Research Projects (Research Areas)

Solar Cell and Solar Energy Systems

Year Started: 2014

Itaru Osaka (Senior Research Scientist, RIKEN)

Development of High-Efficiency Polymer-Based Solar Cells

Organic solar cells based on semiconducting polymers, "plastic" solar cells, are expected to be a technology with low-cost and low-enviromental impact. In this project, we will create new high-performance semiconducting polymers by controlling their electronic and ordering structures, and aim at the energy converion efficiency of 15% which has not been achieved for "plastic" solar cells.

Year Started: 2013

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

Development of the high-efficiency photovoltaic rectenna

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.

Laboratory HP

Tsutomu Miyasaka (Professor, Toin University of Yokohama)

Development of organic inorganic hybrid high performance solar cells

High efficiency solution-printable photovoltaic cells with organic inorganic hybrid structures represented by organo metal halide perovskite crystals are developed by implementing strong harvesting power for the solar photonic spectrum and maximizing photovoltage to more than 1V. With the goal of power conversion efficiency toward 20%, cell fabrication method based on wet processes is designed so that the manufacture cost is minimized to 1/10 those of existing organic thin film solar cells.

Laboratory HP

Tomoyoshi Motohiro (Professor, Nagoya University)

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

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.

Year Started: 2012

Toshihiko Kaji (Assistant Professor, Institute for Molecular Science, National Institutes of Natural Sciences)

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

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.

Laboratory HP

Year Started: 2011

Noritaka Usami (Professor, Nagoya University)

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

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.

Masanori Ozaki (Professor, Osaka university)

Printable organic solar cell based on liquid crystal science

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.

Laboratory HP

Tetsuji Kume (Associate Professor, Gifu University)

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

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.

Osamu Nakatsuka (Associate Professor, Nagoya University)

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

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.

Hiroo Yugami (Professor, Tohoku University)

Advanced solar energy utilization systems based on high-temperature photonics

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.

Laboratory HP

Year Started: 2010

Shunichi Fukuzumi (Professor, Osaka University)

Artificial Photosynthesis System

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.

Laboratory HP

Akira Yamada (Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Development of non-vacuum processing for high efficiency next-generation thin-film solar cells

We aim at realization of next-generation thin-film solar cells. The solar cell consists of Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 (CZTSSe) in which the constituent elements are all naturally abundant, so that it is free from a global shortage of rare metals. Metal and/or compound nano-particles are printed and sintered, and then CZTSSe thin-film is formed by a non-vacuum process. The highly efficient solar cells will be produced by the high-throughput and low-cost process, and the project will contribute to the establishment of a sustainable society.

Akihiko Yoshikawa (Professor, Chiba University)

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

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.

Hiroshi Katayama-Yoshida (Professor, Osaka University)

Spinodal Nanotechnology for Super-High Efficiency Energy Conversion

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.

Superconducting Systems

Year Started: 2014

Masataka Iwakuma (Professor, Kyushu University)

Development of REBCO fully superconducting rotary machines

We will conduct the research and development of fully superconducting rotating machines using REBCO coated conductors (CCs.). Applying our original technologies for reduction of ac losses as well as for enhancement of electric current capacity of conductors using plural pieces of REBCO CCs to the armature windings for rotating machines, we will first develop the superconducting armature winding technologies with low AC loss characteristics and a large current capacity. Combination of this superconducting armature with rotating REBCO superconducting field windings makes it possible to install the both windings into the same casing resulting in reduction of the gap distance and constitute it as a compact superconducting synchronous rotating machine of high output power density and the high efficiency. This rotating machine will bring us the realization of the “low-carbon society” through effective energy savings.

Year Started: 2013

Shigehiro Nishijima (Professor, Osaka University)

Removing Iron Oxide Particles from Boiler Feed-Water of Thermal Power Plants

In thermal power plants, iron oxide particles and scales in boiler feed-water raise pressure drop and decrease heat-exchange efficiency. As a result, power plants cannot effectively generate electric power. We develop a new magnetic separation system, which is installed near boilers, with a unique superconducting magnet to remove iron oxide from high-pressure and high-temperature boiler feed-water. The magnetic separation system suppresses scale build-up in feed pipes and boilers and improves efficiency of electric generation of thermal power plants, and thereby reduces CO2.

Shinya Hasegawa (Junior associate professor, Tokai University)

Waste-Heat Recovery Thermoacoustic System with Achievement of 60% of Carnot Efficiency

As much as 65% of thermal energy is discarded from factories and vehicles as waste heat. This study aims at developing low-temperature waste-heat recovery technology, which uses a thermoacoustic heat engine with no moving parts. It is realized by using acoustic wave instead of mechanical pistons, therefore having the advantage of being of low-cost and maintenance-free. A waste-heat recovery system that achieves 60% of Carnot efficiency is to be realized by using performance analysis method applying uniquely-developed non-equilibrium thermodynamics, and with the cooperation of researchers working in different disciplines.

Laboratory HP

Year Started: 2012

Taketsune Nakamura (Associate Professor, Kyoto University)

System of Superconducting Rotating Machines for Transport Equipments that Supports Low Carbon Society

This proposal is based upon the system of high-temperature superconducting induction/synchronous machines of which pioneering studies have been conducted by the Kyoto University and AISIN SEIKI Co., Ltd.-academic group. The team is to make the overwhelming high functionality for the existing machines the ultimate and develop electric drive transport equipments that support low carbon society. In concrete, with the use of aforementioned rotating machine system, realization of de-rare earth components, optimization of variable speed, and practical direct drive transport equipments are executed, and then innovative low carbonization is defined clearly.

