly silent when the following our nation’s challenging problems were risen.

〇 Risk is always existing whether or not the nuclear plant is in operation.
〇 The maintaining cost is constantly incurred and the needs of human resources will be never eliminated till all facilities are demolished after a plant is shut down.
〇 Total decision making of our nation about analysis and management of risks regarding this matter is necessary, as well as securing the human resources.

The Q&A session after the seminar was very down to earth. Especially it was impressive when one of the audiences questioned that our senior generation is too old to solve the problem and we should wait for the younger generation to grow and mature, Dr. Miyabayashi answered with conviction that our senior generation is responsible for leading and taking this task in our hand.

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2013年04月25日

Secret of Hot Springs - Hot Springs for Beauty and Health

April 25, 2013
Secret of Hot Springs - Hot Springs for Beauty and Health
(Summarized by Akira Mishima)

Lecturer:
Mr. Masayuki Hamada
President, International Institute of Hot Springs, Ltd.,

Outline:

Hot Springs is an eternally attractive topic. The seminar was open by introducing legendary spring “The Fountain of Youth" (Der Jungbrunnen" by Lucus Cranach and the painting of The Chinese Beauty Yang Guifei bath. The lecture covered the natural scientific definition of hot springs, and sanatorium springs; comparison of bath salts; various well-known springs; effect of hot springs and view and challenges of Evidence Based Medicine.
It was concluded by the suggestion of how hot springs can contribute to enhance our quality of life and how to evolve and improve our society by visiting hot springs. We all agreed that the myth and the fact that hot springs can bring the health and beauty.
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Hot Springs:
The painting of The Fountain of Youth expresses the male gets revived and rejuvenated by the love of the female who gets revived and beautified by the hot springs. It is very symbolic.
Three major springs in Japan: Kawanaka Springs in Gunma prefecture, Ryuujin Springs in Wakayama prefecture and Yunokawa Springs in Shimane prefecture: they are known as beautifying springs - these springs commonly consists of alkalescent that contributes to the smooth skin.

Definition of the hot spring: water temperature is above 25C above the surface and/or water contains the sufficient substance above the certified amount by the regulation. Owakudani of Hakone is also hot springs although they are steam and other type of gas. It is qualified as hot springs as long as any one substance, which is described in “Hot Springs Law, The Second Chapter, Table 2”, is the certain amount.

The definition of sanatorium springs is different from hot springs. Quantity and quality must be certified according to the specific Table. Imagine that the certified sanatorium springs contain more than 7 packs of regular bath powder. Good springs are God's blessing!
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The number of sanatorium springs is said to be nine kinds or eleven kinds, and there are new and old of two ways of calling quality of springs. Carbon dioxide spring helps warm the body by stimulation of blood circulation caused by the carbon dioxide gas in the water. Hydrogen carbonate spring is also well known as beauty springs because it brings the pleasant cooling effect by emulsifying fat and bodily secretion. Therefore, it is also called "cooling bath". One third of hot springs in Japan are chloride springs; what it does is to form salt coating in the water and it helps body to be warm. When the chief component is sulfate anion, it is called sulfate springs, but when its components are cation, how the spring is called also varies. What makes Bitter spring, of course it will taste bitter, is sulfate ion: when cation is natrium, it is sodium sulfate spring, when cation is calcium, it is gypsum spring, and when the cation is magnesium, it is bitter spring. Iron bath is good for anemia and chronicle digestive system malfunction and hemorrhoid, by bathing and drinking.

When the quantity of iron is excessive, iron oxide cause the water color and the bath tub into brown. Sulfur spring is very common, and it is categorized by two kinds if the spring emits the volcanic odor caused by hydrogen sulfide or not. The major cause of the accidents and injury around the hot springs is caused by four types of gas: hydrogen sulfide gas, sulfurous acid gas, carbon dioxide, and methane gas. Methane gas is lighter than the air, but the rest of three is stagnate around the bottom because they are heavier than the air, so to avoid the excessive inhale of the gas, we should not stay at the mouth of the spring too long. We should also not stay too long around the fumarolic field. Acid spring can be too strong to our skin, the erosion can cause acid sore skin. It is researched that the bodily risk from the exposure to the radiation in the springs is considered least. As for the effect of radiant springs, it is known as radon effect, but the reason of the effect is still under research and study.
Simple hot springs is not necessarily simple, but it only means that the ingredients and components are somewhat below certain quantity, and most of Japanese famous hot springs are categorized as simple hot springs.

Geography of hot springs and mineral springs

30% of springs are salt based springs, and 30% is simple springs, these cover the majority of hot springs in Japan. I would say people have the impression that the most popular spring is with the odor of rotten eggs, but in fact it only is 11% of total springs.

Hot Springs effect

The total effect of relaxation of our organism in relation with the hot springs will arise from (1) components of the springs, (2) exercise and the nutrition, and (3) the natural environment of the spring location. These three will work as total balanced effect to our organism. It will be ideal to stay in the relaxing spring for about two or three weeks to start feeling the effect in our body and mind. Hot springs must have some positive effect to our mind and body, and it is not just been measurable by the Evidence Based Medicine.

The ideal style is that we work diligently and work hard, and we take long-break and spend vacation at hot springs and taking natural bath three times daily for about two weeks and return to work, the cycle of refresh and work will eventually lead us to the sound and sustainable healthy society.
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2013年03月21日

Future and Function of Agriculture - the road toward building the society to coexist with nature

March 21, 2013
Future and Function of Agriculture - the road toward building the society to coexist with nature

Lecturer:
Dr. Mutsuo IwamotoCouncilor Executive
Japan Association for Techno-Innovation in Agriculture,Forestry and Fisheries

Outline:

Graduate from Kyushu University, Department of Agriculture, and worked as researcher at Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, and came into the head office of the ministry at the age of 47; he has been at the department of engineering development, Tokai Agricultural Policy Committee, and got involved with various area including bio mass.
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Agricultural gross production declined to 0.9% (5.3 trillion yen) of Gross Domestic Product; however, the value of diverse function of agriculture and forest practice is 78 trillion yen.  'Agriculture" represents natural ecosystem itself, and the agriculture must be the core enterprise in order to build the society to co-exist with law of nature. We have a mission of enhancing agriculture's potential for the diverse functionality, and low carbon and cyclical pattern must be developed in agriculture. 
 
Agriculture is a spine of our nation (quote by Tadazumi Sakai, Shounai Province local lord 1853-1915): In ancient times, people spoke of their country as the "land blessed with rice," reflecting the important role of rice not only as a staple food but also as the foundation of Japanese life and culture.  We have a mission to protect this asset, and this was the significant point emphasized at the Prime Minister Abe's propaganda.
 
However, the regret of Agricultural policy is that the too much inward-looking perspective has been weighed and has been taken a defensive stance too much. We lacked the idea of exporting our proud agricultural technology or agricultural product of high values to overseas, in other word, our agricultural brain of MAFF was short of export policy DNA. 
 
Back in 1965, agriculture was industry full of dream and profit. No dream is found in the current land-extensive farming because it did not change along with the change of times.  On the other hand, Greenhouse horticulture, flower gardening and part of livestock has a lot of potential and we are starting to export and going outward.  Our challenge and task is how to keep up with all-out attack rice cropping business to survive in international competition. 
 
The all-out attack of Japan Agriculture has kicked off in 1999 when “The Basic Law on Food, Agriculture and Rural Areas” came in effect.  The general provision is to encourage diverse function in agriculture; drive forward with sixed-order industrialization (1x2x3) joint by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI); and accelerate structural reform, and to promote export of Japan's dainty and safe food.
 
Hieroglyph of character "agriculture" is symbolic: the upper part of the letter means forest, and the lower part of the character represents bivalve (clam).  Therefore, the letter shows the concept of "harmony with nature" - we receive the blessed crop by burning the forest, cultivating the land with clam shell, and we irrigate the water and plant the rice. 
 
As for the regulation, the only regulatory barrier is stated that the stock corporation cannot possess farmland.  The definition of farmhouse means that the family owns the land minimum of 10 are.  The improvement was made where stock corporation can operate the agriculture business by either renting or leasing the farmland.  It marks a watershed in the agricultural historic reconciliation.
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The Q&A session was lively with topics like: low energy agriculture by collecting the solar power, food insufficiency by global population growth, massive exodus in the rural area by the effect of tsunami, and the exclusion of the family from the Union due to the fatal damage of the shore.  The brief discussion was held regarding direct payment negotiations of compensation between Trans Pacific-Partnership and agricultural families. 
 
