Past Projects

FY 2017

White Biotechnology

Basic chemicals prepared by bio and catalytic technology

Takashi Arai (Group leader, Daicel Corporation)

The waste glycerol is converted into erythritol by the biotechnology, and then erythritol is produced into butanediol and so on by the catalytic technology, independently. The throughout industrial process in which the technologies proven successful for each purpose are fused is established to contribute to the reduction of CO2 emission.

Development of high functional biosurfactant for mastering the bioplastic

Hiroshi Habe (Group leader, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology)

The biosurfactant is utilized as an additive for plastics towards innovative development for the material sophistication technology such as high-level dispersion of materials.

Development of “SHINAYAKA” cellulose nanofiber composite materials

Takashi Nishino (Professor, Kobe University)

Cellulose nanofibers (CNF) have been employed to strong and hard constructional materials. Herein, we create “Shinayaka” (fl exible and strecthy) polymer composites with CNF.

Next-Generation Smart Community

Development of graphene capacitor contributing to a low-carbon society

Tang Jie (Group Leader, National Institute for Materials Science)

The unique characteristics of graphene such as huge specific surface area and autonomic nanopore formation lead to a highly sophisiticated supercapacitor by the core technologies of three dimensional stacking technology for single layer grpahene sheets and ionic solution system penetrating through nanopores in graphene electrode. High performance, low cost, safety and mentenance free graphene capacitors are developed by the core technologies and mounted to high power service vehicles.

Novel rechargeable non-lithium batteries using ionic liquids melting at middle-ranged temperatures

Rika Hagiwara (Professor, Kyoto University)

Novel sodium secondary batteries will be developed by introducing ionic liquids of which the melting temperatures are around 100 ºC as electrolytes. This technology will solve the problems of the conventional secondary batteries, uneven distribution of the resources such as lithium and cobalt, flammability of organic electrolytes which enables the increasing size and mass production of the batteries without losing their safety.

Development of organic inorganic hybrid high performance solar cells

Tsutomu Miyasaka (Professor, Toin University of Yokohama)

The perovskite solar cell which was first invented by Tsutomu Miyasaka, ALCA PI, is a low cost solution-printable solar cell which has so far attracted the most global attention for high conversion efficiency over 22%. By optimizing the material, the crystal structure and the process in the past ALCA research, the efficiency and reproducibility are greatly increased.
The goal of research is to improve the cell performance and reliability which surpass those in Si solar cells and to convert the perovskite to lead-free structures. In addition, we collaborate with other research groups on tandem combination of perovskite solar cell with other photovoltaic cell for efficiency enhancement.

Highly Efficient Production Process for Biomass-Based Chemicals and Polymers

Nanobio design for solid-degrading enzymes:CO2 bypass carbon cycling

Mitsuo Umetsu (Professor, Tohoku University)

Cellulose biomass is a water-insoluble matter that is hard to degrade. In this research, cellulolytic enzymes called cellulases are three-dimensionally reconstructed on the surface of nano-material to drastically improve the degradation activity. A bioprocess, in which useful organic molecules are produced from cellulose biomass with low energy and low environmental load, is constructed to establish a carbon circulating system in which carbon dioxide is bypassed.

Solar Cell and Solar Energy Systems

Development of high efficiency silicon/perovskite two-terminal tandem solar cells

Takeshi Noda (Group Leader, National Institute for Materials Science)

We develop high efficiency two-terminal solar cells consisting of a silicon bottom cell and a perovskite top cell. By minimizing optical and electrical losses at an interfacial layer connecting the two cells and developing perovskite solar cells with high transparency for long-wavelength light and high open-circuit voltage, we aim for solar cells with the efficiency exceeding that of single-junction silicon solar cells.

Development of high efficiency silicon-based tandem solar cells using silicon- based nanomaterials

Yasuyoshi Kurokawa (Lecturer, Nagoya university)

We will develop high quality silicon quantum dots (QDs) solar cells for the application to the all silicon tandem solar cells. Si is an abundant and non-toxic material and the bandgap of a Si QD can be tuned by controlling its diameter. The Si QD is a promising material for tandem cells. However, energy conversion efficiency of Si QD cells is not enough yet. We will develop ① high quality Si QDs absorber・② Doped Si QDs layer・③ transparent conductive thin films with high temperature tolerance. These developments will contribute to drastic efficiency improvement of Si QD cells.

Electricity generation by combination of solar-pumped lasers and PV devices specially designed for monochromatic laser light.

Tomoyoshi Motohiro (Professor, Nagoya University)

We have fabricated a compact solar-pumped laser unit with a φ50 parabolic mirror and attained stable/continuous generation of laser light on a solar-tracking system. 2D array of the units makes the system scalable for a higher output power. Sunlight is once converted to a monochromatic laser light, and then it is converted to electricity efficiently using PV devices specially designed for the monochromatic intense laser light spot. Taking advantage of transmission of the laser light, the PV devices are separately retained in a conditioned room enabling long-term durability of high conversion efficiency even under extreme weather condition.

Superconducting Systems

Development of cryogen circulation pump for cooling of high temperature superconducting power device

Kazuhiro Kajikawa (Associate Professor, Kyushu University)

Cooling systems required for high temperature superconducting (HTS) power devices are not in a realizable stage yet. In this study, a cryogen pump composed of cryogenic magnetic bearings and a superconducting motor is developed to support directly the installation of HTS power devices in the near future. A circulation cooling system with high efficiency, energy saving and low carbon emission is also constructed by using the fabricated cryogen pump and the existing cryocooler, heat exchanger, etc. Not only liquid nitrogen but also liquid hydrogen is focused on as target cryogens for circulation cooling systems.