Year Started: 2011

Toshiya Doi (Professor, Kyoto University)

Low-cost High Temperature Superconducting Wire

It was estimated that only 4 percent of the area of the world's deserts would be enough to supply the energy needs of the entire globe by converting photovoltaic power to electric energy at the current level of efficiency. As long as using metallic power cables which involve transmission loss, however, the generated electric power could not be distributed to the whole world. In this research project, we develop super-low-cost high temperature superconducting wires carrying the electricity without any energy loss, which enable us to realize the global electric power network.

Akira Fujimaki (Professor, Nagoya University)

Superconductor Electronic System Combined with Optics and Spintronics

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.

Laboratory HP

Year Started: 2010

Takataro Hamajima (Technical advisor, MAYEKAWA MFG. CO., LTD.)

Advanced Superconducting Power Conditioning System Using Liquid Hydrogen Cooled MgB2 Superconductor for New Energy System

As the construction of new energy infrastructure collaborated with globally friendly hydrogen and power system, an Advanced Superconducting Power Conditioning System composed of hydrogen system and superconducting magnetic energy storage devices is proposed for effective use of renewable energy and its verification test is carried out. Superconducting coils wound with magnesium diboride (MgB2) wire of this system are cooled by liquid hydrogen. Technology of liquid hydrogen cooling system and the MgB2 superconducting wire with economical and high performance have been intensively developed in order to reduce carbon dioxide.

Kaname Matsumoto (Professor, Kyushu Institute of Technology)

Creation of a 120 K superconducting wire through atomic-level control

Based on a new atomic-level technology consisting of a charge carrier control, a nano-structure control, a flux-pinning control, etc., we improve concurrently the critical temperature, the irreversibility field and the critical current density of copper oxide superconductors such as Hg system, Bi system, RE123 (RE=rare earth), etc. We aim to create a 120 K class superconducting wire that can be used in higher temperatures and higher magnetic fields exceeding the characteristics of current copper oxide superconducting wires by a newly developed technology.

Laboratory HP

Electric Storage Devices

Year Started: 2014

Yoshiaki Matsuo (Associate Professor, University of Hyogo)

Development of graphene-based carbon materials for high-rate perfomance and high-capacity negative electrode of lithium ion battery

A novel carbon material "graphene like graphite (GLG)" showing high-rate performance, high capacity and low irreversible capacity will be prepared from the pyrolysis of graphite oxide. When it is used as a negative electrode of lithium ion battery, EV and PHEV will be more widely available, which result in the reduction of CO2 emission.

Year Started: 2013

Atsushi Unemoto (Lecturer, Tohoku University)

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

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.

Laboratory HP

Tomokazu Matsue (Professor, Tohoku University)

In-situ Study of Lithium-ion (De)intercalation by Using Interface
Ion Conduction Microscope for Creation of High-performance LIBs

A key challenge for the creation of high-performance lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) is to understand the intrinsic mechanism of the inhomogeneity in lithium-ion transport across the interface between electrode and electrolyte. We apply an interface ion-conductance microscope, a newly-developed electrochemical microscope, for revealing the mechanism. Further, this new analytical technique will contribute to design concept of the battery structure, leading to the creation of high-performance LIBs.

Laboratory HP

Year Started: 2012

Masatsugu Morimitsu (Professor, Doshisha University)

Development of Metal Hydride/Air Secondary Battery

This project aims to develop a metal hydride/air secondary battery consisting of a metal hydride electrode, an alkaline solution, and a bi-functional air electrode, in which electric energy is stored with water decomposition and is generated with water production. Water is the only active mass of this battery, providing a potential of high safety even with an increase in energy density, which is quite different from other types of secondary batteries. One of the targets in this project is to achieve a high energy density over 1500 Wh/L or 500 Wh/kg which is impossible to realize with lithium ion secondary batteries.

Laboratory HP

Yuki Yamada (Assistant professor, The University of Tokyo)

Development of metal-free, Li-ion-air batteries

The objective of this research is to develop a metal-free, "Li-ion-O2 battery" consisting of graphite anode and Li2O2-porous carbon cathode. The Li-ion-O2 battery is characterized by i) high energy density, ii) high safety, and iii) low cost. We have confirmed that the application of our new electrolyte concept of "all-solvent coordination" allows for reversible reactions both at anode and cathode. In this project, we demonstrate the reversible cyclings cycling of Li-ion-O2 battery toward future commercial applications.

Laboratory HP

Year Started: 2011

Tetsu Ichitsubo (Associate Professor, Kyoto University)

Development of innovative high-energy-density magnesium battery

In this study, we will try to develop a new innovative magnesium battery possessing high energy density, from the viewpoint of safety, security and cheapness. This research field is thoroughly undeveloped at present. Here, we will focus on the investigation of the magnesium-transition-metal oxides as positive-electrode materials showing high electrode-potential, and in future, will focus on the fluoride-substituted materials etc, in order to make the battery have excellently high energy density.

Laboratory HP

Yasutoshi Iriyama (Professor, Nagoya University)

Development of high-power all-solid-state battery under the concept of "in-situ" formation

Main aim of this project is to develop innovative materials and methods for reducing the resistances at the solid/solid interfaces, which are prerequisite for high-power all-solid-state rechargeable lithium batteries. The basic concept is the "in-situ" formation of materials, which have many possibilities for designing low-resistive with tight-binding solid/solid interfaces.

Hiroyuki Uchida (Professor, University of Yamanashi)

Development of a Reversible Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell for Efficient Hydrogen Production and Power Generation in the Fuel Cell Mode

We will develop novel high performance, durable electrodes in a solid oxide electrolysis cell for hydrogen production / power generation (solid oxide fuel cell mode), which can be applied as a reversibly operating device for a load-leveling of large-scale electric power from renewable energy such as photovoltaics or wind-power plants. The use of mixed conducting electrodes with highly dispersed metal nanoparticles and the control of their microstructures will be examined.

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

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

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.

