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Environment and Energy Aiming to realize a sustainable sosiety

Toward green innovation

For the purpose of green innovation, AIST is promoting the development of technologies for increased use of renewable energy and energy saving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the securing and effective use of natural resources, reduction of environmental loads of industry, and evaluation and risk management of various new technologies.

Outline of priority strategies

Expanding the use of renewable energy

The use of inexhaustible renewable energy must be promoted to achieve a low-carbon society. In order to make optimal use of renewable energy, we are conducting research to improve the performance and reliability of solar and wind power systems and research on liquid fuel production from biomass.

Integrated-type flexible CIGS solar cell modules and lighting LEDs powered by them figre

Integrated-type flexible CIGS solar cell modules and lighting LEDs powered by them

Energy saving

Improving energy efficiency has the direct and immediate effect of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are developing highperformance power storage devices and fuel cells to increase the efficiency of energy use as well as energy management systems to reduce energy use.

Observation of Li extraction and insertion by STEM-EELS spectrum imaging figre

Observation of Li extraction and insertion by STEM-EELS spectrum imaging

Securing and effective use of natural resources

Securing and efficient use of diverse natural resources, such as biomass and mineral resources, must be ensured to achieve a material-recycling society. We are developing and improving processes to produce chemicals and fuels from biomass and other renewable sources. We are also developing technologies for the efficient use of exhaustible fossil resources such as coal and methane hydrates, and mineral resources such as rare metals, as well as recycling technologies.

Purification of butanol from a dilute aqueous solution of butanol by using the novel high-performance separation membrane figre

Purification of butanol from a dilute aqueous solution of butanol by using the novel high-performance separation membrane

Reduction of environmental loads

Manufacturing processes in various industries must be improved for higher efficiency and for the reduction of the environmental load. We are developing green sustainable chemistry technologies to minimize environmental emissions from chemical manufacturing processes and improve the energy efficiency of processes. We are also developing technologies to reduce the environmental load generated by industrial activities and restore the environment.

Harmful chemical substance free novel painting process using supercritical carbon dioxide figre

Harmful chemical substance free novel painting process using supercritical carbon dioxide

Evaluation and risk management

New energy technologies and advanced materials must be properly evaluated, and managed to achieve a sustainable society. We are analyzing and evaluating scenarios for introducing new energy technologies, and evaluating CO2 emission reduction activities. In addition, we are developing technologies to appropriately evaluate risks of chemicals and the environmental impact of substances produced by industrial activities.

ADMER figre

"ADMER Ver. 2.5", software that computes the concentration of chemical substances in the atmosphere based on the emission amount and weather conditions


New Research Results

Power Generation Technology for Ammonia Combustion in a Gas Turbine

AIST has successfully generated 21 kW of power using a gas turbine driven by bifuel where kerosene equivalent to 30 % was replaced by ammonia, in collaboration with Tohoku University. Ammonia is anticipated to be a hydrogen carrier with high hydrogen content. In this research, a prototype combustion unit was built that enabled kerosene (liquid) and ammonia (gas) to be fed, and ammonia was combusted in a gas-turbine generator. This can be said to be a great step forward for ammonia in energy-use technology, and power generation using 100 % ammonia is anticipated.

Ammonia direct-combustion micro-gas-turbine power generation unit figre

Ammonia direct-combustion micro-gas-turbine power generation unit

Efficient Synthesis of Polyurethane Raw Materials from Carbon Dioxide

AIST has developed a new, high-yield reaction process to obtain aromatic urethane from carbon dioxide, amine, and tin alkoxide. Aromatic urethane compounds show high promise as raw materials for polyurethanes. Currently, highly toxic and corrosive phosgene is used as the raw material for polyurethanes. There was a strong demand for conversion to a manufacturing process that was environmentally friendly. Technology developed by AIST until now was limited in the types of urethane it could synthesize, and aromatic urethane, the raw material for polyurethane could not be synthesized. It was discovered that aromatic urethanes can be synthesized with high yield when amine and tin alkoxide are reacted with high-pressure carbon dioxide.