Electric Storage Devices

Development of Intercalation Pseudocapacitors

Masashi Okubo (Associate Professor, The University of Tokyo)

Development of high-performance electrochemical energy storage devices is highly desired because of strong demands for their wide spread use in a smart grid. Although electrochemical capacitors are promising owing to the high power density, at present, the energy density is too low for practical application. This project develops electrochemical capacitors that achieve both the high power and the high energy densities, using intercalation pseudocapacitor electrodes.

Biotechnology

Development of novel crop protection technology which can confer durable disease resistance to various crop species

Yoshiteru Noutoshi (Associate Professor, Okayama University)

Reduction of crop yield losses by diseases can greatly contribute to increase biomass production. In this study, small cyclic peptides which prime plant immunity will be identified by the original high-throughput screening method. Then, a methodology will also be developed which can synthesize the bioactive cyclic peptides inside plants to upregulate immunity. This novel crop protection technology is applicable to various crops and cannot be overcome by drug-resistance microbes, and thus it can confer durable disease resistance to broad range of pathogens. It is an alternative way which can complement agrochemicals and breeding.

Innovative Energy-Saving and Energy-Producing Chemical Processes

Irreversible hydrolysis of esters and direct transformation of alkenes directing toward energy reduction of water separation

Makoto Tokunaga (Professor, Kyushu University)

In this project, we aim energy saving by improvement of current process of petroleum chemistry. Particularly, we will try partial or fundamental modification of the process of primary alcohol production from alkenes by introducing oxygen functionalities. We also aim energy saving production of higher alcohols as well as lower alcohols.

FY 2016

Next-Generation Smart Community

Pt-free fuel cell vehicle using liquid fuel as storage medium of electricity

Susumu Yamaguchi (Chief Coordinator, Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd)

Fuel cell technology using hydrazine hydrate which is one of the liquid fuels is developed in this project. Because liquid fuels like hydrazine hydrate can be transported and preserved by plastic bottle easily, electricity for vehicles and home use can be generated in smart communities. Moreover, precious-metal catalysts are not needed due to reaction in alkaline environment by anion exchange membrane. In the fi rst stage of ALCA, high performance and durability anion exchange membrane has developed. In this stage of ALCA which aim to realize this technology in the world, new synthesis technology with low energy is also developing.

Solar Cell and Solar Energy Systems

Printable organic solar cell based on liquid crystal science

Masanori Ozaki (Professor, Osaka university)

On the basis of strategy cultivated in the field of liquid crystal science and technology, we aim to develop a perfect bulk-heterojunction with three-dimensional nano-scaled network for high-efficient organic thin film solar cell which can be fabricated using printing methods at atmospheric pressure. Using the self-organizing characteristics, controlled micro-segregation formation and miscibility of liquid crystals, well-controlled structure can be fabricated even in a simple production technique.

Advanced solar energy utilization systems based on high-temperature photonics

Hiroo Yugami (Professor, Tohoku University)

In this project, we will develop the thermal radiation spectral control technology based on high-temperature photonics. The targets of this object are to fabricate large area solar selective absorber surface with low cost processes, and to fabricate selective emitters which convert broad solar spectrum into quasi-monochromatic infrared thermal radiation. These devices will contribute to improve the efficiency of solar Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) systems and solar power plants.

Superconducting Systems

Superconductor Electronic System Combined with Optics and Spintronics

Akira Fujimaki (Professor, Nagoya University)

We aim to build a computing system with lowered energy consumption for establishing low-carbon society. Based on a new type of the single flux quantum circuits, microprocessors and memories will be developed. Also, new cryogenic memories will be developed by using magnetic materials. In addition, the technique of single photon detection will be applied to optical interfaces.

Innovative Energy-Saving and Energy-Producing Chemical Processes

Development of Synthetic Promoters for Accerelation of Biomass Production

Yoshiharu Y. Yamamoto (Professor, Gifu University)

In order to cope with social demands of biomass production, drastic plant breeding is necessary for various purposes. Thanking to the past scientific efforts that have been done worldwide, we now have considerable accumulation of knowledge about plant useful genes, potentially and actually. Next step is optimization of expression profiles so as to fit with plant materials (crops), purposes, and local conditions of the cultivation fields. This project develops synthetic promoters that can be used for a wide range of breeding demands.

Game-changing Technology Areas (PO: Makoto Konagai)

Integration of nanostructures in crystalline silicon solar cells for advanced management of photons and carriers

Noritaka Usami (Professor, Nagoya University)

We propose to integrate nanostructures to consist of nanophotonic crystals and quantum dots in crystalline Si solar cells for advanced management of photons and carriers. By utilizing strong interaction between photons and nanostructures, absorption of lower energy photons by quantum dots, and suppression of carrier recombination by spatial separation of electrons and holes, we will demonstrate that proposed solar cells could drastically improve the performance of solar cells.

Game-changing Technology Areas (PO: Kenji Taniguchi)

Development of high-efficient and high-intensity lighting using hollow nanoparticles

Masayoshi Fuji (Professor, Nagoya Institute of Technology)

Hollow nanoparticles can be expected to exhibit various properties due to their unique structures. Recently, we have found that the hollow nanoparticles can be promising materials with high optical transparency. In this study, an intensity improvement of current LED lighting by 20 % is attempted using the hollow nanoparticles. Additionally, further 20 % increase of the lighting intensity will be achieved by combination with newly-developed fluorescent nanoparticles and hollow nanoparticles.

FY 2015

Solar Cell and Solar Energy Systems

Artificial Photosynthesis System

Shunichi Fukuzumi (Professor, Meijo University)

In nature, the photosynthetic system utilizes solar energy for producing carbohydrates to store the energy. We are planning to develop artificial photosynthetic systems composed of well-designed organic electron donor-acceptor ensembles and catalytic systems for the solar energy conversion. Artificial photosynthesis consists of five units: ① the light-harvesting (LH) unit, ② the charge-separation (CS) unit, ③ the catalytic unit for water reduction, ④ the catalytic unit for water oxidation, and ⑤ the catalytic CO2 fixation unit.