Laboratory HP

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

Development of 300Wh/kg capacitor by using peculiar properties and nano-layering of graphene.

Innovative technologies increasing 30 times in electrical energy density is developed for EV supercapacitor with high charge-discharge rate. The advanced supercapacitors are derived from the following technology drivers; ①graphene with high-surface-area and electric conductivity, ②introduction of nanopores into graphenes for high ionic adsorbing, and ③nano-layering of graphenes.

Rika Hagiwara (Professor, Kyoto University)

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

Novel sodium secondary batteries will be developed by introducing ionic liquids of which the melting temperatures are around 100 ℃ 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 as well as dendrite formation and pulverization of alloy anode, which enables the increasing size and mass production of the batteries without losing their safety.

Laboratory HP

Year Started: 2010

Tatsumi Ishihara (Professor, Kyushu University)

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

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.

Jun-ichi Ozaki (Professor, Gunma University)

Development and Evaluation of Carbon Alloys with Electrocatalytic Activity for Cathode Reaction in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

This study is conducted to realize our dream of "Establishment of Low-Carbon Society, Hydrogen Economy, with Carbon Alloys -our Advanced Carbon Materials-", especially by developing the carbon materials that are active for promoting the fuel cell reaction, ORR, as a replacement of the currently used platinum catalyst. The materials developed are prepared with ubiquitous elements such as carbon, iron etc., hence no worries on the resource issues. The present study covers from the elucidation of the mechanisms on activation and deactivation by also using the high-tech instruments introduced by LC-net to the practical evaluation of the performances of the materials in the single cell tests.

Wataru Sugimoto (Professor, Shinshu University)

Advanced Hybrid Capacitor based on Dual Electrolyte Technology

The objective of this research is to develop an advanced hybrid capacitor with charge storage capability exceeding conventional batteries and predicted lithium ion battery limits. The concept of the advanced hybrid capacitor is based on the use of a novel hybrid configuration using high capacitance oxides as positive capacitive electrodes and negative battery electrodes which will afford small, lightweight devices with high energy and power. Targeted applications of the new hybrid cell include electric vehicles, smart grid, and portable electronics to realize a sustainable, low carbon society.

Hirohisa Tanaka (Executive Technical Expert, Daihatsu Motor CO.,LTD.)

Pt-free Fuel Cell Vehicle using Liquid Fuel as Storage Medium of Electricity

The aim of the research is to establish a brand new 'Platinum-free fuel cell technology' by developing an anion exchange membrane. High performance and long durability of fuel cell are achieved by radiation graft membrane having both high ion conductivity and low fuel permeability. Hereby, a new carbon-free society can be constructed with this key fuel cell vehicle technology as an ultimate electric vehicle using liquid fuels having high energy density for energy storage. The vehicle exhausting carbon dioxide should disappear from the earth by 2050.

Ultra Heat-Resistant Materials and High Quality Recycled Steel

Year Started: 2014

Seiji Miura (Professor, Hokkaido University)

High temperature materials based on multi-element bcc solid solutions

A new class of high temperature materials will be developed for reducing the CO2 gas emission from the LNG power plant. BCC alloys mainly based on various elements will be explored for the matrix of the composite alloys with various compounds for obtainng high strength, high toughness and high oxidation resistance .

Year Started: 2013

Hiroshi Harada (Senior Scientist with Special Missions, National Institute for Materials Science)

Development of direct and complete recycling method for single crystal turbine aerofoils

Thermal efficiency improvement of gas turbines, which is widely used for aeroengines and combined cycle power plants, is desired for future. Our project aims to enable this improvement by introducing next generation Ni-base single crystal (SC) blades and vanes into these gas turbines. As high cost of the SC superalloys preventing turbine manufacturers from using, suppressing life-time cost of them down to about 25% by our new recycle method will make a drastic change. This new technology will be one of the keys to our future, the low carbon society.

Laboratory HP

Kyosuke Yoshimi (Professor, Tohoku University)

Progressive Design and Advanced Casting Process for MoSiB-Base Ultra-High Temperature Materials

In this project, the next generation of ultra-high temperature materials based on Molybdenum is designed and offered with new concepts plus progressive ideas, which makes high-pressure turbine blades of jet-engines and gas-turbines able to operate higher than 1500°C. Furthermore, advanced ultra-high temperature casting processes which are possible to offer big-size samples beyond laboratory demonstration applicable to high-pressure turbines blades are researched for the practical applications of the new ultra-high temperature materials.

Laboratory HP

Year Started: 2012

Shigeharu Kamado (Professor, Nagaoka University of Technology)

Development of Low-Cost High Performance Wrought Magnesium Alloy

Low cost RE-free wrought magnesium alloys will be developed to wider the application of the lightweight alloys in transportation vehicles, in which the reduction of CO2 emission is strongly demanded. Based on the clarification of the processing-structure-property relationship by modeling and nano-/micro-structure characterization, novel precipitation hardenable alloys consisting of only ubiquitous elements will be developed. Then, their optimized thermomechanical processing route will be established to achieve high strength and excellent workability.

Wataru Nakao (Associate Professor, Yokohama National University)

Development of the novel ceramics having self-healing function for turbine blade

The high efficiency of the jet engine that it is expected to become the huge CO2 emission source is the critical object for the sustainable development of human being. The high efficiency by substituting the ceramic blades for the ordinary blades can be evaluated to comb off the CO2 exhaust by half of the total CO2 emission equivalency of our country. The present study aims to develop the novel ceramic composite which has enough high reliability to apply to the turbine blades by endowing with fiber reinforcement and self-healing.