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2013年02月22日

February 22, 2013 Renewable Energy and Sustainable Society

Lecturer:
Dr. Haruki Tsuchiya
President, Research Institute for Systems Technology

Outline:
It has been over two years from the unforgettable day of 3.11. We hear everywhere about the pros and cons of nuclear power, danger of global warming with carbon dioxide emission increase due to the over consumption of fossil fuel, etc. Today's topic is from the point of view of enhancing the technical efficiency in saving energy, and utilizing the renewable energy source to create Sustainable Society.  

1. Introduction of Dr. Tsuchiya
Dr. Tsuchiya graduated from Tokyo University, Major in Mechanical Engineering. While he was still in school, he formed Computer Technique Group teaming with group of graduate students from Tama Art University and Musashino Art University. He contributed to the formation of computer graphic system and he is known worldwide. Later on, he invented digital book jointly with NEC. Currently, he is a Founder and the President of Research Institute for Systems Technology.
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2. Soft Energy Paths
In 1976, Amory B, Lovins published "Soft Energy Paths", and it marked the best seller at the time, and after four decades, his theory stood well in time. In brief, here is the contrast of Soft Energy Paths and Hard Energy Paths:
(1) Hard Energy Paths - Experts in the energy fields back then anticipated that, as the industry and energy demand boost endlessly at a geometric rate, it was forecasted and warned that the energy needs would be alternated with nuclear and coal. Obviously, environmental burden is heavy in this theory.

(2) Soft Energy Paths - Lovins advocated that renewable energy can be explored and energy efficiency can be enhanced to create the whole society with energy efficient system. This prediction was right on the mark and was proved right after all and we sustain manageable energy demand.

3. Current surroundings of Fossil Fuel
Here is the forecast of reserve-production ratio of fossil fuels: 46 years for petroleum, 119 years for coal. Shale gas is very hot item, but it will eventually dry up, inevitably.
On the other hand, the benefit of natural gas is environmentally friendly by smaller carbon dioxide emission rate; and many ways of combination between renewable energy and natural gas are considerable.

4. Sustainable Development
Herman Daly proposed the energy inequality to express the sustainable conditions based on the belief and faith that we have to work toward the balance of meeting the human needs and preservation for the future generation and us at the current.
(1) Deforestation - speed of renewable resource consumption < forestation and planting - speed of forest recovery and growth of renewable resource
(2) Petroleum Consumption - speed of exhaustible resources consumption < speed of developing renewable energy sources (Solar Power Generation)
(3) Carbon Dioxide discharge - speed of waste release < Absorb of Carbon Dioxide - speed for nature to safely absorb half of carbon dioxide

5. Characteristics of Renewable Energy
(1) Solar Power Generation: Solar power generation - 13-20% out of 1kw/m2 of solar energy can be transferred to electricity. In Japan's climate, 1,000 hours/annually will be usable (by the calculation of 8,760 hour = 365 days x 24 hours)
(2) Solar heat - 30-70% out of total solar energy is collectable as a heat. The higher the usage value where the bigger the temperature gap.
(3) Wind Power - 25-40% of total wind can be usable as energy when 1-20 kw/m2, which is proportional to cube of the speed of wind.
(4) Biomass - Fixed at 1-2% out of total annual solar energy. Biomass can collect the carbon dioxide in the air and is stackable energy.
(5) Wave Power - Energy density is most thick at 5-25 kW per 1 meter of coastline. The strength of the facility is the challenge; as some facilities have been knocked down by the strong wave.

Lineup by the energy density is as follows: wave power > wind power > solar power > biomass
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6. Economical Efficiency of Solar Power Generation
Price of Solar battery - investment cost can be paid off in about 14 years as follows:
(6) 1.5 million yen = battery per household average 3 kW x 500,000 yen/kw
(7) 3kw x 1,000 hours = 3,000 kWh
(8) To purchase this with FIT of 42 yen per 1hkw plus adding the availability of initial government aid.

Solar battery was introduced in 1979, the production increased over 30 years and the cost declined. Government aid was expired in 2004 and it goes into the bust period, and the aid was recovered and renewed in 2012 and again rising. However, the cost does not show too much decline from 500,000 yen per kW.

7. Wind Power Potential
Potential for wind power is projected as 0.28 billion kW for wind on land, and 1.57 billion kW on ocean. The strongest location on land wind is Hokkaido, and the strongest location on ocean is Kyushu. Scale of worldwide wind power generation (0.2 billion kW) has already been marked as economically efficient investment target. 25 million kW for USA, 23 million kW for Germany, 6 million kW for China, and 2 million kW for Japan.

8. Experience Curve
Experience Curve is the theory that massive production cost rapidly declines according to cumulative production volume. Then, the production cost gets closely aligned to the material cost. Both in solar and wind power industry, cost has been coming down as the experience curve theory. When the production goes up double, the reduction on cost shows 80% (solar) and 90% (wind). To take this number to the future projection, the cost by the year 2050 should be less than 200,000 yen per kW.

9. Feed-In-Tariff
Feed-in-Tariff System was implemented from 2012. Some examples are:
(1) Solar power house: Cost- 480,000~550,000 yen per kW / FIT- 42 yen per kWh / Term - 10 years
(2) Industrial use of solar power: Cost - 350,000~550,000 yen per kW / FIT - 42 yen per kWh / Term - 20 years
(3) Wind power over 20 kW: Cost - 200,000~350,000 yen per kW / FIT - 23 yen per kWh / Term - 20 years

Especially, industrial solar power station is in prime and rising as a gold rush. Investment cost can be paid off in 8 years and it will go around with 8% profit afterwards.

10. Method to reduce Carbon Dioxide emission
(1) Implementation of energy high efficiency technology - LED light, hybrid car
(2) Efficiency enhanced social system - encouragement of public transportation, higher taxation for vehicle
(3) Change of life style - encouragement for smaller vehicle, cool biz campaign
(4) Enlarge the usage of renewable energy - solar, wind power, biomass

11. Supply Scenario of Renewable Energy
Energy saving --> Cutback of electricity demand --> Reduction of carbon dioxide emission
Supply from renewable energy: solar, wind, water, terrestrial heat, biomass --> Reduction of carbon dioxide emission
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12. 2050 Conjectural Demand Curve published by WWF
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is the largest organization for protection the nature, but also it advocates the scientifically proved data as their project guideline. The activities centered on creating the sustainable environment such as: climate change, forest preservation, oceanic preservation, marine product control, agriculture, water, etc.
Japan branch of WWF estimates that GDP is increasing up to 2050 but the energy demand at 2050 will be about 80% of 2008, because of energy saving and decreasing population, industrial production rate of the natural resources and material
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13. Efficiency to combine Solar and Wind
Sunlight is most efficient between 6 am to 6pm. And sunlight is more available from spring to summer. Although wind energy is generated for 24 hours, the amount is seasonally inconsistent - smaller in summer and larger in winter, unlike sunlight. Therefore, the variance of the availability gap can be balanced if we combine the solar and wind power.

14. Electricity Supply by Environmentally Friendly Natural Energy 2050
Transition of solar power and wind power will be obtained by the discharge of pumped storage and battery. We supply water power at the peak hour of afternoon to evening time. Power is generated all year round on a consistent amount by the geothermal power plant. We can reduce the fluctuation of individual natural power output by combing use of natural energies.

15. Summary - Future to the Energy Cropping Society
The society of hunting and collecting energy, dig fossil energy from underground and emit carbon dioxide, will eventually dry up. Therefore, we are proposing the society of cropping energy - receive and collect solar energy on the surface of the ground, we utilize solar energy, solar heat, biomass and wind power just like the farming and cropping of the source, and we work toward energy efficiency enhancement and work toward the comedown of energy demand with a broad view of creating the sustainable society.

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2013年01月24日

January 24, 2013 Environmental Risks and our society

Lecturer:
Dr. Norihisa Tatarazako
Senior researcher, Integrated Environmental Risk Research Section, Center for Environmental Risk Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies
Guest Professor, Division of Environmental Studies, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo

Outline:
We live in a society with so many chemical substances that we cannot even count, and it is urgent matter to appropriately control and manage the environmental risks caused by the chemical substances. As a matter of fact, newly emerging chemical substance comes out much faster than we put the limit to it by the current Emission Concentration Regulation.