Smart Innovation on Nitride Semiconductor Solar Cells with Superstructure Magic Alloys: SMART

Akihiko Yoshikawa (Professor, Chiba University)

We challenge to realize high-efficiency nitride semiconductor solar cells with the conversion efficiency beyond 50 % through a proposed novel idea: SMART (Superstructure Magic Alloys fabricated at Raised Temperature). This innovation comes from careful and sophisticated solar cell design under optimum matching between nitride-semiconductor material properties and AM1.5 solar spectrum; an important issue is achieving through SMART technology both drastic reduction of current leakage around each subcell junction and extension of conversion wavelengths toward longer side for covering the solar spectrum. SMART consists of InN/GaN short-period superlattices and thermal- and/or photo-sensitization effect by SMART is also effective to achieve high-efficiency nitride tandem solar cells.

Spinodal Nanotechnology for Super-High Efficiency Energy Conversion

Hiroshi Katayama-Yoshida (Professor, Osaka University)

For the realization of ultra-low cost and super-high-efficiency energy conversion, we perform the multi-scale simulation and computational materials design of the self-organized nano-superstructures, self-regeneration method, new-materials fabrication method, environment friendly materials, and new functionality, based on the spinodal nano-decomposition. By controlling the self-organization and dimensionality in the fabrication process, we propose the universal theory and new principles for the realization of new functional materials. Finally, we will contribute to the future of humanity by developing and realizing the original and new spinodal nano-technology.

Development of environment-friendly solar cell made by clathrate compound of group IV elements

Tetsuji Kume (Associate Professor, Gifu University)

For decrease of emissions of greenhouse gases, it is required for solar cell to use environment-friendly materials as well as to achieve the high efficiency and durability. The purpose of our project is to realize the next generation solar cell which consists of a new "semiconductor clathrate material with the environment-friendly group IV elements (Si and Ge)", taking advantage of the potential ability of high optical absorption efficiency.

Realization of all crystalline ideal structure of organic photovoltaics and efficiency maximization by utilizing co-evaporant induced crystallization method

Toshihiko Kaji (Associate Professor, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology)

Organic semiconductors, such as an ingredient of paint, have potentially high carrier mobility and ideal semiconductor characteristics when purified and crystallized. In this plan, we try to functionalize these potentials in inevitably complexed structure of organic photovoltaics and aim for high efficiency to catch up to single crystalline silicon solar cells. For this aim, fabrication of nesting structure with free-scale in nm-μm is essential. We will establish this technology by utilizing our novel co-evaporant induced crystallization method.

Development of the high-efficiency photovoltaic rectenna

Shinji Nozaki (Professor, The University of Electro-Communications)

A combination of a rectifier and an antenna to receive RF power is referred to as an rectenna, in which the diode converts the high-frequency AC signal received by an antenna to a DC signal. The maximum frequency of operation of a diode is at most 5 THz. The objective of the project is to develop and commercialize the high-efficiency photovoltaic rectenna consisting of an ultra high frequency rectifier and a broad band antenna which can respond to light in the solar spectrum with frequencies from 150 to 1000 THz.

Electric Storage Devices

Novel metal-air battery using oxide ion conducting nano thickness film

Tatsumi Ishihara (Professor, Kyushu University)

High oxide ion conducting materials will be developed based on nanoionics effects and innovative metal-air battery will be developed by using the developed high oxide ion conductor for electrolyte. The aimed metal-air battery works based on a direct oxidation of metal like Fe or Li with permeated oxygen trough electrolyte, or oxidation with H2/H2O as a mediator.

Bottom-Up Fabrication of High Performance Compact Devices Using Single-Crystal Nanocubes

Kazumi Kato (Research Group Leader, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology)

In order to develop bottom-up fabrication technology for high performance compact devices, basic issues such as synthesis, assembly, interface and characteristics of single-crystal nanocubes of dielectrics are investigated. Consequently, supercapacitors consisting of dielectric nanocubes will be able to expand their capabilities for high energy densities as well as high power densities.

Application of complex hydride-based fast ionic conductors to all-solid-state rechargeable devices

Atsushi Unemoto (Lecturer, Tohoku University)

The complex hydrides, which are different members of the oxides and the sulfides, are recently recognized as the third party of the rechargeable battery electrolytes. This study aims to apply them into the all-solid-state rechargeable batteries. We develop the design principles to achieve the higher energy densities than the conventional lithium rechargeable battery based on the correlation between the active materials compositions, their combinations and the structures, and device performances.

Biotechnology

Development of Innovative Regulatory Techniques of Biofilms for production of clean energy

Nobuhiko Nomura (Professor, University of Tsukuba)

The primary goal of this project is the development of new regulatory techniques of microbial biofilms for the production of clean energy. In this project, we will integrate a new bioimaging analysis and micro fluidic analytical techniques to develop high throughput analytic technology for biofilms, leading to innovative regulatory techniques of biofilm. These innovations should be beneficial not only for the production of clean energy, but also for the improvement in the regulation of biofilms in relation to low carbon technologies.

Molecular Breeding for Increasing Biomass Production in the Problem Soils

Naoko K. Nishizawa (Professor, Ishikawa Prefectural University)

Increasing biomass production in the problem soils where plant productivity is severely reduced contributes to the reduction of carbon dioxide. We aim to improve biomass productivity by molecular breeding of new plants with tolerance to the alkaline soils and reduce carbon dioxide. To achieve this, we aim to clarify a new basic mechanism of plant tolerance to the problem soils.

An innovative Bacillus subtilis cell factory for industrial chemical production with high efficiency and flexibility

Naotake Ogasawara (President, Nara Institute of Science and Technology)

We aim to create a bioprocess-based cell factory for industrial chemical production, which currently depends on energy-consuming and CO2-emitting chemical processes. Towards this goal, innovative genomic modifications in B. subtilis will be demonstrated to maintain and optimize cell growth as well as metabolic fluxes, enabling high efficiency and eco-friendliness in various chemical productions.