Year Started: 2011

Yutaka Kagawa (Professor, The University of Tokyo))

Innovative Thermal Radiation Reflection Coatings for Future Thermal Managing Applications

Innovative environmental barrier coatings (EBCs) on continuous SiC fiber-reinforced SiC ceramic matrix composites (SiC/SiC) are developed for future high temperature applications such as lightweight aero-engine components. The EBCs consist of tailored multilayer environmentally stable oxide ceramics, resulting in appearance of excellent thermal radiation reflection function and corrosion resistance under high temperature environmental stability, especially in water vapor. Through this application, the EBC systems enable reducing thermal radiation energy loss, and expected to reduce total energy consumption of the engine.

Hideharu Nakashima (Professor, Kyushu University)

Development of next-generation ultra-heat-resistant ferritic steel through efficient use of nitrogen

We have been aiming to manufacture a new type of ferritic heat-resistant steel with a 100,000-hour target strength of 100 MPa for use in thermal power plants that operate in excess of 700?C and allow high-efficiency conversion of energy. To achieve this, we have focused on developing an alloy containing nitrides, which are known for their high thermal stability, as the main component of the strengthening phase. We have been developing this new type of heat-resistant steel by identifying the most effective nitrides and establishing technology for ideal dispersion, examining mother phases that allow the potential of these nitrides to be maximized, and assessing their mechanical characteristics at the high temperatures that a heat-resistant material must withstand.

Year Started: 2010

Haruyuki Inui (Professor, Kyoto University)

Development of ultra heat-resistant MoSi2-based multi-phase single-crystal alloys through combining brittle phases on the basis of interface functionalization

We aim at developing ultra heat-resistant MoSi2-based multi-phase single-crystal alloys that can withstand severe environments encountered in gas turbines of the class of the combustion temperature of 1800℃, which cannot be achieved by conventional high-temperature materials such as Ni-based superalloys formed with a ductile phase, through combining only brittle phases with very high melting temperatures on the basis of interface functionalization. The interface functionalization is based on a new concept of "brittle-brittle combination", in which the improvements of thermal stability of microstructures, high-temperature strength and fracture toughness are attempted through controlling the atomic structure of interphase interfaces, partitioning behaviors of alloying elements and segregation behaviors of particular alloying elements at interphase interfaces.

Laboratory HP

Tetsuya Uda (Associate Professor, Kyoto University)

New continuous titanium production process for utilization as light vehicle and high corrosion resistance materials

The economic loss caused by corrosion is reported to be about $40 billion per year in Japan. Titanium has excellent anticorrosive properties, and its propagation is expected for the large cost-reduction in anticorrosive treatments. In addition, as titanium is light and strong, it has a great potential to be used as structure materials for various vehicles. We develop low-cost titanium production process and contribute to establish low-carbon society.

Laboratory HP

Masao Takeyama (Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Design principle of super heat-resistant steels applicable to innovative 800℃ class A-USC power plants

The aim of this study is to establish the design concept of austenitic heat-resistant steels to increase the maximum allowable temperature to unprecedented 800℃ from viewpoints of both creep strength and steam oxidation.

Kazuki Nakanishi (Associate Professor, Kyoto University)

Development of multi-purpose insulation materials based on organic-inorganic hybrid aerogels

Aerogel, a solidus substance with the lowest thermal conductivity on earth, exhibits heat-insulation by far superior to any existing materials. The very low mechanical strength of aerogel, however, limited its application to practical purposes. Based on the newly developed organic-inorganic hybrid aerogel (PMSQ aerogel), which can be manufactured without supercritical drying process, mechanically stable and highly insulating materials are to be developed. Broader use of the novel insulator will reduce the consumption of fossil fuels especially in civil area sector and contribute to the sustainable low-carbon society.

Laboratory HP


Year Started: 2014

Motoki Tominaga (Assistant Professor, Waseda University)

Artificial control of cytoplasmic streaming as a platform system for plant biomass enhancement

An intracellular transport called “cytoplasmic streaming” occurs in the cell of every plant. We have shown that artificial increase in the velocity of myosin enhanced the plant size of Arabidopsis concomitant with the acceleration of the cytoplasmic streaming.
The purpose of this project is development of a platform system for biomass enhancement through increasing myosin velocity further and applying it not only to Arabidopsis but to rice.

Katsutoshi Hori (Full Professor, Nagoya University)

Methane/methanol conversion by an innovative bioprocess using gas phase microbial reaction

The targets of this study are low grade methane emitted from wastewater treatment facilities and landfills and organic waste that potentially produces methane amounting to 1/9 of the used amount of natural gas. We will synthesize microbial cells with high methanol productivity through metabolic engineering, immobilize them in a high density by an original method using an adhesive protein, construct a gas-phase process without babbling and stirring, and convert methane into methanol, which is important as fuel and a hub chemical.

Year Started: 2013

Takashi Osanai (Researcher, RIKEN)

Genetic engineering of cyanobacterial transcriptional regulators and circadian clocks for succinate production.

Bio-based succinate is a promising feedstock for the substitution of fossil fuels. Cyanobacteria are a group of bacteria performing oxygenic photosynthesis. In this study, we perform genetic engineering of cyanobacterial transcriptional regulators and circadian clocks for succinate production. Metabolomic approaches are important for clarifying the metabolic status of cyanobacteria to improve the productivity of succinate.

Keiichi Mochida (Deputy Team Leader, RIKEN)

Multidimensional improvement of plant biomass productivity based on artificially induced heterosis technology

In plants, interspecies hybridization and polyproidization of genomes often produce “hybrid” species with wider adoptability and a greater potential than parents. Our aim is understanding molecular mechanisms of hybrid vigor in plants by combinatorial approaches of computational biology and genome biology. Then, we will apply the molecular basis of hybrid vigor to develop “artificially induced heterosis technology” to improve plant productivity. Using the technology, we would improve plant biomass productivity, and contribute to resource and energy developments to reduce CO2 emission.