We need to watch out for the changes among chemical substances, and we have to come up with how to deal with the non-regulated substances - we need Whole Effluent Toxicity Testing (WET) to the supplemental measure on top of Substance Control Act.
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1. What are environmental risks?
• How do we state "good" and "bad" environment?
• How do we state "risk' and "risk-free"? - Risk to whom? Risk to what?
• How do we state "good place to live" and "bad place to live"? - It gives many dimensions depending on the target.
• How much are we supposed to protect living organism?
• Is agrichemical "good" or "bad"? It is a fundamental question - is it good to kill all plant hopper and pests?
• What is going to happen to the life cycle if the system lacks the variety?

2. Environmental Endocrine Disrupter
• Ecological risks are invisible to the eyes.
• The research was shown that more than 300 kinds of fish go through sex change naturally or by adapting to the environment
• What is the best testing method when the sex change occurs by the chemical substance?


• Rice Fish is the only kind in fish that the sex-determining gene is identified
• Male: Female ration = 1:1 - this is very rare
• It becomes female by injecting the female hormone, but gradually male will increase
• There are distinguisher of sex by appearance, by gene, and by functionality
• Influence and issues will vary depending on what stage we observe


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3. Endocrine Disrupting Compound Testing
• Testing on Endocrine Disrupting Compound on water flea (OECD approved)
• Water Flea Female: Male = several thousand : one
• However, by injecting the juvenoid, the baby will be male
• Not only the number, but the male: female ratio is the critical key
• It will be in the danger of extinction if only single sex of male
• How to keep up to the next generation
• Arthropod have molting hormone and juvenoid instead of sex hormone

4. Problems with Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products

Overflow of medical/pharmaceutical and personal care products/supplements are casting the ominous repercussion to the harm to human bodies and to wild life and organism.

5. Introduction of Whole Effluent Toxicity as new methodology to the testing of water quality
• Objective is to return the clean water to ocean.
• Is it enough to just comply under the current Water Quality Pollution Control Act?
• There are chemical substances alone, several thousands of kinds out there.
• How can we be safe if we are ignorant about non-controlled substances
• Among 260,000 business places nationwide, how many do we target for the testing station?
• Should government mandate to the business places, or should it be voluntary? - likely better to be voluntary.
Current effluent control act does not mention about the ominous harm to the wild life and organism.
We should look into adding the regulated testing items to the never-stopping emerging of a new chemical substance. The challenge is that it takes too long for the selection of regulation items, and the burden to the offices and business places increases accordingly. The current system cannot capture the byproducts coming from the waste, various combined products.

Therefore, Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) should be introduced; this is waste water quality pollution control method using bioassay system.
Once it is determined to be ominous by WET, we can then go into Toxicity Reduction Evaluation (TRE) and Toxicity Identification Evaluation (TIE) to make the substance to reduce the ominous element.

Finally, but not at the least, the primary objective of our society is to advocate the environmental education and to help social group and individuals be aware and be sensitive to the total "good" environment. When we were faced with the collapse of nuclear power safety myth, we learned the hard lesson of how we were ignorant and blind about the risk and danger; it is important to realize that "damage and destruction to our environment is occurring at invisible level as much as at the visible level".

We are responsible to know that we are part of the whole life system and we co-exist and live together with the wild life and organism, and we are responsible to create and sustain the environmentally safe society.
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2013年01月12日

December 20, 2012 Fuel cell:Development and Future

Lecturer: Dr. Masaru YOSHITAKE
Executive Director /General Manager, Fuel Cell Development Information Center

Outline:
21st Century is a time of hydrogen. Fuel cell is a key to the technology of power generating equipment. Today's theme was Fuel Cell, including the miniature model of fuel cell demonstration.
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1. Introduction of Fuel Cell Development Information Center (FCDIC)

Fuel Cell Development Information Center (FCDIC) was established in 1986. The organization is an academic association to research, develop, and promote the fuel cell, and they are consisted of six independent administrative agencies; members include employees from fuel cell related enterprises, and academic association scholars.

2. History of fuel cell development and energy market conditions

It was 1839, about 170 years ago, that William Grove developed the principle first crude fuel cells. Fuel cells have been in use for many areas and many applications, and especially after 3.11., attention to the concern of energy variation and how to get energy source becomes more critical to the individual level. Public interests to the Ene-Farm products, a systemt that residents can use to generate energy right from their homes (such as the hot water pot with fuel cell inside), are booming. It was announced in October 2012 that the subsidy of 25.1 billion yen will be granted to develop Ene- Farm. As for the systems, up to 450,000 yen per unit will be granted in order to target 53,000 units, leading the current number of penetration by 20,000. Also, Japan Revival Strategy targets that penetration of house hold fuel cell cogeneration system to reach 5.3 million units by the year 2018.

From the experience of dispersed power, divided stand-alone power system is ideal. Fuel cell is the key as the linkage with renewable energy along with Ene-Farm, and Fuel Cell Vehicle development.
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3. Basis and Characteristics

The principle of fuel cell is a reverse reaction of water electrolysis, unlike hydrogen burning reaction. Fuel cell consists of an anode (negative side), a cathode (positive side), and an electrolyte. Hydrogen is fed into an anode (negative side), when hydrogen comes contact with platinum in the anode, it dissociate into two hydrogen atoms. Electron is lost at the time of dissociation, and hydrogen atom becomes hydrogen ion. Ions travel through the electrolyte to the cathode. But the electron cannot pass through electrolyte. On the other hand, Oxigen gas dissociates into two oxygen atoms on the platinum in the cathode, and ions of hydrogen and oxygen and electron make water. The freed electron travels through a wire connecting the anode and the cathode, this is electric current. The mechanism is that fuel cell can produce electricity continually for as long as the hydrogen as fuel are supplied. There are mainly two types of fuel cell: Proton Exchange Fuel Cell (FEFC) and Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC).

4. Development of Stationary Fuel Cell

Proton Exchange Fuel Cell (FEFC) boots up between 70-100 C; hydrogen fuel cell with proton conductivity. 0.7kw cell are available at Ene-Farm.
On the other hand, Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) boots up between 600-1000 C; this high temperature type shows high efficiency in generating energy, it enables the transfer of oxygen ion in the ceramic electrolyte. The fuel are hydrogen and carbon monoxide, and this type of fuel cell is expected to be utilized for Ene-Farm and industrial uses.
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5. Development of Transferable Fuel Cell

Most potential and familiar area for transferrable fuel cell is the market of fuel cell vehicles. Hydrogen-powered sedan car, high pressure hydrogen in cylinder is loaded, are currently under development toward the sensational debut in the year 2015. The price will be lower than PRIUS due to the PEFC stack with voltage of 100kw as generator. For the nationwide common benefit and interest, so far 13 public corporations are expressing the joint project of building 100 hydrogen stations across the nation with the total cost of 200 million yen to build one station ahead of the sale of fuel cell vehicles. By the way, safety standard and guideline for the handling of hydrogen in Japan is much strict compared to some foreign countries.

6. Development in overseas

United States and Korea has federal reserve and fund for this industry, they are deploying the fuel cell system very rapidly in recent years. The top runner for the fuel cell infrastructure are significant in United States, Germany, Great Britain, Scandinavian peninsula, Norway, and Korea.
As for the research, Japan holds the most propriety in numbers; however, China tops Japan as far as the research papers in number.

7. Elemental Technology and Future of Fuel Cell

Proton Exchange Fuel Cell (FEFC): challenges for hydrogen is how to improve production, storage, delivery and functionality. Challenges for electrolyte membrane is how to reduce cost and how to enhance functionality. Challenges for electrode is in activation, service life, and cost. Challenges in system is how to reduce the cost.

Fuel Cell Vehicles: In order to achieve the price to one tenth:
The simplified system is ideal, and system has be enhanced for high temperature low humidity power station.
Power generation flow should be improved if we can get gas flow passage to be fit.
New electrode shall be developed.
To reduce the cost, the amount of platinum needed should be reduced.
High pressure hydrogen cylinder will improve if the technology of carbon fiber wrap around can be improved.
Another new spotlight of R&D is reusable fuel cell. If this becomes practical, hydrogen energy can alternatively transduce to electricity. The characteristics of reusable fuel cell is the creation of hydrogen occurs in single cell by the combination of power generation and water electrolysis.
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8. Summary

The broad use of Ene-Farm will be encouraged along with the development of fuel cell by exploiting characteristics of each type cell - PEFC and SOFC. Fuel cell vehicles are scheduled to make a debut in the year 2015,and facilitating of hydrogen station is underway ahead of fuel cell vehicle market and sales begin. Dispersed power system and domestic off-grid power source will be more forthcoming, and fuel cells are seen to play the major role.