Innovative Energy-Saving and Energy-Producing Chemical Processes

Development of Catalytic Gasification Process of Biomass at Low Temperature

Takayuki Takarada (Professor, Gunma University)

This research aims to develop highly efficient and thermally free-standable low temperature (400 °C) gasification process of biomass through the development of catalysts with higher performance and lower cost, advanced de-sulfurization and de-chlorination technologies and optimized operation condition of gasifier. This technology will promote the utilization of renewable biomass energy in Japan and other countries, and significantly reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

Development of Exergy Recuperative Reaction and Separation System

Atsushi Tsutsumi (Professor, The University of Tokyo)

Recently, self-heat recuperation technology based on the exergy recuperative heat utilization principle has been developed, which can recirculate all process heat, leading to drastic process energy saving. By applying this technology to chemical processes for energy saving, we aim to develop the design methodology of innovative exergy recuperative processes for irreversible reaction systems in this project.

Creation of Catalytic Biomass-refinery without Glycation or Fermentation

Masakazu Iwamoto (Professor, Chuo University)

The present and next-generation biomass-refineries are working with old-style processes of separation of components, glycation, and fermentation. This study will be devoted to creation of novel catalytic biomass-refinery which will be operated only by various catalytic processes. Namely catalytic solubilization of lignocellulose into water and effective catalytic hydrogenation / hydrogenolysis of new platform compounds in water and so on would be developed.

Innovative Energy-Saving and Energy-Producing Systems and Devices

Nanotube flexible electronics with minimal resource consumption

Suguru Noda (Professor, Waseda University)

Flexible electronics will contribute to renewable energy production and resource/energy saving by realizing various devices such as solar cells, e-papers, and organic LED lightings at low cost and large scale. This project will develop flexible electrodes/wirings commonly important in such devices by utilizing carbon nanotubes, which have both advantages of inorganic and organic materials. The game-changing technology for their high through-put, low-cost production will contribute to low carbon emissions through wide use of such devices.

Game-changing Technology Areas (PO: Makoto Konagai)

Crystal Growth and Interface Control Technology of Group IV Semiconductor Thin Films for Multi-Layered Solar Cell

Osamu Nakatsuka (Associate Professor, Nagoya University)

We design the multi-layered solar cell structure with the group-IV semiconductor mixed crystals and develop its fabrication technology. We aim to realize the independent control of the lattice constant and energy band diagram by mixed crystal layers of multi-group-IV elements including carbon, silicon, germanium, and tin. We also develop the control technology of crystalline and interfacial defects by controlling the local and global strains with mixed crystal thin films. We attempt to establish the novel solar cell module structure with the ultra-high energy transformation efficiency.

FY 2014

Solar Cell and Solar Energy Systems

Novel Thin Film Solar Cell Technologies for TW PV Generation

Shigeru Niki (Director, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology)

Chalcogenide solar cell technologies (CdTe and CIGS) have been leading the thin film solar cell technologies, though they have limitations in material supplies and cost reduction. In this project, thin film solar cell technologies based upon earth-abundant materials such as Cu and Fe will be investigated. Focus will be on the development of novel thin film deposition techniques and cell processes for new chalcogenide materials.

Superconducting Systems

Development of waste-heat recovery system using natural heat engines

Tetsushi Biwa (Professor, Tohoku university)

We will develop a new waste-heat recovery system that has no moving parts. The heart of this system is the natural heat engine based on thermoacoustic spontaneous gas oscillations. Use of acoustic waves in place of mechanical pistons makes this type of engine different from conventional heat engines. Objective of this study is to improve the thermal efficiency up to 30% of the Carnot efficiency with the hot-end temperature of 200 ℃ and the cold-end temperature of 30 ℃. We will apply an original experimental method using external oscillating force, in order to enable the rapid design and analysis.

Electric Storage Devices

Tailor-Made Nanocrystals for Electric Storage Device

Satoshi Ohara (Associate Professor, Osaka University)

Recently, keen attention is attracted on controlling material function by the material structure. Nanotechnology is a typical example of this stage of technology. In this project, tailor-made nanocrystals with highly controlled material structure are used in order to develop high performance fuel cells, batteries and capacitors.

Development of High Capacitive and High Rate Charging-discharging Li-ion Batteries via Nanostructural Control

Isamu Moriguchi (Professor, Nagasaki University)

Reversible and stable multi-electron redox reactions for Li insertion/extraction, which do not proceed in bulk materials, are tied to be achieved by structural control of active materials in nanoscale. High performance Li-ion secondary batteries with extremely high capacity and rate-capability will be developed through designing and fabricating electrodes with the active nanomaterials. Especially, development of highly functional charging-discharging electrode materials will be challenged by creating novel nanosized active materials and nanocomposites of active material and carbon such as carbon-nanocoated active nanomaterials and so on.

Development of fuel cell and water electrolysis cell using nano-laminating technique for electrocatalyst fabrication

Tsuyohiko Fujigaya (Associate Professor, Kyushu University)

The target of this project is the development of fuel cell and water electrolysis cell using nano-laminating technique for the electrocatalyst fabrication. Nano-laminating method developed by our team is promising method to attach catalyst nanoparticle onto carbon nanomaterial without destroying the structure of carbon, which lead the high durability for fuel cell and electrolysis cell.

Ultra Heat-Resistant Materials and High Quality Recycled Steel

Design principle for high-power shape memory alloy operated by waste heat

Tomonari Inamura (Associate Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Alloy composition and microstructures are controlled to maximize the output of new shape memory alloys that can operate above 373K. A new and challenging alloy design is proposed; the lattice defects that are origin of internal friction and fatigue damage are eliminated. This research project contributes to the realization of a clean power generation that can transform waste heat into electric power just by contacting the devise with low-grade and unused heat source below 473K.