Year Started: 2012

Jun Shima (Professor, Ryukoku University)

Construction of bio-lipid-platform for production of useful polymers from lignocellulosic biomass

In this research, we construct 'bio-lipid platform' which enhances the production of useful polymers such as nylons from lignocellulosic biomass. To construct the platform, the breeding of microorganisms which produce specific lipids at a higher level from biomass and the exploration of modification systems of bio-lipid are carried out. This platform promotes industrial polymer production from biomaterials and contributes development of low-carbon society.

Yoshiteru Noutoshi (Associate Professor, Okayama University)

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

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.

Laboratory HP

Year Started: 2011

Mitsuo Umetsu (Professor, Tohoku University)

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

Organic matters made from biomass and fossil fuel are deposited in our society after use. In this study, we cluster the enzymes which can degrade the solid substrates on nanoparticles to drastically improve the degradation activity and we propose a CO2 bypass carbon cycling by constructing low energy-load and environmental-load bioprocess for generating useful organic molecules from solid substrates.

Yasuhiro Kashino (Associate Professor, University of Hyogo)

Generation of diatom factory through physiolomics toward a novel energy source

Diatoms possess infinite potential as a biofactory to produce valuable materials such as lipid and silica using energy derived from solar light. In this research project, we will bring out their potential by 1) developing a powerful molecular-biology tool specifically for diatom, 2) manipulating light harvesting system of shade-adapted diatoms to ensure rapid growth under ambient light at the surface of earth, and 3) clarifying and manipulating the metabolic pathway of lipid to drastically increase lipid productivity. The generated diatom strain will become a useful platform to produce biofuel as well as other valuable materials by consuming vast atmospheric carbon dioxide using solar energy.

Kazunobu Matsushita (Professor, Yamaguchi University)

Genome-based research and development of thermo-tolerant microbes aiming at low-cost fermentation

Microbial fermentation is important in bio-industry such as not only brewing or food production but also production of medicinal materials. Facing with a global warming and also an electric power crisis, it becomes more requested to keep the process at low temperature to make sure the stable fermentation or production. We aim at developing useful thermo tolerant microbes able to ferment stably around 40?C or more through their genome modification by breeding with adaptive evolution or crossbreeding and also by genetic engineering using their adaptation strategy.

Nobutaka Mitsuda (Researcher, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology)

Building new wood in wood-less plant

To reduce CO2 release to environment, increased production of next-generation bioethanol made from woody substance which is not edible for human is highly expected. This study aims to develop plant generating new wood which is more feasible for bioethanol production by adding various genes to the mutant plant with no wood.

Laboratory HP

Masaaki Morikawa (Professor, Hokkaido University)

Development of highly-ordered vegetational bioprocess utilizing symbiotic interactions in rhizosphere

This project aims to explore and design plant-microbe/ microbe-microbe interactions in the aquatic plant rhizosphere, and to develop highly-ordered and effective vegetational units available for low-carbon bioprocess technology. Our goal in five years is to establish co-benefit vegetational biosystems that enable both advanced water treatment and enhanced biomass production.

Year Started: 2010

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

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

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.

Tatsuo Kaneko (Associate Professor, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology)

Generation of Super-engineering Plastics Using Microbial Biomass

Fermentation system is developed that produces biomass-derived 4-aminocinnamic acid, which is an expected material for generating super-engineering plastics, and novel bio-based super-engineering plastics substitute for metallic materials are produced. We also develop bio-recycle systems of the produced plastics to stock fixed carbons and to minimize carbon-dioxide emission. This project will establish a new game-changing concept ‘carbon-minus materials’.

Laboratory HP

Toshinori Kinoshita (Professor, Nagoya University)

Promotion of photosynthesis and plant productivity through manipulation of stomatal aperture

Stomatal pores surrounded by a pair of guard cells in the plant epidermis control gas exchange between leaves and the atmosphere. Opening of the stomata allows CO2 entry for photosynthesis in higher plants. Here, we aim to elucidate molecular mechanisms of stomatal movements and produce stomatal aperture-regulated plants, which show enhanced ability of CO2 uptake and plant productivity.

Shiro Saka (Professor, Kyoto University)

Ethanol Production with Acetic Acid Fermentation from Lignocellulosics

Towards a low-carbon society, a novel ethanol production process using acetic acid fermentation will be studied, consisting of hot-compressed water treatment, followed by acetic acid fermentation and catalytic hydrogenation. By this process, highly efficient ethanol production from lignocellulosics can be expected, compared with the conventional methods by yeast fermentation.

Laboratory HP

Naoko K. Nishizawa (Professor, Ishikawa Prefectural University)

Molecular Breeding for Increasing Biomass Production in the Problem Soils

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.

Nobuhiko Nomura (Associate Professor, University of Tsukuba)

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

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.

Innovative Energy-Saving and Energy-Producing Chemical Processes

Year Started: 2014

Yu Hoshino (Associate Professor, Kyushu University)

Development of CO2 separation membranes driven by the pKa shift of stimuli-responsive nanogel particles

This project aims at development of the CO2 separation membranes which transports CO2 under low pressure, and highly efficient CO2 separation process using the membranes. General procedures to design highly efficient CO2 separation membrane will be developed by taking advantage of the pKa shift of the amines introduced in the stimuli-responsive nanogel particle.

Laboratory HP

Year Started: 2013

Kohji Omata (Professor, Shimane University)

Application of internal condensation reactor system for highly efficient methanol synthesis process

A novel internal condensation reactor system will be applied for highly efficient methanol synthesis process from syngas. The system can release the thermodynamical limit to give high one-pass conversion. It is also applicable for direct conversion of carbon dioxide to methanol by hydrogenation with high yield to reduce green house gas.

