Center for Low Carbon Society

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The structuring of low carbon technologies, and strategies for the development and dissemination of technologies for realizing a low carbon society

We will focus on cutting-edge technology systems and evaluate each system by raw materials, manufacturing process, constructional elements and design, and efficiency index. This data will be used to establish technological objectives and to calculate the impact each system would have on society if it became widely used. We will also construct a comprehensive database using quantitative data to ascertain and predict the performance, cost and environmental impact of technologies. This data will be reconstructed and used in developing scenarios for disseminating reliable low carbon technologies.

Structuring of component technologies (solar cells)

Objectives

・To propose a technology scenario for solar power generation.
・To clarify the core technologies for reducing the cost of solar power generation.
・To construct a highly reliable database.

Research outline

We are examining the methodology for developing a technology scenario for solar power generation that gives due consideration to technological and social issues, using systematically structured data on the environment and energy (green innovation). We will systematically structure engineering knowledge of the efficiency and manufacturing costs of photovoltaic cells and modules to create a scenario and devise measures for developing an appropriate solar power generation system for Japan.

We will first analyze the manufacturing cost structure of solar cells for different processes. Based on this data, we will then develop models to identify fixed and variable costs and clarify the effect of the production process on cost reductions. Secondly, based on academic papers and patents for solar cells, we will examine the theoretical efficiency of various solar cells to determine the factors involved. Thirdly, we will organize information on ongoing research and development projects, dissemination and promotion policies and related measures to create a knowledge structure for issue solving.

Structuring component technologies (storage batteries)

Objectives

・To determine the quantitative production costs and environmental impact of lithium-ion batteries, and to evaluate the cost effect of expanding the production scale.
・To construct a highly reliable database.

Research outline

By conducting quantitative evaluations of the production process, cost and battery efficiency of storage batteries, we aim to develop a scenario for promoting the widespread use of storage batteries.

Storage batteries are already in use in electric vehicles and for distributed power generation, but numerous issues remain to be solved regarding cost and performance. We will analyze the production cost structure of storage batteries to consider how expanding production scale and technological improvements can bring cost reductions. We will also systematically structure data regarding the efficiency and cost of the equipment used in the manufacturing process for storage batteries. This will then be used to evaluate and compare the costs, environmental impact and battery efficiency of various types of storage batteries to develop a scenario for promoting widespread use of storage batteries.

Structuring the component technologies of solid oxide fuel cells and developing strategies for promoting widespread use.

Objectives
  • To conduct cost evaluations by structuring the component technologies of energy converters, especially fuel cell technologies used in storage batteries, and to carry out quantitative evaluations of technology innovations.
  • To apply cost and performance indicators to the development of economic models.
  • To propose guidelines for designing materials based on the structuring of component technologies (joint research).
  • To construct a highly reliable database.
Research outline

To achieve our objectives of conducting cost evaluations by structuring the component technologies of energy converters, especially fuel cell technologies used in storage batteries, and to carry out quantitative evaluations of technology innovations, we divided each target fuel cell system into components, including raw materials such as electrodes and electrolytes, and the system production process. We then structured these components. Compared to standard methodologies, the structuring of component technologies enables us to come up with more reliable cost calculations and quantitative performance indicators.

Constructing scenarios for developing high efficiency solar cells

Objectives
  • To ascertain important factors for achieving high efficiency through research and studies of conventional solar cell materials.
  • To devise scenarios for developing solar cells capable of achieving 50% efficiency.
Research outline

From the point of view of cost and resources, it is essential to develop higher efficiency solar cells. By studying and analyzing silicon and other conventional means for improving efficiency, we will seek further possibilities for increasing efficiency. We will also conduct research on materials that will aid the development of high efficiency solar cells.

Designing scenarios for developing low carbon technologies in an aging society, a significant factor in realizing a low carbon society in Japan

Objectives
  • To evaluate technology systems from the perspectives of cost and energy and present clear guidelines on technology development.
  • By reexamining the sectoral approach, which is likely to become an effective negotiation tool for Japan, we intend to provide a foundation for mapping out Japan's international strategies.
Research outline

Information on the efficiency, cost and environmental impact of technologies is essential in developing quantitative technology scenarios. However, there remains a major issue of how to reconstruct such information to help develop low carbon technologies and devise strategic scenarios for low carbonization. Based on information on efficiency and cost, we will consider technology development and dissemination scenarios. We will then prioritize the order in which to develop technologies and propose technology measures. We will also consider how to link various technology scenarios to the scenario for achieving a low carbon society, with special emphasis on how to apply low carbon technologies to the realization of an aging society that can also remain bright and vigorous.

Research on concentrated and distributed energy management

Objectives
  • To develop a continuously usable electricity supply and demand balance model in coordination with low-carbon energy supply and demand. (Carried out separately)
  • To create hypothetical measures based on analysis of the electricity supply and needs of a representative cross section.
  • To examine scenarios for trade-off measures including pumped storage hydroelectricity, grid/demand-side battery installation, demand-response and V2G.
Research outline

We must address several issues simultaneously. These include securing a stable supply and demand energy balance; introducing new energy sources such as nuclear power generation and renewable energy power generation to facilitate the transition towards a low carbon society; maintaining and improving the comfort of housing and business buildings; reducing energy consumption, energy costs and the impact on the environment; and finally, (a new addition to the list) improving energy systems flexibility. We will outline a future in which concentrated management of the overall energy system and distributed energy management at building and area levels is autonomously coordinated to achieve a balance of energy supply and demand. We will also detail the technology research and development necessary for realizing this vision and the objectives for introducing such technologies.