Basic technology of large scale manufacturing of super lightweight reinforced composite materials with innovative CNT application techniques

Yoku Inoue (Associate Professor, Shizuoka University)

Super lightweight and strong carbon nanotube (CNT) composites (CNTRP) are newly developed by controlling the alignment of milli-meter-long CNTs in the composites. Basic research on large scale manufacturing technology of CNT is carried to reduce the present high price of CNTs, which has been preventing the constructive CNT application researches and developments. We establish the basic technology of large scale production of high-performance CNTRP. The new lightweight CNTRP will bring a big change in material weight in transportation systems, and will contribute to significant reduction of CO2 exhausted from fossil fuel consumption.

Development of highly efficient silicon thermoelectric materials using nanoscale structure control

Shinsuke Yamanaka (Professor, Osaka University)

To commercialize thermoelectric power generation technology, highly efficient thermoelectric conversion materials made of environmentally friendly elements are essential. Utilizing various nano fabrication techniques and advanced silicon (Si) nano device technology, this study sets out to create a form of Si with a nanoscale-controlled structure exhibiting high-performance thermoelectric characteristics. This work is ultimately directed at the development of highly efficient bulk nano Si thermoelectric materials that deliver high performance between ambient temperature and about 300°C, with a view to application to automobile heat recovery systems.

Biotechnology

Highly efficient saccharification of biomass by designer biocatalysts

Noriho Kamiya (Professor, Kyushu University)

The aim of this study is to develop a novel technology for assembling biocatalysts that play different roles in degradation of lignocellulosic biomass. We will design new biomolecular building blocks and biocatalytic units for bioassembly, which leads to create a "designer biocatalyst" toward highly efficient saccharification process of cellulosic biomass.

Development of the key technology for design of novel lignocelluloses in plants by microbial functions

Shinya Kajita (Associate Professor, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology)

In order to achieve the low carbon society, we will generate novel lignocelluloses that include lignins with less inhibitory effects toward utilization of the plant biomasses. To do this, we will find out the microbial genes that are useful for tailor made of lignins and express them in the transgenic plants.

Development of a novel propanol fermentation process for bio-polymer production

Michihiko Kataoka (Professor, Osaka Prefecture University)

Propanol is expected as one of the feasible precursors of polypropylene, thus its production method from biomass is desired. In this project, microbial production of propanol from biomass using recombinant microorganisms will be examined, and a novel and efficient production system for bio-propanol would be developed.

CO2/C1-fixation utilizing light energy by C1 microbe-plant symbiotic system

Yasuyoshi Sakai (Professor, Kyoto University)

C1-microbes widely distributed at phyllosphere can grow on C1-compounds, e.g., methanol, methane, as a single carbon source. They were recently found to promote the growth and crop yield of various plants. However, their mechanisms are unknown. This project will reveal the positive factors of C1-microbes on carbon fixation at molecular and chemical levels, and establish a technology to promote biomass production.

Innovative Energy-Saving and Energy-Producing Chemical Processes

Development of core materials for solid oxide fuel cell operating at intermediate temperature

Takahisa Omata (Associate Professor, Osaka University)

Highly conductive protonic solid electrolyte and non-noble metal catalytic electrode materials are newly developed in this project for the solid oxide fuel cell operated at intermediate temperatures of 300 ~ 500 °C. We aim to establish a power-generating system that is consisting of a low cost methanol fuel cell without using noble metals and high heat-resistance materials.

Innovative Energy-Saving and Energy-Producing Systems and Devices

Basic Technologies For Green Inverter Using Large Diameter Diamond Substrates

Hiroshi Kawarada (Professor, Waseda University)

In this proposal, basic technologies for ultra low loss inverter is going to be developed utilizing the advantages of diamond properties in single crystalline substrates and polycrystalline substrates which can be provided in large diameter. The channel structures formed by junction FET or metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) FET are combined with the drift structures formed by field plate or planar super junctions to develop new planar power FETs with high cost performance. The reduction of CO2 emission of 10 million tons (about 1% of total CO2 emission per year in Japan) is expected by the newly developed low loss inverters.

FY 2013

Solar Cell and Solar Energy Systems

Development of III-V nitride solar cell and its application to concentrator photovoltaic system

Masatomo Sumiya (Principal Researcher, National Institute for Materials Science)

We will improve the quality of III-V nitride film in term of the application to photovoltaic device. Studying the correlation between defect and carrier transportation inside the film and at the interface of junction, we attempt to enhance the conversion efficiency. The feature of III-V nitride film is the potential converting shorter wavelength in the solar spectra to the electric power. We will propose the combination of III-V nitride solar cell and conventional concentrator photovoltaic device, in order to achieve the conversion efficiency more than 50%.

High performance silicon solar cell by solution process

Tatsuya Shimoda (Professor, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology)

The aim of this research is to develop a solar cell with high cost performance by solution process using both liquid silicon materials and liquid metal oxide ones. The term of high cost performance means that high performance and low cost should be realized at the same time. The high performance will be achieved by enhancing properties of silicon film layers and their interfaces, introducing a tandem structure and developing a transparent oxide conductive electrode which has a light trapping structure with high performance. The low cost will be accomplished by cost reduction of liquid silicon materials, lowering the process cost by maturing the solution process and reducing the equipment cost. The ultimate purpose of the research is to develop the solar cell of which electricity cost is compatible with that of the conventional commercial one.

Construction of Hybrid-nanocarbon Solar Cells

Masaru Hori (Professor, Nagoya University)

Hybrid-nanocarbon solar cells, consisting of amorphous carbon, nanographene, nanodiamond and, their composites or stacks, are proposed as a novel solar cell in this project. The carbon solar cell is an ultimate devices from a viewpoint of the cost and we will challenge to fabricate the innovative solar cell by the breakthrough with advanced plasma science and technologies. This novel solar cell is certain to contribute not only a reduction of CO2 emission in Japan but also a new development on plasma processing of materials.