Laboratory HP

Atsushi Fukuoka (Professor, Hokkaido University)

Depolymerization of lignocellulose catalyzed by activated carbons

We will develop new processes for the production of chemicals by depolymerization of lignocellulosic biomass catalyzed by activated carbons, which contribute to CO2 emissions reduction in our society. Inexpensive carbon materials are used as catalysts and we aim for the synthesis of valuable pentoses and hexoses from cellulose and hemicellulose in real biomass. Lignocellulose will be totally used by converting lignin into catalyst or fuel. We will also study the structure-activity relationship in catalysis and utilize it in the design of new catalysts.

Laboratory HP

Yuji Matsumoto (Professor, Tohoku University)

Innovative low-temperature and high-speed growth process for high-quality SiC single crystal films

This project aims at development of the innovative atmospheric vapor source liquid phase epitaxy, in which the flux additive is regarded as a kind of catalyst in such a chemical process, and thereby the low-temperature and high-speed growth technique for high-quality SiC will be established under precise control of its polytypes. As the result, the expecting low power-loss devices of SiC, instead of the existing Si-based ones, ensure high efficiency use of energy in our society with smart grid technology.

Year Started: 2012

Atsushi Tsutsumi (Professor, The University of Tokyo)

Development of Exergy Recuperative Reaction and Separation System

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.

Laboratory HP

Makoto Tokunaga (Professor, Kyushu University)

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

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.

Laboratory HP

Michikazu Hara (Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Development of Multifunctional Heterogeneous Catalysts

This study is to develop novel heterogeneous catalysts for the selective production of chemicals synthesized through several steps in a one-pot reaction system to minimize environmental impact with chemical production. The aim of this study is to realize low environmental impact processes with high energy efficiency, low economic cost and strong international competitiveness for sustainable chemical production.

Laboratory HP

Takao Masuda (Professor, Hokkaido University)

Production of single-aromatic chemicals from poly-aromatic compounds in nature

Lignin as poly-aromatic compounds in nature is firstly degraded to yield slurry liquid containing aromatic compounds with wide range of molecular weight. A method is established to separate the compounds by accurate molecular weight cut-off, obtaining materials with mono- and di-aromatic rings, and those with low molecular weight. The former is converted to phenols, which is elemental constitution of lignin. The latter is utilized as natural polymer additive into functional resins. Thus, in this research project, lignin, reproductive poly-aromatic compounds in nature, is regarded as alternative resources of fossil resources, and is converted to functional materials. And the results surely contribute to reduce the emission of greenhouse gas.

Laboratory HP

Kazuhiro Yamabuki (Assistant Professor, Yamaguchi University)

Creation of Innovative Technologies for a Highly-functional Multivalent Cation Battery Using Inclusion Compounds

We plan to develop a new polymer-gel electrolyte using inclusion-typed network polymers consisting of ring molecules and axle molecules. Because the networked polymers are constructed of very flexible and mobile cross-link point, we expect that the network polymer show high ion transport efficiency in low content of electrolytic solution. In the project, we aim to create a safer and higher magnesium ion battery than lithium ion batteries.

Yoshiharu Y. Yamamoto (Professor, Gifu University)

Development of Synthetic Promoters for Accerelation of Biomass Production

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.

Year Started: 2011

Kenji Takahashi (Professor, Kanazawa University)

Lignocellulose refinery using ionic liquids and radicals

By treating the biomass using a novel material of ionic liquids, the enzymatic saccharification of cellulose and the ethanol fermentation by yeast, will be achieved. As the biomass, lignocellulosic biomass such as wood is used. In addition, the lignin in the wood will be converted to low molecular weight compound, which can be used as raw material of plastic. Through these researches, we will build a technology, in which a variety of energy and chemicals can be produced from biomass.

Laboratory HP

Year Started: 2010

Masakazu Iwamoto (Professor, Chuo University)

Creation of Catalytic Biomass-refinery without Glycation or Fermentation

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.

Takayuki Takarada (Professor, Gunma University)

Development of Catalytic Gasification Process of Biomass at Low Temperature

This research aims to develop highly efficient and thermally free-standable low temperature (400 oC) 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.

Innovative Energy-Saving and Energy-Producing Systems and Devices

Year Started: 2014

Tsuyoshi Kawanami (Associate Professor, Kobe University)

Development of Magnetic Heat Pump with Layered Active Magnetic Regenerator

A magnetic heat pump is an innovative ""green heat pump"" technology that is based on the entropy change caused by a change in the magnetic field in a particular kind of magnetic material. Further, it is an environment-friendly system that does not use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a refrigerant. In order to achieve the practical use of the magnetic heat pump and enhance the performance of its application, the research related with the following challenges are conducted in this project:
(i) a design of layered active magnetic regenerator;
(ii) a development of quantity synthesis process with Mn -based compound; and
(iii) a development of kilowatt-class magnetic heat pump

Laboratory HP

Year Started: 2012

Tohru Kawakami (Guest Associate Professor, Tohoku University)

Spacially Imaged Iris-plane Ultra Low Power Consumption Display

Although conventional displays scatter light all around from display screen surface, we had proposed the ultra low power consumption technology which realizes from 1/10 to 1/100 times lower power consumption compared with conventional displays by omitting useless light and gathering focused light near to eyes of observer. In this theme using this original technology, we aim at developments of bright and beautiful head up displays for car however front glass itself may be used, and personal displays of which observable area is limited only around user.

Naoki Shikazono (Professor, Director of Collaborative Research Center for Energy Engineering, The University of Tokyo)

Development of Trilateral steam cycle for waste heat recovery

Trilateral cycle is a heat engine which can achieve highest exergy recovery efficiency from heat sources of finite heat capacity. It extracts work during adiabatic gas-liquid two phase expansion, which must be investigated intensively. In addition, very large heat transfer enhancement is required. In the present study, numerical simulation as well as basic experiments using a prototype system will be carried out to investigate the feasibility of the system.