Conventional urethane manufacturing process and the developed aromatic urethane synthesis process figure

Conventional urethane manufacturing process and the developed aromatic urethane synthesis process


Research Unit

Research Institute for Ubiquitous Energy Devices

Toward secondary batteries and other energyefficiency technologies for daily life

In order to promote “green innovation,” in which efforts are made to achieve compatibility between economic growth and the environment in order to realize a low-carbon society, it is necessary to decrease the energy consumption of energyusing equipment such as home appliances and vehicles. High levels of safety and environmental compatibility must also be assured from the perspective of daily life.
We are conducting research, from the level of materials through to systems, aimed at reducing the energy and resource consumption of new small mobile power supplies, including secondary batteries and fuel cells, as well as lighting and other appliances.

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Research Base

AIST Kansai

AIST Participating Technology Research Association

・FC-Cubic TRA (Fuel Cell Cutting-Edge Research Center Technology Research Association)
・Lithium Ion Battery Technology and Evaluation Center (LIBTEC)

Location

1-8-31 Midorigaoka, Ikeda, Osaka 563-8577, Japan
Tel: (072) 751-8528 / Fax: (072) 751-9629
(from outside Japan: Tel: +81-72-751-8528 / Fax: +81-72-751-9629)
Research Institute for Ubiquitous Energy Devices WEB site

Research Institute for Environmental Management Technology

Development of new environmentally sound technologies to harmonize industrial activities and environmental protection

We are conducting research to address environmental issues such as deterioration of the living environment and health due to hazardous chemicals and global warming in order to harmonize our industrial activities with a safe and secure environment. The areas that we are focusing on include 1) development of next-generation environmental diagnostic technologies upgrading conventional environmental measurement techniques with bio- and nanotechnology; 2) development of technologies to reduce health risks from hazardous chemicals in the air, water, and soil in an energy- and resource-efficient manner; 3) development of compact recycling technologies to increase recycling rates in urban areas where huge wastes are generated; and 4) research on carbon cycling, which will contribute to the prevention of global warming, and on assessment methodologies for evaluation of CO2 emission reduction technologies.

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Research Base

AIST Tsukuba (West)
※ Note: AIST Tsukuba has Central (No. 1 to No. 7), West, East,and North.

Location

AIST Tsukuba West, 16-1 Onogawa, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8569, Japan
Tel: (029) 861-8250 / Fax: (029) 861-8258
(from outside Japan: Tel: +81-29-861-8250 / Fax: +81-29-861-8258)
Research Institute for Environmental Management Technology WEB site

Research Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Chemistry

Research and development in the fields of chemistry and chemical engineering to achieve a sustainable society

The ultimate goal in the field of chemical technology is to develop technologies to selectively produce desired products using renewable resources and minimum energy but without generating wastes. We are engaged in the research and development (R&D) of innovative industrial technologies to achieve the ultimate goal described above from a long-term perspective, and the R&D of technologies to reduce the environmental load in existing industries and improve energy efficiency from a short-term perspective. In the longer term, we aim to develop technologies to produce chemical products from the biomass with the view of introducing renewable resources. In the short term, we conduct the R&D of technologies to produce high value products, as well as green sustainable chemistry (GSC) technologies, process efficiency improvement technologies, chemical laser technologies, and evaluation technologies for chemical materials.

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Research Base

AIST Tsukuba (Central, West)

AIST Participating Technology Research Association

・Chemical Materials Evaluation and Research Base (CEREBA)
・Advanced Laser and Process Technology Research Association (ALPROT)

Location

AIST Tsukuba Central 5, 1-1-1 Higashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8565, Japan
Tel: (029) 862-6792 / Fax: (029) 861-4457
(from outside Japan: Tel: +81-29-862-6792 / Fax: +81-29-861-4457)
Research Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Chemistry WEB site

Energy Technology Research Institute

Development of energy technologies providing the basis for a sustainable society

We are conducting research and development in the following four areas to prevent global warming and ensure the supply and use of stable and easy-to-use energy sources.

  • ・Clean technologies such as the use of natural energy sources, the production and high-density storage of hydrogen, and the cleaning of hydrocarbon resources
  • ・Energy device and material technologies to develop high-performance solid oxide fuel cells, thermoelectric devices, and energy-storage capacitors, using advanced energy materials
  • ・An energy network to achieve high efficiency of energy use by combining various energy sources, energy storage and transportation technologies, high-efficiency power conversion technologies, and power system control technologies
  • ・Innovative and emerging energy technologies to realize breakthroughs

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Research Base

AIST Tsukuba (Central, West, East)

Location

AIST Tsukuba Central 2, 1-1-1 Umezono, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8568, Japan
Tel: (029) 861-5280 / Fax: (029) 861-5149
(from outside Japan: Tel: +81-29-861-5280 / Fax: +81-29-861-5149)
Energy Technology Research Institute WEB site