The challenges for fuel cell market in full progress are: reducing the cost and establishing the reliability and sustainability as energy source.
We are to pursue non-stop research and development of technology for each element - catalyst, electrolyte membrane, electrolysis, etc.
In overseas, fuel cell research is active in United States, Europe and Korea.
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2013年01月11日

November 22, 2012 Present and Future of Shale Gas

Lecturer:
Mr. Hiroyuki Mori
Director, Financial Asset Management Division, General Coordination Department, Japan Oil and Metals National Corporation

Outline:
Environment and energy issues have been the hot topic, and have been more heated after 3.11 earthquake. Today's topic is shale gas - potential energy source in recent years. The seminar covers: What is Shale Gas; Why Shale Gas; What Shale Gas has brought us; Future perspective of Shale Gas.


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Shale gas is one of unconventional source of natural gas; is separate from self flow or pumped-up natural gas.
Shale gas is "unconventional" because of the way it is - liquid and natural gas reserves trapped in shale formation has been made possible to extract along with the development and combination of traditional drilling and extracting technologies. Three major technologies are directional and horizontal drilling, microseismic imaging, and massive hydraulic fracturing.

Directional and horizontal drilling was the technology in use from 1980s. Horizontal drilling is common on well drilling, but by this directional and horizontal drilling, it gives flexibility in changing direction and it creates more surface area to be in contact with the shale up to 10 km; making the drilling efficient.

Massive hydraulic fracturing is in use from 1950s. Massive pressure will create the fractures in the rock, and it enables the permeability of gas and natural oil.

Another modern technology is microseismic imaging: this is the technology to provide the rock bed image using the earth wave at the fracture to determine more accurate deposits in location, quantity and the formation of the shale gas in order to calculate and plan most effective and efficient drilling scheme.


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Existence of shale gas has been confirmed on every continent: North American continent has the most deposits; and as a single nation, China is most rich in deposits.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the deposits of shale gas are about 188 trillion cubic meters, and it equals in quantity as conventional natural gas. That means that it is projected that there are sufficient to extract conventional gas for the next 6 decades, and it seems like we have enough to dig gas for next 100 years including the unconventional gas. As for the price per million BTU, it varies depending on the expertise: energy consulting projects $5-8 per million BTU, on the other hand, financial consulting projects $3-5.

United States is the top runner in the shale gas production in the world.
Faced with the decline of natural gas resources, the Federal Government once consider supplying the energy demand to import as one of supply alternative; fortunately, United States was successful in research and development of unconventional gas by the following four elements: potentially rich shale gas deposits; technological development as set out above; gas price increase; and transportation pipeline was incentivized as infrastructure.
Drilling rig was produced from 800s rigs in 2003 increased to 1,600 rigs at the peak; however, it is down to 400s after the Lehmann shock.

The exploitation booming stage has declined, but the production has been stable at 20% of natural gas production.

I cannot fail to mention that the extraction and use of shale gas casts the concerning shadows on environmental issues as such:
Water quality – Massive waster after the hydraulic fractures contains chemicals, so it is highly required to be treated before released to pond, river and sea. We face the severe contamination of wastewater and contaminated underwater problem.
Some studies have alleged that extraction and use of shale gas may induce the release of more greenhouse gases. Methane, major component of natural gas, has higher global warming effect than carbon dioxide.
Increased instance of earthquake linked to shale gas extraction has been raised as issues, too.

Environmental Protection Agency is proactively conducting these studies.

Following the United States, deployment and development of shale gas industry in other countries are going to follow. Europe is phasing as anti-Russian Federation, but countries face infrastructure weakness, and environmental issues are serious. Shale gas development was banned in France.
In China, the foreign-capital mining business has been stagnant.
In Japan, we are actually positive about shale gas as a business opportunity, especially the gas price is low right now. - a major trading firm like Mitsubishi and Marubeni are willing to invest and are negotiating to hold interests into the United States and Canada. Water quality control and chemical substance area are appealing as business development in North America.

Let me briefly touch on the unconventional gas that is available in Japan: Shale oil - trial drilling was conducted in Akita prefecture last October, and existence was confirmed although the quantity was not much.
Methane Hydrate -existence was confirmed from the offshore of Akita prefecture extending to Niigata Prefecture and the Okhotsk Sea by the research team of Meiji University. At Nankai Trough, methane hydrate reserve has already been found and the drilling project is about to begin, therefore, we are hopeful that there is sufficient amount of natural gases to use for 100 years consumption in Japan. And there is oil sand, Bitumen, tight oil, and tight gas.

Potential to produce shale gas in Japan is very low. However, the potential to import shale gas by liquefied gas to Japan is high; therefore, we are hopeful that it gives light to the diversified energy sources, stability of the energy supply, and the price-cut of liquefied natural gas. The challenge, on the other hand, is to organize the gas transportation infrastructure system and the pass-fail grading of the shale gas of import.

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2012年12月31日

October 25th, 2012 The next Electric Power Supply System

The next Electric Power Supply System
Lecturer: Professor Dr. Akihiko Yokoyama
Department of Advanced Energy, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo



Summary:
Electric Power System is defined as stable supplying system of sufficient amount of electric power, balancing demand and supply in anytime.
Though they has been considered for change toward de-regulation of electric power and introducing carbon-free power for reduction of greenhouse gases, they are seemed to become more complicated matter considering possibility of nuclear power plant operation continuation after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.
Now, we could hear about our next Power supply system from the lecturer who is a leading expert of “Smart Grid” and also giving advices for the electricity policy in our country.
Not only for the audience having less knowledge about the system, he explained kindly the broad and technically special Power Supply system.
------ Supply and Interconnected Power system in our country------
Enhancement of the power supply system covering over the country will be necessary, to introduce renewable energy and electric power from new entrant producer, or to keep demand/supply balance even if accidents in power plants.
50 or 60Hz frequency electric power is used by Japanese areas. People discussed to use one kind of frequency for long time, but it will be difficult because of big cost for facility exchange and fear of uncontrollable chaos of transition.
Also the system having only minimum capacity satisfying the demand within each area will be replaced not only enhanced frequency change facilities but bigger transmission cables, if nationwide interconnected system must be strengthened.
However existing local system having limited capacity of DC interconnection and/or frequency converter by DC, has merit to minimize accidental effects from other areas.

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--------Electricity Deregulation-----------
Though the new entrants are imposed to supply simultaneously same demand for 30 minutes, the entire system is always requested for instant supply-demand balance. It is problem who can take a responsibility to keep instant balances and to supply necessary amount of power for long time.
And development of two-way communication system for supply-demand control, increasing capacity of spare generators and securing (capital investment) for broad interconnection of power line are unavoidable for liberalization of power system.
-------Large scale introduction of renewable energy-----
Renewable energy is encouraged to be used with Feed-in-Tariff for prevention of global warming and denuclearization.
For example, 53 million KW (nominated capacity, 12% of utilization ratio) of photovoltaic generation, and 60 million KW (nominated capacity, 20% of utilization ratio) of wind power generation are suggested. Both are unstable power generation depending on weather conditions.
It is statistically said that PV will contribute somewhat to the summer daytime peak load, but wind power will not be expected for stable output at the time of summer high demand resulting request of stand-by thermal power plant.
European huge blackout in 2006 is seen to be occurred due to wind power need prediction error.
-------Next power Supply System---------
Japan’s power distribution grid has world best reliability, facilitated accident monitoring controlling system and technology to minimize the extent of blackout area even if accidents. In fact, in case of the Great East Japan Earthquake the power supply system of TEPCO was restored almost within 5 days.
To accept renewable power of new entrants, the following capital investments and/or new technology developments are expected;
-To make power distribution grid have big capacity for large scale power interconnection,
-To control demand and supply balance using more effective batteries,
-To storage surplus homemade power by heat pumps or electric vehicles,
-To control PV output by two-way communication system.
Herewith, cost estimation for enhancement of power distribution grid and increase of power storage batteries was shown, but they were huge amount requesting extreme beneficiary charge.
National project of the Japanese style smart grid has been proceeded for demonstration under Prof. Yokoyama, and actual operating data of cooperation control between PV generator and consumer’s facilities were obtained. In addition, structuring of totally optimized central distribution system for electric companies, and next-generation two-way communication output control system have been developed and demonstrated.
After accepting incoming government policy of energy mix, considering which is best choice for total optimization or local production/consumption, clearing selection and development of communication system including cyber security, our Smart Grid will be structured.