Superconducting Systems

Development of facile synthesis routes for single-crystalline transparent-conducting-oxides-coated glass substrates

Akira Ohtomo (Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology)

As for the environmentally benign metal-oxides, practical use has been pursued in many technological areas related to clean energy. Because of the lack of fabrication method of a large-area single crystal, however, the use of oxides’ original functions is currently limited. Our group will make a challenge to develop the fabrication method of a transparent oxide single crystal on glass materials under the mild condition where a natural mineral crystallizes. Such technological development would lead to low-cost production of various devices such as solid-state lighting, solar cell, high-Tc superconducting tape, and flat-panel display.

New strategic search for high-Tc superconductors by thin-film synthesis forefront

Michio Naito (Professor, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology)

This project aims at the search for new high-Tc superconductors by renovating the strategy from past "carrier doping to Mott insulators" to new "strong Cooper pairing via covalent bond". The material search is undertaken by thin-film synthesis forefront developed by the applicant. The goal of the project is to discover new superconductors with Tc > 77 K other than copper oxides.

Development of innovative superconducting electric power cable

Teruo Matsushita (Researcher, Kyushu Institute of Technology)

A superconducting DC power cable will be developed employing the longitudinal magnetic field effect that the critical current density of a superconductor increases dramatically in a parallel magnetic field. In order to realize the structure in which the longitudinal magnetic field effect appears the superconductors in the outer shield layer are twisted in one way so that the shielding current flowing there applies the axial magnetic field to the inner conductor. The superconductors in the inner conductor are twisted in the opposite direction so that the superconductor is parallel to the magnetic field. This leads to a significant enhancement of the current capacity from existing superconducting power cables.

Ultra Heat-Resistant Materials and High Quality Recycled Steel

Development of layer-integrated steel that enables both high performance and low CO2 emission

Toshihiko Koseki (Professor, The University of Tokyo)

High performance steels are necessary for competitiveness, safety and reliability of steel products and infrastructure, and they are currently produced from blast furnace steel route, which leads to a significant emission of CO2, approximately 15% of the total CO2 emitted in Japan. In this research project, a layer-integrated steels that consist of recycled steel and can achieve both high performance and low CO2 emission will be developed by using recycled steel through multi-scale structure.

Biotechnology

Development of bioplastics using inedible polysaccharides

Masatoshi Iji (Research Fellow, NEC Corporation)

In the project, we develop an advanced bioplastic to greatly reduce gas that causes global warming by using stably supplied inedible plant resources: polysaccharides such as cellulose. We aim to produce the bioplastic by effectively bonding natural organic compounds to the polysaccharides with minute and rigid structures that are naturally created. The bioplastic will realize good practical properties, a high plant ingredient ratio (a high reduction ratio of petroleum), and a low amount of CO2 generation in the production, less than 50% of those of petroleum-resourced plastics with similar properties.

Nitrogen Revolution: Introduction of Nitrogen Fixing Ability to Photosynthetic Organisms

Yuichi Fujita (Associate Professor, Nagoya University)

Current population of almost 7 billions depends on high yield agriculture that is only achieved by application of nitrogen fertilizer produced by industrial nitrogen fixation with burning a lot of fossil fuel. Vast amount of carbon dioxide is emitted by this process. In this project, I try to establish basic technology to create nitrogen fixing crops by introduction of genes for nitrogen fixation from diazotrophic bacteria.

Research & Development of Innovative Processes for Bio-based Polymer Ingredient from Cellulosic Biomass

Katsushige Yamada (Research Fellow, Chief Research Associate, Toray Industries,Inc.)

In this research, we develop bio-based nylon ingredient production processes from cellulosic biomass as raw materials. Towards this goal, innovative biocatalysts (enzymes and microbes) and their recycling technologies are also investigated to optimize an overall process and reduce the production cost. Green nylon made form cellulosic biomass is expected to share the market with existing nylon to reduce GHG gas emission.

Innovative Energy-Saving and Energy-Producing Chemical Processes

Development of an universal CO2 permeation membrane for innovative energy-saving and energy-generation chemical processes

Hideto Matsuyama(Professor, Kobe University)

Various processes have been proposed to realize the low carbon society via separation and purification of CO2. However, because of several limitations such as variation of gas properties, high energy cost for operation and large size of the separation units, conventional CO2 separation technologies have not yet been sufficiently applied for commercial processes. In this project, we try to develop a novel CO2 separation membrane incorporating a reactive and functional ionic liquid as a CO2 carrier. The CO2 separation membrane with high performance for various gas mixtures will be developed with the aid of molecular simulation and advanced analysis of physical and chemical properties.

Decomposition of CO2 by combining zirconia anode and molten salt electrolysis

Ryosuke O. Suzuki(Professor, Hokkaido University)

By blowing CO2 gas into molten salt, it is electrochemically decomposed into carbon and oxygen. Oxygen is taken from the inside of zirconia anodic tube that is permeable for oxygen. Carbon is picked up as the mixture of amorphous carbon and carbon nano-tubes. We aim to study the efficient conditions, mechanism and speed for CO2 decomposition, and to challenge to minimize the operation temperature.

Innovative Energy-Saving and Energy-Producing Systems and Devices

Ultra-high Voltage, High Efficiency, and Compact Vacuum Power Switch

Daisuke Takeuchi(Senior Research Scientist, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology)

The purpose of this project is to develop "ultra-high voltage, high efficiency, and compact vacuum power switch" with making use of a combination of high breakdown voltage of a vacuum and a unique property of diamond in electron emission. It requires huge ultra-high voltage system to transmit generated electric power from far regions, while this device will minimize the sizes of such systems, and contribute to establish smart power grids. This technology will enable us to develop and distribute huge amount of renewable energies such as off shore window powers in whole areas of Japan, and in the world.