Research Institute of Science for Safety and Sustainability

Scientific evaluations of safety and the sustainability of society

In our research, we are pursuing the science for the sustainability of society and safety from physical hazards and risks. This is because there are increasing cases of safety and social sustainability issues having a trade-off relationship and it is not enough to address only individual safety issues. We are conducting research on safety evaluations to meet the demand for a safer society and present scientifically sound guidelines for solving multiple trade-off issues based on the results of these evaluations. We are also disseminating the results of these evaluations to help the public, communities, industries, governments, and international organizations make rational decisions and develop realistic standards, thereby contributing to the strengthening of Japan’s industrial competitiveness.

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Research Base

AIST Tsukuba (West, Central)

AIST Participating Technology Research Association

・Technology Research Association for Single Wall Carbon Nanotubes (TASC)

Location

AIST Tsukuba West, 16-1 Onogawa, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8569, Japan
Tel: (029) 861-8452 / Fax: (029) 861-8422
(from outside Japan: Tel: +81-29-861-8452 / Fax: +81-29-861-8422)
Research Institute of Science for Safety and Sustainability WEB site

Methane Hydrate Research Center

Combustible ice: Energy of the future

After the Great East Japan Earthquake, natural gas consumption for securing electricity is increasing rapidly in Japan, and securing of a long-term steady supply and improvement of the self-sufficiency ratio have become urgent issues. Our research center is carrying out R&D on the production methods to recover natural gas stably and economically from the methane hydrate resources which exists in the exclusive economic zone of Japan. And the developed “depressurization method” has demonstrated continuous production by the world's first offshore production test. Furthermore, we are developing natural gas transportation and storage technologies by using the physical properties of gas hydrates, for the creation of new industrial technologies. We are also executing a research alliance program as a global platform, to promote technology transfers, human resources development, organizing of symposiums for the innovation of the technologies.

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Research Base

AIST Hokkaido, AIST Tsukuba (West)

Location

2-17-2-1 Tsukisamu-Higashi, Toyohira-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 062-8517, Japan
Tel: (011) 857-8945 / Fax: (011) 857-8417
(from outside Japan: Tel: +81-11-857-8945 / Fax: +81-11-857-8417)
Methane Hydrate Research Center WEB site

Research Center for Compact Chemical System

Development of simple and compact chemical systems with low environmental impact

Under the AIST’s mission statement, i.e. “contribution to a sustainable society,” we are pursuing process innovations of the chemical and a related industries.
Our main objective is to develop simple and compact production systems which provide a variety of products of adequate quantities with efficient energy use and minimum environmental impact. By these process innovations we ultimately aim to create recycling based industrial structures. We are investigating the following core technologies to realize this goal; 1) high temperature, high pressure chemical engineering technology, 2) inorganic material processing technology and 3) mutual integration of these technologies. We also make use of AIST’s network to achieve our research objectives. Along with these R & D efforts we are contributing to local industrial communities, particularly the manufacturing industries, by creating new additional values of their products and of the local natural resources.

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Research Base

AIST Tohoku

Location

4-2-1 Nigatake, Miyagino-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 983-8551, Japan
Tel: (022) 237-5208 / Fax: (022) 232-7002
(from outside Japan: Tel: +81-22-237-5208 / Fax: +81-22-232-7002)
Research Center for Compact Chemical System WEB site

Advanced Power Electronics Research Center

Efficient handling of electric power based on new electronics using widegap semiconductors

Power electronics, represented by inverters used in home appliances and industrial equipment, is a key technology to control electric energy, and is currently based on silicon power devices. However, their performance limits will be revealed. Our goals are to develop wafer technology of widegap semiconductors such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) and their power device technology; to extend such technologies to a power electronics integration technology consisting of circuit, module/packaging, and control that makes full use of the performance of widegap semiconductor devices; and to make a breakthrough for the current performance limits by making optimal use of this system. The ultimate goal is to establish fundamentals of novel electronics for energy handling.