Masayoshi Fuji (Professor, Nagoya Institute of Technology)

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

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.

Laboratory HP

Yusuke Mori (Professor, Osaka University)

Over 8-inch large-diameter GaN wafers for energy-saving devices

Gallium nitride (GaN) is suitable for applications such as ultraviolet light-emitting diodes, ultraviolet laser diodes, and high-power, high-frequency electronic devices because of its excellent optical and electrical properties. However, difficulties in the crystal growth of GaN prevent us to expand the use of GaN wafers. In this study, we succeeded the growth of near-perfect GaN crystals and the coalescence growth of free-standing 2 inch GaN wafers. Furthermore, it was confirmed that these wafers could work as a vertical-type electronic device. In the future, we are planning to developed the technique for growing over 8-inch diameter GaN wafers with high quality comparable to Si wafers.

Laboratory HP

Year Started: 2010

Suguru Noda (Professor, Waseda University)

Nanotube flexible electronics with minimal resource consumption

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.

Laboratory HP

Research Projects (Innovative Technology Area)

Year Started: 2015

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

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

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.

Laboratory HP 1
Laboratory HP 2

Hiroshi Machida (Assistant professor, Graduate school of Engineering, Nagoya University)

Energy-saving CO2 Capture Process with Phase Separation Solvent

Carbon dioxide capture and storage is regarded as a promissing technology for the global worming problem. We propose a novel CO2 absorption solvent that separates into two liquid phases after CO2 absorption. It enables us to reduce the CO2 separation energy by sending olny the CO2 rich phase to desorption column.

Masaru Ohme-Takagi (Professor, Graduate school of Science and Engineering, Saitama University)

The plant breeding revolution through the development of artificial apomixis induction technique

Apomixis is a phenomenon that generates seeds without fertilization.The resulting seeds are maternally-inherited clones. In this project, based on our study of transcription factors,g we are to develop a system to induce apomixis in various plants including crops.

Hideki Hirayama (Chief Scientist, Quantum Optodevice Laboratory, RIKEN)

Development of high-efficiency vertical deep-UV LED becoming the substitute of germicidal mercury lamps

The use of deep ultraviolet light is attracting much attention for a wide variety of applications, such as sterilization, water purification, medicine and biochemistry, and so on. However, the production of present germicidal mercury lamps will be much supressed in near future because of their large environmental load. In this project, we will develop high-efficiency deep-UV LEDs becoming the substitute of germicidal mercury lamps. We contribute to low-carbon society realization by a significant reduction of the electricity loss of deep-UV LED.

Research Projects (Special Priority Research Areas)

Next Generation Batteries

Year Started: 2013

All-solid-state battery team

Masahiro Tatsumisago (Professor, Osaka Prefecture University)

To develop next-generation secondary batteries for realizing low carbon society, we proceed with fundamental researches for commercialization of all-solid-state lithium secondary batteries.
Two sub-teams studying sulfide-based or oxide-based all-solid-state batteries tackle with fundamental issues of interfacial formation, material process and battery design suitable for sulfide or oxide inorganic solid electrolytes. Our final goal is achieving basic technologies for contributing to commercialization of ultimate all-solid-state batteries mainly using oxide solid electrolytes.

Metal-air battery team

Yoshimi Kubo (Team Leader, Lithium-Air Battery Specially Promoted Research Team, GREEN, National Institute for Materials Science)

We will develop basic technologies of lithium-air secondary battery that realizes huge energy density and drastic cost reduction.
In order to spread electric vehicles and renewable energy, batteries are required to be of large capacity and low cost. Lithium-air secondary battery is the “ultimate battery” that has the maximum theoretical energy density and potential low cost. We will develop a wide range of basic technologies to demonstrate the basic performance of energy density, power density, cyclability, etc.

Other battery team (mid- and long-terms)

Masayoshi Watanabe (Professor, Yokohama National University)

Development of high energy density, environmentally friendly, inexpensive, and safe lithium-sulfur battery using abundantly available materials will be carried out. The target high-performance battery consists of Si-anode, ionic liquid electrolyte, and S-cathode. By the optimization of nano-structures of the anode and cathode, their bottlenecks for applications, such as large volume change by charge/discharge and electrically insulating property, will be solved. The ionic liquid electrolyte can contribute to the inhibition of serious dissolution problem of the S-cathode into the electrolytes.

Laboratory HP

Other battery team (long-term)

Kiyoshi Kanamura (Professor, Tokyo Metropolitan University)

By thinking outside the boxes of conventional battery technologies, materials and principles, advanced rechargeable batteries with much higher energy densities than Li+-ion batteries will be developed. In particular, polyvalent-ion systems with wide operating temperature range will be studied intensively. Through comprehensive research and development from materials to batteries, practical battery technologies for sustainable energy society in the future will be developed.

White Biotechnology

Year Started: 2015

Takashi Arai (General Manager, R&D Headquarters Advanced Materials Planning, Daicel Corporation)

Change of raw materials of basic compounds by the combination of microbial conversion and catalytic technology.

We perform technology development to produce chemicals that are currently manufactured from oil as raw materials, from unused waste glycerin. At first by biotechnology, we convert glycerin into erythritol as a versatile intermediate. Next, we convert erythritol into industrial raw materials such as diols by catalytic reaction that produce various expensive basic chemicals. To overcome the technical issues, we combine both technologies with extracting their strong points to the maximum, by the construction of the integrated industrial process.

Laboratory HP

Tadahisa IWATA (Professor, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo)

Innovative Synthesis of High-performance Bioplastics from Polysaccharides

The goal of this project is to synthesis novel high-performance bioplastics from polysaccharides produced by biomass and enzymatic polymerization, utilizing their original unique structures. Through the innovative chemical synthetic methods including strict control of chemical structure, eco-friendly synthesis for mass production, and optimization of processing with nano-composite, the industrial application of bioplastics and the subsequent sustainable society will be achieved.