FY 2012

Solar Cell and Solar Energy Systems

Fabrication of Solar Heat Thermoelectric Materials by Controlling Ordered Structures and Phase Interfaces

Yoshisato Kimura (Associate Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology)

The aim of this research project is to establish the thermoelectric power generation system which is based on the direct and clean conversion from solar heat into electrical power. We challenge to fabricate high performance thermoelectric materials without depending on neither toxic nor rare elements from the viewpoints of environment and economy. To achieve the n-p type property conversion and remarkable improvement of thermoelectric performance, we focus on controlling ordered crystal structures and microstructure involving phase interfaces in multi-scale. The idea of combining thermoelectric modules together with solar cells leads to the widespread use of the system, which can be developed as emergency power supply system to get prepared for unexpected disaster and to ensure the safety of the community.

Development of Highly Efficient, Low-Cost Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Hiroshi Imahori (Professor, Kyoto University)

The objective of this research is to synthesize novel sensitizers including porphyrins for low-cost dye-sensitized solar cells of which the device performance exceeds that of expensive ruthenium-based dye-sensitized solar cells. On the basis of rational molecular design and advanced device technology, we are aiming to achieve a power conversion efficiency of 15% by improving the light-harvesting, electron injection, and charge collection efficiencies.

Development of a solar hydrogen system by photocatalysts with a large scalability

Kazunari Domen (Professor, The University of Tokyo)

The utilization of hydrogen produced cleanly by water splitting under solar irradiation for energy and/or chemical resources will lead to low carbon society. In this project, we will develop a hydrogen production system based on photocatalysts for water splitting, which has high efficiency and a large scalability. Our final goal is to establish a promising photocatalytic system for water splitting, which has solar energy conversion efficiency of 5 %.

Development of silicon/germanium multi-junction solar cells having a novel structure

Wenchang Yeh (Associate Professor, Shimane University)

Novel multi-junction structured solar cells using silicon and germanium are developed, with using sputtering hetero-epitaxy of germanium on silicon. By making use of germanium layer, photons with wavelength between 700 and 1500nm which is used to be difficult for silicon film can be absorbed in excess. Further breakthrough of energy conversion efficiency in silicon based solar cells is expected.

Development of energy conversion devices using colloidal semiconductor nanoparticles

Taro Uematsu (Assistant Professor, Osaka University)

Nanoscaled metals and semiconductors have special properties relative to the bulk. Although highly efficient solar cells utilizing nanostructures are being proposed, conventional nanotechnology cannot afford to manufacture these devices on a large scale. This project focuses on the development of next generation solar cells with nanostructure based on the self-assembly techniques of colloidal semiconductor nanoparticles which are synthesized by the wet process.

Development of novel types of photocatalysts for CO2 utilization using sun light

Osamu Ishitani (Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology)

For development of CO2-utilization technologies using solar light as an energy source, we will develop novel types of Z-scheme photocatalysts for CO2 reduction constructed with both metal-complex and semiconductor photocatalysts. Metal-complex photocatalysts constructed with abundant metals will be also investigated.

Development of new solar cells comprised of nanocarbon

Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (Associate Professor, Kyushu University)

Ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD)/hydrogenated amorphous carbon (a-C:H) composite (UNCD/a-C:H) films, which are comprised of diamond crystallites with diameter of less than 10 nm embedded in an a-C:H matrix, possess large optical absorption coefficients in the visible range due to a large number of grain boundaries. Here, the grain boundaries exactly means that the interfaces between UNCD crystallites and those between UNCD and an a-C:H matrix. We have confirmed evident photoconduction corresponding to the large optical absorption. In this work, we are committed to apply this photoconduction to photovoltaics.

Superconducting Systems

Computer Architecture for Stabilizing Next Generation Low Power Devices

Yasuhiko Nakashima (Professor, Nara Institute of Science and Technology)

From now on, the engineers should establish tolerant and stable computer architecture for using next generation ultra low-power devices that handle information employing tiny transition of energy level. We explore several cutting edge techniques to enhance dependability of next generation computers that will be developed with some ultra low-power device with the aim of collaboration of researchers in the field of devices and computer architectures.

Electric Storage Devices

Development of high performance anodic material for metal secondary battery using TCNF with unique nano-gate structure

Seong-Ho Yoon (Professor, Kyushu University)

Selective preparation of novel high performance anodic material for metal secondary battery using TCNF with unique nano-gate structure is studied, which contains target metal only inside of TCNF and does not let metal particle but only metal ion allow to enter and leave inside space of TCNF through nano-gate structure. Such metal charged TCNF with unique nano-gate structure can suitably allow the very effective anodic material for metal secondary battery with high capacity, high rate and high reliance. For the 1st stage, the optimization of nano-gate structure of TCNF, the charge of target metal to only inside of TCNF-NG and the proper electrochemical charge-discharge characteristics of target metal ions through the nano-gate structure are focused to early realize the anodic materials for Li and Na metal secondary battery systems.

Research Development for Light Metallic Giant Capacitor

Mikio Fukuhara (Specially Approved Research Scientist, Tohoku University)

This study is development of physically giant storage materials which are different from alkaline type fuel cell based on usual electrochemical reactions. Our aim lies in development of giant electric storage capacitor with 1,000 F/cm3, using of nano-capacitors stored among nanometer sized clusters in glassy and crystalline alloys. We investigate realization of the immediate future-electric and electronic devices with smallest-lightest metallic capacitors, by aids of controlling of tunnel structures and joining of ribbon specimens.

Ultra Heat-Resistant Materials and High Quality Recycled Steel

Development of optically-active thermoelectric materials

Ichiro Terasaki (Professor, Nagoya University)

Light emitted from the sun and waste heat produced from human activities are precious energy sources in our country which lacks any other energy resources. Photovoltaics and thermoelectrics are the technologies that convert these energies into electric power, but seem to run into an impasse technologically at present. We try to unify the two technologies and create a new science on optically-active thermoelectric materials in which light energy and heat can be converted into electric power at a much higher efficiency than the state-of-the-art technologies. Using such materials we propose a new direction to developments of energy conversion materials.