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After the lecture, Q/A were vigorously discussed;
1. How about decentralization of population rather than enhancement of power transmission grid?
2. Revenue decrease by PV suppression due to output peak cut can be accepted by owners? (Singularity ratio is said 8 %)
3. Purchase of green electricity will be advanced or not? (It is not discussed yet who take risks incase sufficient electricity not supplied)


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If you would like to see lecture material (slides), please contact the secretariat EVF.
Such as “Draft of basic policy for Electricity System Change” published to the internet is recommended for you to understand for the subject.
 
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2012年12月19日

September 26, 2012 Limit of growth" Does the earth collapse?


September 26, 2012
Title: "Limit of growth" Does the earth collapse?
21st century version
Lecturer: Prof. Itaru Yasui,
President, National Institute of Technology and Evaluation
Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo


Summary :
The first edition of "Limit of growth" was issued in 1972.
It has got a lot of attention as the pollution issue was getting bigger
in Japan at that time. It has been revised up to 56 versions.
This book was the world first future prediction using computers,
and focused on the problems of population, resources, foods,
pollution, and industry production.
Each edition predicted that the problems would have a tendency to decline in 2010s.
The indication was correct, but the result was deviated.
This book was the beginning of future prediction.
One of the famous future predictions after that is "Global prediction in 2000"
conducted by the order of President Carter in 1977.
In today's lecture an explanation based on a unique analysis was given with regard
to many-sided problems such as global resources, environment, etc.
based on various data from a long-term standpoint.


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Is the collapse actually occurring?

○ Sea level rise:
Tuvalu has become known for sea level rise.
The reason for that is not by actual sea level rise but by elimination of
breakwater effect of the coral reef due to scraping away the coral reef
for constructing the airport.
With regard to islands like Nauru where coral reef surrounding islands remains,
the soundness of seashore is maintained. However, in Nauru,
the society and economy has collapsed as the result of continuous mining
of guano (spoor of seafowls) for 200 years.

○ Degradation of ore:
For instance, the quality of copper ore has degraded from 10% to 0.3%
in the past 200 years. In reality, even the degraded ore can be sold
because of the price increase of copper.
Naturally, the amount of hazardous substance generated in refining process increases.

○ Corn price increase: Approximately three-times price increase
has occurred in 30 years. The price increase is caused not by insufficient supply
but by vent for surplus money.

Resource capacity of the earth

○ Although environmental resources such as air, rivers, soil, etc. originally have
various capability of mitigation, exceeding a tipping point
(a point where resilience becomes zero) causes problems.

○ Human life is disturbing the status of the earth.
For example, it is concerned that Midwest of America
(bread basket states from South Dakota to Texas) may become dry regions
in the near future because of the extreme water table level change due to excessive use of water.

What are the factors towards collapse?

○ The following six items which are considered as factors of collapse
were explained based on lots of data.

・Population and food problem;
Nitrogen fertilizer produced by fixation of atmospheric nitrogen caused increase
in yields of grain, which resulted in the population explosion in the 20th century.
Reduction in population (including in China) may occur in the middle of
the 21st century except in Africa. 

・Climate change and sea level rise

・Resource depletion: 
Cumulative demand of base metals
(copper, lead, zinc, gold, silver, and tin) will overwhelm the reserves in 2050.

・Environmental pollution
(Refining rare metals has a significant effect on environmental destruction.)

・Biodiversity loss
(The life-span of species is one million years.
Extinctions of species historically occurred several times or more.
The speed of extinction was quicker in the past, but it is slower now. )


・Deficiency of expenditure
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Are there solutions for collapse?

○ Reduce pressures to the earth and strengthen the restoring force of the earth
by developing technologies, changing the systems of society and economy,
and changing individual life styles.

○ Go back to the principles
(solution which may be preferred by United Nations) ;
"Development that satisfies the needs of today's generation
without damaging the ability to satisfy the needs of the future generation."
The problem is that the meaning of "development" is "enhancement of human ability"
in advanced countries, whereas in developing countries it means "rich life".

○ Waiting natural recovery after stopping disturbance may be possible
for some factors but waiting may lead to irreproducible situation for the others.

○ What we must avoid is to forward irreversible factors in that natural direction.
Deterioration in biodiversity is hazardous because the result is unpredictable.

○ The cause of the collapse is human being.
It is necessary to identify what the things are that can be done
only by human being and lead it to solutions.

○ Only human being can educate children using just words.
Only human being can take highly mutually beneficial altruistic actions.
Various levels of "others"= from lower level to higher level= relatives,
descendant (sharing the same genes) > same ethnic (sharing similarity, time, and space)>
friends (sharing similarity and time)> others (sharing time)> future generation (sharing only the earth).


Through this seminar we received a message from Mr. Yasui that the key
for saving the earth from collapse consists in if we can consider
"future generation" which is the least relevant to us.


Questions and answers

○ Mutually beneficial altruistic actions:
(Do cells take mutually beneficial altruistic actions?)

○ Future of nuclear fusion:
(Technologies that have no prospect even 50 years after the principle was found may not be successful.)

○ Future of fossil fuel: (Fossil fuel will run dry in near future. It should be utilized as material.
Methane might be the limit that may be used as fuel.)

○ Future of farmland: (The population will also decrease. It is not necessary to worry about so much.)

○ How to save the Japanese economy from collapse:
(Make investment for the future without pursuing short-term profits.
Philosophical strength is expected from top managements.)

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2012年10月24日

New Energy Strategy - New Energy Potential and Challenge:August 23, 2012

August 23, 2012

New Energy Strategy - New Energy Potential and Challenge

Lecturer:
Mr. Shoji Watanabe
Director, Research and Development Division, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environmental Bureau、The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

Outline:

Mr. Watanabe has been involved in the front line of the challenge of "new energy" and "rolling blackouts". For the new energy, he was the committee member to form the Feed in-Tariff on renewable electric energy. For rolling blackouts, the theme is how to minimize the impact caused by business interruption and social interruption. He has worked on analysis of very complicated transmission system, and his biggest headache in this theme was how best to warn the society and how best to receive recognition and awareness among people. We were very fortunate to take a peek in this dynamic area we don't normally get to see at today's seminar.
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Rolling Blackouts:
We need to be prepared with the scheduled blackouts just in case of emergency. Blackout can cause confusion and disorder, but the idea was that if we have a control over the electric power source with enhanced transmittal technology, the idea is that maybe power can be partially provided for the railroad transportation or hospital to ceaselessly run the operations.
However, with current transmittal system, the difficulty level of monitoring and checking on the transmittal stations scattered among several thousand remote locations, and navigating and managing the pin-point target to transmit energy is unimaginably difficult.
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New Energy:
(1) Feed in Tariff on renewable energy went into effect in July 2012, and the journey and procedure till it was finalized was introduced. The problem and outlook on each renewable energy has been listed: solar power, wind power, biomass, etc.
(2) Strategy and outlook on high pricing and instability of renewable energy was mentioned. The key is the technical development and how to mass quantify.
(3) Our nation's electric energy component ratio, energy mix, and issues and problems in increasing nuclear alternative energy were touched on. There is alternative idea to build new high-efficiency fire power plant, or for the best ideas under the immediate emergency we face is to renovate, renew and enhance the efficiency for the existing power plant; still, we face the difficulty and challenge of the outrageous costs and it is going to take a long time until it becomes environmentally accessible.
(4) Electric vehicle is very hopeful: it is possible to prevail if we utilize taxation system and apply for payouts from government. The shorter the running time due to the drivers' growing age, or due to the regional characteristics, the easier and more probable to show and prove the economic efficiency in EV industry.
(5) Mr. Watanabe suggests that prevail of EV depends on the appealing price. If the price of EV is reasonable, it could be attractive as a short distance drive tool even though the life of battery is not long. If the battery cost is cheap, it would be possible to exchange the battery at every car inspection. Which is more cost efficient and consumer friendly to be set the charging station all over the roadside or to exchange a low price battery every few years?
(6) In recent years, the attention is on the eclectic power supply; however, our most energy usage depends on heat. 70% of primary energy supply is lost as heat by burning the fossil fuel. Therefore, we would have to be looking more at how to enhance heat power efficiency drastically, or how to utilize the heat waste, how to enhance technology on insulation or heat reservation technology.