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Research Base

AIST Tsukuba (Central, West)

AIST Participating Technology Research Association

・R&D Partnership for Future Power Electronics Technology (FUPET)

Location

AIST Tsukuba Central 2, 1-1-1 Umezono, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8568, Japan
Tel: (029) 861-5050 / Fax: (029) 861-5032
(from outside Japan: Tel: +81-29-861-5050 / Fax: +81-29-861-5032)
Advanced Power Electronics Research Center WEB site

Research Center for Photovoltaic Technologies

Development of clean next-generation energy sources

Research Center for Photovoltaic Technologies is aiming at a sustainable development of photovoltaic technologies to realize the national energy security, low carbon society, economic growth and domestic job creation at the same time with a comprehensive and systematic approach. To this end, we are investigating
1) device and system technologies under the intimate collaboration with private sectors,
2) primary reference cell calibration and neutral characterization of devices and systems,
3) fundamental researches for next-generation innovative devices. We are also emphasizing the international standardization and regional collaboration of the outcome of our research.

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Research Base

AIST Tsukuba (Central),AIST Kyushu

AIST Participating Technology Research Association

・Photovoltaic Power Generation Technology Research Association (PVTEC)

Location

AIST Tsukuba Central 2, 1-1-1 Umezono, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8568, Japan
Tel: (029) 861-5110 / Fax: (029) 861-5615
(from outside Japan: Tel: +81-29-861-5110 / Fax: +81-29-861-5615)
Development of clean next-generation energy sources WEB site

Biomass Refinery Research Center

Establishment of fundamental technology to convert biomass resources into chemicals, materials and fuels

The fundamental technologies to decompose lignocellulose, which is most abundant non-edible biomass resources, and to convert into chemicals, materials and fuels are developing by cooperation with the related research units in the AIST. As biomass refinery consists of many processes, the increase in efficiency and the acceleration of the research and development are aimed at by integration of a series of processes from pretreatment of materials, decomposition, and refining as the upper process to manufacture of the last products as the lower process.
Moreover, as a core research base of the biomass in Asia, we contribute to technology transfer abroad, standardization and utilization of research products.

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Research Base

AIST Chugoku

Location

3-11-32 Kagamiyama, Higashi-hiroshima, Hiroshima 739-0046, Japan
Tel & Fax: (082) 420-8250 / Fax: (082) 420-8251
(from outside Japan: Tel: +81-82-420-8250 / Fax: +81-82-420-8251)
Biomass Refinery Research Center WEB site

Interdisciplinary Research Center for Catalytic Chemistry (IRC3)

Open a new field of catalytic chemistry

Interdisciplinary Research Center for Catalytic Chemistry is aiming at innovating synthetic processes of functional chemical products and development of catalyst technologies that will contribute to maintain and strengthen global competitiveness of Japanese chemical industry with its comprehensive approach through four catalytic technologies on “Silicon Chemistry”, “Innovative Oxidation”, “Functional Group Transformation” and “Catalyst Immobilization”, which are core subjects of this center.
More specifically, we investigate the above topics based on three concepts to innovate catalytic technologies for the production of functional chemical materials.1. Saving energy with highly active catalyst (less heating, shorter reaction time, etc.)2. Saving energy with highly selectivity catalyst (least by-products and less process steps) 3. Substantial reduction of rare metal dependence: shifting out from precious metal catalyst systems.

Image of Open a new field of catalytic chemistry

Research Base

AIST Tsukuba (Central)

Location

AIST Tsukuba Central 5-2, 1-1-1 Higashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8565, Japan
Tel & Fax: (029) 861-6052 (from outside Japan: Tel & Fax: +81-29-861-6052)
Open a new field of catalytic chemistry WEB site

Renewable Energy Research Center

Technology development for the high-rate introduction of renewable energy

In order to introduce renewable energy at a high-rate, it is necessary to match intermittent power sources to power demand, reduce costs of power generation and environment assessment, and to harmonize local energy resources and optimum technology with the environment. Our research center promotes the following R&D by utilizing the demonstration field in the institute.

  • ・Integrate intermittent renewable energy sources with energy storage, hydrogen and batteries, and power electronics, and to demonstrate an energy management system with renewable energy introduced at a highrate.
  • ・Develop a mass production technology of light-weight and cost-effective photovoltaic modules.
  • ・Construct databases of geothermal sources to help proper development of application systems.

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Research Base

Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute
(until March 2014, AIST Tsukuba Central II)

Location

Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute, 2-2-9 Machiikedai, Koriyama,
Fukushima 963-0215, Japan
(until March 2014, AIST Tsukuba Central II, 1-1-1 Umezono, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8568)
Renewable Energy Research Center WEB site

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