Japan uses fossil fuel as major primary energy source, which occupies no less than -80% of the total energy consumption at present. The renewable energies including solar remain as small as -6%, and it likely takes a considerable amount of time until the energies become the main energy source. Although the nuclear power occupies -13% of the total, it is practically impossible to supply the entire primary energy because of difficulty in finding locations suitable for nuclear plants. Therefore, it is generally recognized that we continue to utilize the fossil fuel for short and mid term, while making maximum utilization of the renewable energies and safety operation of the nuclear power. Under these circumstances, the first priority is to develop innovative energy conversion technology for the minimum consumption of hydrocarbon materials to ensure the energy security of Japan.
This R&D proposal provides “the co-production type energy and material production system”, in which energy conversion and material production with high efficiencies are realized using hydrocarbon as a raw material. The execution of the project through cooperative efforts between industrial and academic sectors in saving the energy and resource allows for managing the energy security issues of Japan by minimizing the energy resource acquisition battle and preventing the global warming as well. The system may utilize, as raw materials, a variety of hydrocarbons such as low grade coal, heavy residuum oil, organic wastes including plastic waste and garbage, and biomass, that is, the system may flexibly use wide range of raw materials from fossil to recycled resources, giving high additional value to low grade or minus valued feeds, which would require cost in case of disposal, garbage for example. The system co-produces electricity, fuel oil, fuel gasses whose principal ingredients are hydrogen, chemical raw materials mainly composed of C1 and C2 chemicals, and olefins. The ratio of these products (product mix) is controllable depending on the demand, resulting in providing substitutability and interchangeability in the energy resources. This may lead to the establishment of an optimized and robust energy system, in which the energy resources are ensured domestically.