He shared one drawing by an elementary school kid - it portraits the future city with one house with a solar panel on the roof, green field which is seemed to be food self-sufficiency around the house, and windmill around the ocean. Mr. Watanabe could not help thinking this drawing is symbolic of the people nowadays with no hope, and cannot help getting disappointed by how flat the expression is and how the drawing lacks humanity, and overall, how people's minds lack the positive and liveliness toward our society.
While we evaluate the potential opportunity of technical development, we, as grownups, shall make one proactive step and share the positive outlook toward our future society with younger generation, and we shall not forget to dream toward our future society with a global point view.

After the lecture, the Q&A session covered the various topics such as: future outlook of renewable energy, the electric vehicle and interrelationship between automobile industry and environment, the decision process of energy laws and questions on the feasibility and effectiveness of assessment period for energy laws. Mr. Watanabe took time in answering each of our questions with full of knowledge and care, and all of us audience were touched. We really had a great time.
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At the end, he shared his views: “When we see and hear the social problems around us, or, when we see and hear about what is popular at the moment and what is working out at the moment, we have to look around and consider things in the long span. What we face today in society will not last forever, nor just fix with patchwork. For example, let's pick up the rising issues about aging society. If you look at the issue with broader mind, not only trying to collect fund to support the aging people today, we shall also be saving and sparing funds to the younger generation who is going to take on our future.
As for the decision making, it is important that we come to decision democratically; however, we should not forget the possible valuation and appraisal standards; valuation standard priority used to be economic standpoint alone. Today, we face more complex and various valuation standards including environmental energy security, and how to utilize finite resources, etc.

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2012年09月17日

NEDO - Development in Asian Countries, Strategy and Vision : July 26, 2012

July 26, 2012
NEDO - Development in Asian Countries, Strategy and Vision

Lecturer:
Mr. Yasuhide Yamada
Director General, International Affairs Department
New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization

Outline:
Today's theme was NEDO's active involvement in developing projects with overseas countries, especially developing Asian countries, covering NEDO's vision, standpoint and surrounding situations with actual examples. By now, NEDO is very familiar organization among EVF, furthermore, today's seminar was very unique and informative about their positive activities, and it gives us new light to where we are globally heading in environmental and energy issues in developing overseas, especially Asia.


NEDO was established in 1980. Among as many as 408 participating projects, 44 examples were listed to show how NEDO got involved and stimulated public enterprises to make and activate energy saving facilities. It certainly shows contribution to the economic effect; although it is very hard to define what makes the projects "successful" and "unsuccessful". There is fine, sensitive, and yet very complicated line between successful case and unsuccessful case which goes beyond the profitability of the outcome.
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Needless to say, our energy demands and supply were drastically changed after 3.11. Government has been reshaping and renewing the energy saving policy to fit the society's changes and needs. As we speak, the new draft should be announced in August, 2012, and the strategy is to give it a try to see if it works. The potential for implementing and introducing the renewable energy is big, but it is not an easy task to enhance the energy ratio. It is imperative to develop the technology in how to enhance the fluctuation and absorption capacity of electric power supply.

Since around 2003, the global demand for energy/environmental infrastructure has risen rapidly 2.5 times, energy market is contributing to the economic growth. However, Japan's infrastructure order from overseas are stagnated, China and Korea are the head players.


NEDO's objective is to solve the energy and environmental issues globally, and we are to stimulate and encourage Japan's industrial competitiveness.
We are working on collecting the applications for new innovative projects; NEDO gets 151.2 billion yen from the budget of total 587.4 billion yen allocated to Science and Technology budget from Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Among that, 196 billion yen are allocated to put into overseas projects. It is most powerful and effective when we can reach out to negotiate through diplomatic channels.
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China: Smart community demonstration project in Gongqingcheng city in Jiangxi province, Energy saving building project in Shanghai
Thailand: Map Ta Phut Industrial Park anti-pollution projects
Indonesia: Java islands Industrial Park energy saving projects, Smart community technology
Vietnam: Industrial waste power generation projects, not limited to providing facilities, but also stimulating the better social network systems
Myanmar: Make the best of their geographical characteristics; they are the corridor between India and China. To accelerate the pace of the project development is critical as the market is delayed compared to China or United States.
Cambodia: Rice hull and other biomass power systems
Singapore: Government is promoting the organization called "CREATE" employing various areas of specialists. NEDO is going to participate, and the application is going to be available soon.

All the presentations by Mr. Yamada were so stimulating and discussion after the seminar was very active.
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2012年08月26日

Most new and hot topics around the challenge toward new energy source – NEDO June 28, 2012

Most new and hot topics around the challenge toward new energy source – NEDO

Lecturer:
Mr. Takahiro Yabe
Chief Officer, New Energy Technology Department
New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization

Outline:
Mr. Yabe utilized 69 pages of power point presentation and introduced us about renewable energy market's current condition and future outlook and challenges.
He shared his observation by touching on the topics of potential of ocean energy market and the research of hydrogen/fuel cell potential. His explanation was very listener-friendly and suggestive. The Q&A session started out with the debate of technology, but ended up in broader sociology of why our society's new energy concept takes delay until it is infiltrated into our society. The Q&A discussion got active and lasted almost on hour.
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Below are the highlights:

(1) Renewable energy -current situation and challenges

• Other than the water power, cumulative introduction amount of other renewable energy is scarce. Due to the weather condition in Japan, for example, we only have 1,000 hours of sunlight to depend on solar power out of the total of 9,000 hours annually. Wind power, on the other hand, has 2,000 hours.
• Solar generated energy has the potential of prevail as much as photovoltaic power generation.
• Example in Germany was presented; they are successful in raising the purchasing price of Photovoltaic power, but they face the challenge of how to make balance with people's financial burden to purchase it.

(2) Individual examples

1. Photovoltaic power
• In Japan, the major market is for housing; but this is not necessarily the case with the world.
• The variety of the solar cell: crystalline silicon solar cells, silicon based thin film solar cells, silicon compound, organic, etc. Among them, an organic cell has potential to grow as market due to its characteristic that it is light and bendable.
2. Solar power
3. Wind power
• The usage of wind power in the world is way more major than solar power; the cumulative amount of power is about 2 hundred million GW. Japanese makers are very minor among the world market share.
• It is notable that the global oceanic windmill market share is monopolized by the two enterprises: SIMES and VESTAS. Technical challenges due to the oceanic conditions can be the positive factor for Japanese companies.
• To reduce the cost, idea is to enlarge the size of each windmill, and the report was shared how to utilize it on collecting oceanic wind power.
4. Biomass energy
Oji Paper Co., Ltd. and Teijin Ltd. are leading the project of how to make cellulosic ethanol into innovative production system by the year of 2020.
5. Ocean energy
• Two major methods are wave activated power generation and ocean thermal energy conversion. When we consider generating power from ocean energy, the problematic issue is how to transport the power, and the area that is likely be the good place to develop ocean thermal energy conversion would be a place like the southern part of Okinawa, for example.
•Wave activated energy has three methods - mechanical (Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co., Ltd), Air turbine-driven (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.), and Gyro process (Gyro Dynamics).


(3) Hydrogen and fuel cell

Ene Farm; fuel cell for household use, has been commercialized, which is world-first. Should they not use material like platinum for electrode, the selling price should go down significantly.

At the end, it was announced that NEDO's Renewable Energy White Paper is available through the internet website for free of charge.
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• What is NEDO's recent trend and vision as the advocate for the new and innovative technology?
- NEDO is sponsored by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. We are at the stage to welcome any and every recommendations/projects.
• Aside from the current nuclear power plant issues and problems, what element does NEDO consider to be the core energy source in developing Japan's energy future?
- We have to answer the question in some layers: first of all, we have to be thorough and consistent in saving energy for one thing, secondly, we have to bring down the total cost of energy source, then thirdly, probably the possible material will be fuel cell + wind power + solar power + possibly oceanic wind power to utilize. (We cannot depend on thermal power because it has the CO2 emission problem).
- If we generate power with oceanic wind power, the idea is to electrolysis into Hydrogen at the site, and transport via ship to the point of consumption.
• Geothermal power - As you can imagine, we face bureaucratic restriction from the Ministry of the Environment and it is difficult to expand on research and development dynamically.
• Resistance from the Spa cities on the geothermal power plants, resistance from Fishermen's Association on the ocean energy - we are faced with the challenge with how to renovate people's minds in challenging something new.