Development of novel thermoelectric materials using flat-band mechanism

Minoru Nohara (Professor, Okayama University)

We are wasting huge thermal energy, which remains in hot water of baths, automobile exhaust, unused heat from power plants and incinerators, for instance. This research aims to develop novel thermoelectric materials, which harness the remaining heat to generate electricity. The goal will be to realize rare-metals free and high-efficient materials using flat-band mechanism.

Biotechnology

Engineering for the composite production of chemical building blocks and electricity from cellulosic biomasses

Kiyohiko Igarashi (Associate Professor, University of Tokyo)

Cellulose is a major component of plant cell wall and the most abundant biomass in nature. However, production of energy and materials from cellulosic biomass involves many difficulties. We attempt here to establish the biomass utilization process using the enzymes from filamentous fungi for the production of chemical building blocks and electricity at the same time from cellulosic biomass, which contributes development of low-carbon society.

Development of organic materials for solar cell by combinatorial biochemistry

Daisuke Shibata (Department Head, Kazusa DNA Research Institute)

To find novel chemical structures for developing dyes suitable to a dye sensitized solar cell, we search a diverged array of natural products produced by plants and microorganisms. Low-cost novel dyes will be developed from selected chemical structures by means of combinatorial biochemistry, in which biological and chemical techniques are combined to produce diverged dyes.

Innovation of super photosynthesis and bioproduction by enhancing CO2-concentrating ability

Hideya Fukuzawa (Professor, Kyoto University)

Micro algae have capability to concentrate inorganic carbon into the cell and to produce various useful energy compounds such as triacylglycerol containing polyunsaturated fatty acids. In this study, such capabilities will be clarified at the gene level and used to enhance photosynthetic carbon fixation. We also develop technologies, which enable us to modify metabolic pathways to convert fixed carbon into valuable materials, for example, used for chemical industry. We will identify useful genes by analyzing genomic structure and gene expression patterns in green algae.

Development of base technologies for drop-in fuel production by bioprocess

Norihiro Mitsukawa (Research Manager, Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc.)

Establishment of a low-carbon society can be promoted by the spread of biofuel used for vehicle, such as automobile. This research develops a technology of improving the function of a living thing by large scale genome reorganization. Furthermore, we challenge development of a system which produces efficiently the drop-in fuel which does not need change of a vehicle and a fueling infrastructure.

FY 2011

Superconducting Systems

Towards a low-carbon life unconsciously! Smart energy management systems for creative space

Mamiko Koshiba (Research Fellow, Tokyo university of Agriculture and Technology)

Saving energy at home/office is in urgent need. This study aims to develop a technology based on intelligent space management systems that help people to use energy save mode without consciously being aware of it. Cheap and simple biorhythms sensors attached on the body and environments learn a single or multiple users' expectations and implement adaptive low-energy consumption at multi-modal equipment. This will promote human ability to adapt to environment, and will consequently improve our mind and body.

Electric Storage Devices

Development of rare earth free-semiconductor secondary battery

Hiroshi Kajiyama (Professor, Hiroshima University)

The purpose of this project is to develop a high efficiency secondary battery by using an electron storage phenomenon found in the semiconductor made mainly of Mg and Zn. A photo-induced-structural-change is necessary requirement for the electron storage in this system. By clarifying the further mechanism of electron storage, device structure and material processing are optimized. The energy density of 20,000 Wh/kg (~a hundred time of Li ion battery) is the performance goal.

Li-Si based nanocomposites for rechargeable lithium-ion battery anodes

Hirotomo Nishihara (Associate Professor, Tohoku University)

Si is one of the powerful candidates for next-generation anode materials for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. However, a large volume expansion of Si upon Li insertion can totally destroy the structure of the whole electrode, resulting in a quite poor cyclability. In this work, we overcome this problem by using Li22Si5 alloy as an anode material. Our target is to develop an anode material with 5.4 times larger gravimetric capacity together with 2.4 times larger volumetric capacity than the conventional graphite anode.

Biotechnology

Development of advanced applied microbiological technology for low-carbon bioproduction of chemicals

Junichi Kato (Professor, Hiroshima University)

We will develop base technology for bioproduction of chemicals to achieve significant reduction of CO2 emission in chemical industry. For this purpose, we will develop technology for 1) bioproduction of hydrophobic chemicals using organic solvent tolerant bacteria as host strains, 2) novel biocatalysts that enable byproduct-free production and can be handled as easily as chemical catalysts. We will also establish novel biocatalyst immobilization technology required for continuous process and downsizing of process.

Improving the efficiency for metabolism of autotrophic microorganisms

Masaharu Ishii (Associate Professor, The University of Tokyo)

In this research project, we use two species of hydrogen bacteria, one with optimum growth temperature of 50 °C and the other with 70 °C. We aim at improving the efficiency for carbon dioxide fixation and energy acquiring system. We also aim at improving the productivity of biomass and useful materials through the introduction of new technique. For these purposes, we promote the following researches; (1) to improve the efficiency of carbon dioxide fixation enzymes, (2) to improve the efficiency of energy acquiring, (3) to develop a system to make useful materials from carbon dioxide, and (4) to develop a new cultivation technique.

Creation of tuber plants with exceptionally high productivity for sustainable low-carbon society

Akiho Yokota (Professor, Nara Institute of Science and Technology)

We have achieved to create potato plants with 3.5-times higher productivity on the fresh weight-basis than the original wild plants. This R&D aims at clarifying the function of the root growth-promoting gene from wild watermelon in potato tuber development and improving productivity of potato, sweet potato and cassava by introducing the root gene and other promising genes into these plants. We hope this R&D will contribute to building of sustainable low-carbon society.

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