Kiyotaka NAKAJIMA (Associate Professor, Institute for Catalysis, Hokkaido University)

Catalytic production of carboxylic acids and alcohols from biomass-derived carbohydrates

We will develop new catalytic processes for the production of carboxylic acids and alcohols from renewable and non-edible carbohydrates obtained from biomass. The resulting oxygenated compounds are used for industrial chemical production of essential polyesters as replacements of fossil fuel-derived PET. These catalytic technology will contribute largely to the development of sustainable chemical production using renewable feedstock with reducing CO2 emission.

Laboratory HP

Yukari Ohta (Senior Research Scientist, Research and Development Center for Marine Biosciences, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC))

Development of bioprocess using marine microbial enzymes for efficient lignin degradation and catalytic generation of super-urushiol from lignin monomers

Lignin is the largest renewable aromatic compound on the earth, but industrial use is in little progress. In this study, We aim to develop an innovative process for lignin valorization consisting of the following 3 steps; 1: pretreatment of non-edible biomass in eco-friendly manners, 2: specific production of aromatic monomers using a set of marine microbial enzymes, and 3: conversion of the monomers to new polymer feedstocks, such as "super-urushiol" by chemical catalysis.

Ken'ichiro Matsumoto (Associate Professor, Engineering, Hokkaido University)

Microbial production of biocompatible plastic from lignocellulosic biomass

The research project aims at constructing a new microbial process for production of novel biomaterial from renewable lignocellulosic biomass. The unusual polymers produced by the engineered microbe exhibit unique and useful properties such as biocompatibility. The applications of the obtained polymer are also investigated.

IKEDA Yuko (Professor, Faculty of Molecular Chemistry and Engineering, Kyoto Institute of Technology)

New Development of Natural Rubber by the Technological Innovation of Vulcanization

Chemistry of vulcanization is the key to develop rubber science and technology. Thus, technological innovation of vulcanization is aimed for the environmentally friendly and high performance rubbery materials, e.g., tires of automobiles and aircrafts. Role of the recently discovered “zinc dinuclear complex” in vulcanization is to be studied, which enables us to modernize the rubber science. From the viewpoints of biodiversity and biosecurity of natural rubber, vulcanization of non-Hevea rubbers is newly established in this project. The results will give rise to a reduction of carbon dioxide, safer transportation systems, which contribute to the peaceful development of world economy.

Laboratory HP

Tomonori Sonoki (Associate professor, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Science, Hirosaki University)

Sugar-independent bioproduction of muconic acid

This project aims to develop a novel method to produce muconic acid, a platform chemical to synthesize a variety of polymers (e.g., polyamides, polyethylenes, and polyurethanes), from lignin-related aromatic compounds. Development of a microbial strain capable of producing muconic acid with assimilating the aromatics will lead a sugar-indipendent muconic acid production, and thus it will surely contribute to develop Low-carbon society.

Laboratory HP

Hiroshi Habe (Group Leader, Biochemical Group, Research Institute of Sustainable Chemistry, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST))

Production and application of highly functional biosurfactants for performance improvement of bioplastics

To expand the use of biomass plastics, it is important to develop the plant-derived and functional plastic additives, which can make bio-based polymer more advanced. In this research, we focus on "biosurfactants (BS)", and develop novel production and application technologies of BS as functional plastic additives. Our studies on producion of BS from abundant woody biomass as well as fine material dispersion by BS will make it possible to promote not only the advanced material technology but also the use of biomass plastics.

Laboratory HP

Toshiaki Nakajima-Kambe (Professor, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba)

Microbial conversion of a biofuel waste biomass to polymer raw materials

In this study, technical bottlenecks on fermentative production of 1,3-propanediol which is a kind of important raw materials for polymer synthesis from glycerol which is a major waste in biodiesel fuel production will be solved. The test calculation of costs that includes the economic and social impact of this process is carried out to support its practical use.

Laboratory HP

Takuya Kitaoka (Professor, Department of Agro-environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Kyushu University)

Interfacial Asymmetric Organocatalysis Mediated by Cellulose Nanofibers

Catalysts accelerate various chemical reactions with high selectivity, being expected to expand their utilization in forthcoming low-carbon societies. Our project has focused on the combination of wood cellulose nanofibers and organocatalysts such as proline, to achieve both drastic catalytic enhancement and absolute enantioselective synthesis. A novel strategy for asymmetric organocatalysis mediated by nanocellulose will open up a new phase in sustainable eco-chemistry and green industries.

Laboratory HP

Masahiro Ohshima (Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University)

Preparation of Cellulose Nanofiber Composite Plastic Foam with Ultralight and High Insulation performances

By developing the chemical and physical modification techniques to provide cellulose nanofiber (CNF) with multi performances such as antioxidant, crystallization, bubble nucleation, and catalytic agents and using the modified CNF as an additive, CNF nanocomposite plastic foams with ultralight and insulation performances are prepared.

Laboratory HP

Takashi Nishino (Professor, Engineering, Kobe University)

"SHINAYAKA" Polymer Composite with Cellulose Nanofiber

Generally, cellulose nanofibers have been employed to strong and rigid constructional materials. In contrast, we create "SHINAYAKA" (flexible, low modulus, high strength and high elongation) polymer composites with cellulose nanofibers and trigger paradigm shifts toward new applications. These cellulose composites are can be applied to necessities of life, medical supplies and industrial products as alternatives to rubbers.

Energy Carrier

SIP “Energy Carrier” started FY2014 ( Details, Japanese Text Only).
ALCA special priority research area “Energy Carrier” is completed.
Research Areas

Innovative Technology Area
Special Priority Research Areas