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2012年07月08日

Dream Energy - Nuclear Fusion Reactor May24th,2012

May 24th, 2012

Dream Energy - Nuclear Fusion Reactor

Lecturer:
Dr. Masabumi Nishikawa
Professor Emeritus, Kyushu University
Professor, Department of Advanced Energy Engineering Science, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Engineering Sciences, Kyushu University

Outline:
Dr. Nishikawa graduated from Kyoto University, Chemical Engineering Department in 1966, he went to British Colombia University in Canada to continue his study specialized in Vitamin B-12 fermentation and received Master's degree, and furthermore, he went back to Kyoto University and received PhD. on chemical reaction mixing tank, which Kyoto University is well known for its research. In 1979, he moved to Kyushu University to study fundamental chemical reaction and transport phenomena on nuclear fusion, and it led him to the current specialty of nuclear fusion reactor research and development by applying foundation to the practical activity and analysis of machines and systems.

Hydrogen is considered to be the key player as fundamental energy source for our society's future, and nuclear fusion reactor is going to play the important role, and Dr. Nishikawa shared three points in establishing the hydrogen system:

1. Secure the primary energy source in order to make hydrogen
2. Develop the method to effectively use fuel cell and hydrogen engine, etc.
3. Establish the infrastructure for storage and transportation of hydrogen

The topic covered the current market and the future outlook of the development of nuclear fusion reactor - Dream Energy; how our country demand and supply energy, a principle of nuclear fusion, technical challenges in order for nuclear fusion reactor to take roots, safety issues, strategy on the development, etc.

1. Future outlook of the demand and supply of fundamental energy for our country
•Why do we need to research and develop nuclear fusion using the triangle paradox of our population growth and the production of rice: the fewer we made our food production, the more we purchase food supply from overseas, the higher the energy usage we had.
•As for the outlook of primary energy - fossil fuel will eventually become scarce to get in the long term, it is more difficult to build more nuclear fusion reactor to generate nuclear power. One the contrary, the demand and need for energy source keep increasing. For the time being, demand to generate energy is 1 billion kWh, we project we need 3 billion kWh in total; we are faced with the question and duly responsibility how to provide energy toward the future generation of our grandchildren.
•Fossil fuel will eventually dry up, nuclear fusion has the mass issue on safety, and water power has its own geographical restriction. We are looking forward to developing hydrogen due to its unlimited resources.
•When we consider the final utility form of our energy, I can say what is most important heat sources of primary energy in three harmonized categories: one is bio thermo genesis, second is physical heat as the engine to generate activity and source of power, and third is the power of human resources - people's power of creativity, power of imagination, and power of taking thoughts into action, these are the intelligent power, and without it, we cannot best utilize the resources out there.
2. Principle of Nuclear Fusion
•Upon the activation of nuclear fusion reaction, emitted energy occurs for the amount relative to rest mass of nuclear core before and after the reaction.
•Let us give the quick example with planet/start case with the sun shining upon the night sky, high temperature and high pressure nuclear fusion reaction is happening in the core, it generates the nuclear fusion fueled by hydrogen and helium -therefore, we are trying to simulate this phenomenon at the laboratory level to generate the heat energy source.
•Due to the characteristics of nuclear fusion, current research of nuclear fusion reactor is for the Hydrogen-Deuterium (D)-Tritium (T) reactor; because nuclear fusion made possible with lowest temperature (well, the lowest temperature we are talking about here is about 1 billion C of plasma) and lowest pressure is between hydrogen-Deuterium and Tritium.
•Two types of reactors are underway - collect the heat from the wall of the magnet field, called "breeder blanket" : create the strong magnet field by superconducting magnet, then send in fuel pellet, making it into plasma by compressing and heating up. The other type is confinement reactor: fuel pallet to be irradiated with the strong laser beam in the vacuum furnace to make lemmatized.
•Now is the era of prototype reactor (ITER).
3. Challenges on Plasma control system

•We are faced with the numerous challenges and obstacles to overcome before we take plasma control system into stable energy resources.
•First of all, the challenge is how to contain high temperature, high density plasma, then secondly, challenge is how to safely control the stable energy source. Inside the prototype reactor, the problem is that an electrically charged particles cause the extreme high temperature, and the diverter plate does not endure the high temperature
4. Challenges on Nuclear fusion reactor development
•Challenges on the material development needed to run the nuclear fusion reactor - It is imperative to develop the low activation design ferrite steel because the ferrite steel has the characteristics of endurable under the high temperature of neutron energy range; however, in today's world, we don't have any material test device nor tritium breeder test reactor.
•What we try currently is development of: metal-oxide distributed model ferrite steel, SiC, and V-alloy, etc.
•Discussion has been raised in how to collect tritium by the discovery that tritium can be recovered by re-adhesive to the spattered material. Originally, plasma facing component was proven to be depleted by physical sputtering under the high temperature neutron diffraction process, so if we can collect tritium from this process, it would be encouraging.
5. Challenge on securing the tritium energy

•Tritium is very scarce resource that our attention is how to produce tritium and how to effectively utilize it. As for the nuclear fusion reactor, it is our challenge how to collect tritium; to generate the energy; we need 420 gr tritium per day to generate 1 GW energy, that means we need to collect 7.3 kg annually.
•As for the known methods of tritium fuel; the method to multiply tritium in the oven; the method of compound oven; and the method of out-of-core mainly by use of nuclear fusion reactor, etc.
•We are currently conducting the research to grow and collect tritium form the solid blanket of nuclear fusion reactor. It is very ideal and it is our desire if government can fund us just one high temperature gas reactor then our research and development will be speed up significantly. And with one reactor, we project we can collect at least 10 kg of tritium.
6. Challenges on the safety of radiation ray

•Tritium is radioactive substance with half-life-of 12 years; the risk and the problem of radioactive spill is just the same as our current nuclear fusion reactor. Therefore, the safety protocol and safety management is very critical.
•We have to establish the radioactive standard (concentration limit in the air, in exhaust gas, and in drainage); self replenish standard of tritium fuel from the economic standpoint; and inventory restriction from both perspective of nuclear facility and also from the safety standpoint.
7. Strategy to develop Dream Energy Industry
•Nuclear fusion reactor is by itself the huge energy system. We are not allowed to apply the insufficient proof just by the general rule of thumb. Our mission must be very precise and we cannot afford to say "it was beyond our imagination" after something happen.
•Here are some lists of questions we have toward the practical use of the reactor: how can we maintain the stable control system of burning plasma? ; how are we going to develop the material needed to run the nuclear fusion reactor? how do we secure tritium? How safe is it? how to plan and strategize in order to develop the whole nuclear fusion reactor industry?
•At this point, 80% of researchers are involved in plasma research, and 16% are involved in material findings - if we want to make this as a whole project, I can say that the biggest issue is that there in no single leader who can lead and structure the nuclear fusion reactor as a total engineering of making this dream energy come true!
posted by event in English at 08:25| Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | seminar

2012年05月31日

Mercury Pollution - World and Minamata April 26th, 2012

Mercury Pollution - World and Minamata

Lecturer:
Dr. Hirokatsu Akagi, Doctor of Pharmacy
President of International Mercury Laboratory (formerly Director of National Institute for Minamata Disease and Epidemiological Research Center, Ministry of the Environment)

Outline:
Dr. Akagi is well known for the mercury pollution field. He entered the Institute of Public Health, Ministry of Health and Welfare in 1968 and retired in 2004. He has been assigned and researched in various organizations including National Research Council, Canada and National Institute for Minamata Disease and Epidemiological Research Center, Ministry of the Environment. He is currently the Chief and President of International Institute of Mercury Pollution Laboratory. The seminar covered the mercury pollution - origins of the pollution, reaction of toxic disease caused by methyl mercury, research and development of mercury removal, etc.
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1. History and Overview of Minamata Disease:
Half a century ago in 1956, neurological disorder with unknown cause was outbreak in Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture. In 1959, cause was determined by the research of the team of Kumamoto University that neurological disorder was reaction to the organic mercury. Then in 1963, the official report was announced that those methyl mercury was taken repeatedly into people's body by eating fish contaminated by the industrial wastewater which was drained into sea from the acetaldehyde plant of the Chisso Corporation. Furthermore, methyl mercury concentrations in the feed liquid into the acetaldehyde production plant and in the drainage from the plant were measured. The data verified how much methyl mercury was drained to the external sea originated in Chisso Corporation's Minamata plant.

The chronological analysis of methyl mercury contamination in the biblical cord was conducted and this enabled the linkage between the Minamata disease and the cause. In 1965, the second outbreak of disease was confirmed in Niigata Prefecture. In 1968, the government has finally officially recognized Minamata disease as pollution-caused man-made illness by the methyl mercury released from the acetaldehyde plant, and Kumamoto Minamata Disease and Niigata Minamata Disease were officially certified as pollution-related disease.

So far, the number of officially certified patients of both Minamata disease is 3,000, if we add the non-approved victims who was subject in the attempt to enlarge the scope of relief by the political settlement in 1995, and also the suffers who show one or more of the symptoms of numbness, the recognized number of victims grows to 27,000. Besides, after establishment of Act on Special Measures Concerning Minamata Disease in May, 2011, it gave the renewed light to the people who had been suffering for many years, and more than 50,000 applicants are currently under the reviews for the remedy. The actual number of the victims should be more; considering that many people hold back from claiming for compensation because they worry about losing the job or getting retaliated at the workplace in Minamata.

The contaminated soil at the mouth of the Minamata River had never been removed; the polluted sludge was filled and reclaimed, therefore, the methyl mercury still remains underground. The grounds get loose and vulnerable by the recent catastrophe like Earthquake, and there is a rising concern that the organic mercury may spill out once again from the crack of the softened land.
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2. Recent Mercury Contamination problems around the world

Recent mercury contamination problems are obvious around South American countries surrounding Amazon River; South East Asian countries, Philippines, Indonesia, China, etc. where they have gold mining industry using mercury amalgam. The laborers working at gold mine are estimated up to five millions to ten millions. The mercury used to mine gold are hardly collected, therefore the seriousness of the contamination is beyond measure. Also, inorganic mercury is easily transformed and developed to organic methyl mercury in the hydrosphere; the risk is not only the exposure to the high volatility mercury vapor, but also the damage to the health of the civilians living near the rivers. The actual situation was shared to us using the data collected from the area surrounding Amazon River.
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3. Current purification technology around Mercury contaminated Soil and bottom sediment

The technology to evaporate mercury by heating the contaminated solid has been led in Germany; however, it required the temperature over 1,000 degrees Celsius to heat the contaminated soil, and it makes the soil into ashes, then the soil cannot be recovered after de-contamination. National Institute for Minamata Disease and Epidemiological Research Center has been conducting the joint project with Taisei Corporation for the better method: by mixing the iron ore into the contaminated soil at the time to heat up, it allows the mercury to evaporate with relatively low temperature around 250-300 degrees Celsius with relatively short time of 20-30 minutes. With this method, you can get the soil reusable afterwards in purified form. Furthermore, with the success of this development method in the lavatory level, the method was proven and approved to be effective for evaporating the mercury in the soil by the demonstration scale of a rotary kiln plant.

4. How to deal with the risk toward human exposure of methyl mercury

The reason why the methyl mercury is left in the fish is due to the persistent chemical characteristic of the mercury and with high cumulative property. When the people repeatedly consume the fish that contains the methyl mercury, the substance are left in the human body without dissolving. The influence are less to the grownups, but the unborn babies are sensitive and have the higher chance of getting poisoned and have un-negligible neurological defect regardless the amount of exposure even it is little quantity. In 2005, Ministry of Health and Welfare published the guidance and reference to the dietary intake index of the 16 kinds of fish with high potential of mercury contamination: whale, red snapper, sea bass, tuna, etc.

In medical world, the research has been focused on the cause of Minamata Disease and the determination if the victims' symptoms are admitted as Minamata Disease or not; it is unfortunate that the focus and fund have not been spend on cure. Insufficient and immature treatment and remedy leave us with the only choice to be smarter about the intake of food, and pay attention to the self health management not to eat food containing methyl mercury.
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Q&A
We had the very active Q&A session after the lecture.
The current situation of mercury recycles
The ratio of drained mercury transform into methyl mercury
The quantity of methyl mercury left in Gulf of Minamata
How can the methyl mercury removal technology to be applied to radioactive cesium removal method
What is the current situation of the cure and remedy for the mercury poisoning ... etc
posted by event in English at 16:39| Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | seminar

2012年05月10日

Toward the "Reduced" Energy Society with Energy "Saving" and "Saving" Electricity March 22nd, 2012

Toward the "Reduced" Energy Society with Energy "Saving" and "Saving" Electricity

Lecturer:Mr. Ken-ichi Tachibana
Director of EVF (Environmental Veterans Firm)

Outline:

Toward the society with”reduced" energy and energy "saving", the key players will be the waste gas and waste heat, and the new technology of the Stirling engine in order to use waste gas and waste heat. Among many examples that were introduced at the presentation, I extract and introduce some of the most innovative ideas in this summary.
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(1) Two concepts of energy saving vs. energy reduction
As we are all familiar, energy saving is to enhance the energy efficiency, and the new concept is to reduce the total volume of energy.

(2) Energy efficiency proves 40% improvement in the last 3 decades.
Energy consumption keeps increasing in the civil area sector; but the efficiency rate improved by 40% due to the energy saving policy.

(3) Net Zero Energy Building
Zero Energy is possible up to the three-floor buildings by the year 2030, and 80% reduction of energy usage is in the scope of vision up to the ten-floor buildings.

(4) Smart Meter
Smart meter is going to be introduced - by 2012, entire nationwide implementation is targeted in Italy, Sweden and Holland. In Japan, we are looking toward 80% by the year 2017.

(5) Power Plant Cost
Nuclear Power - 8.9 yen per kWh plus the miscellaneous damages compensation (cost to manage the interim storage facility to store decontamination waste, or the cost for the final disposal, etc.).
Coal - 10 yen per kWh
LNG - 11 yen per kWh
Fuel - 39 yen per kWh.

(6) Renewable Energy
Onshore wind farming, geothermal energy =9 to 10 yen per kWh
Solar power = 20 yen per kWh
Combined heat and power (fuel cell) = 11.5 yen per kWh

(7) Shrimp and the oil - it is the well-known and commonly known theory that where there are rich in shrimp, they are rich in oil.

(8) Noble use of oil
Water power - > coal - > oil, direct combustion of crude oil, heavy fuel oil - > tar sand - > natural gas - > nuclear, hydrogen
By natural gas and nuclear heat, we can take out hydrogen - it is the way of saving energies because it utilizes the fossil fuels, biomass & nuclear with high efficiency.

(9) The future of small fast reactor (super safe nuclear power plant with the power output of 20,000 kilowatt)
・The fast reactor of sodium-cooled reactor = it is possible to operate for 30 years with the first installed fuel.
・Very safe design with the natural phenomena - it can shut down, cool down, and air-cooled without the manpower.
・ Low maintenance is possible due to the passive component such as electromagnetic pump.
・ Possible to connect the first reactor to the system that generates hydrogen from water.

(10) Gas engine - World smallest household gas engine is on the marketplace, by Honda

(11) Heat Pump
・ In Europe, heat pump is considered one of the renewable energy comes of solar energy.
・ Heat Pump efficiency is 190%, boiler efficiency is 90%

(12) Selection of high efficient fluorescent light
・ 20%-40% energy saving is possible from using the fluorescent light.
・ Organic EL is suitable for providing the lighting in the wide area

(13) Collecting the large volume of waste heat as electric energy
・ Thermoelectric generator
・ Stirling engine

(14) Japan's lighting at the train station with the emergency energy saving mode is still brighter than that of European countries. Japanese energy consumption amount per person is still 40% higher than that of Europe. There is more room of saving energy better in many areas - for example, look at the lighting at the convenience store. More lighting generate more heat, therefore it requires more energy to provide air conditioning to cool the temperature: this is the area we can improve.

(15) Transportation energy
Bicycle + Person = 0.15 kcal/kg・km, One Person = 0.75 kcal/kg・km, A bicycle = 0.82 kcal/kg・km, Aircraft = 0.6 kcal/kg・km, A mouse = 16 kcal/kg・km

(16) "Eco friendly" actually does not help saving energy as long as we have the society where we can buy everything with money. If we are really looking toward making our society better with the better standard of living, energy has to be "reduced" rather than "saved", because saving energy causes the increase of total energy consumption.
posted by event in English at 17:41| Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | seminar