Vol.8 No.2 2015
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Research paper : Study of the top 70 NEDO Inside Products (M. YAMASHITA et al.)−81−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.8 No.2 (2015) industrial furnaces, and residential fuel cells. However, the sales figures of parts/materials, processing technology, or intermediate products need to be inferred from the information given by the corporate researchers and the experts from industrial associations during the interviews, or from various other sources on how these products are incorporated into end products. For example, the core technologies developed in NEDO projects (e.g., MEMS, multilayered films, laser micro-processing, in-situ observation technology) benefit the production of functional intermediate products (e.g., pressure sensors, acceleration sensors, microphones); these technologies turned out to be incorporated into countless end products (e.g., automobiles, cell phones, game consoles) making a part of supply chains. It was also found out that a number of high-performance intermediate products among NEDO Inside Products have achieved more sophisticated functionality, lower cost, and energy efficiency by being combined with other NEDO Inside Products; which have been integrated into some major end products of the key industries in Japan.5.2 NEDO Inside Products with significant gross social benefitsThere is a number of NEDO Inside Products which are enormously beneficial to the society despite the fact that their net sales are not significant. This applies to some environmental and energy-saving products, CO2 reduction and recycling (resource cycling and landfill waste reduction), for instance. NEDO Inside Products with notable CO2 reduction effect include the chlorofluorocarbon destruction processes. A process that detoxifies HFC-23 (trifluoromethane), a byproduct of chlorofluorocarbon coolant process for air conditioning which is high in GWP is typical of such products. There are 14 plants in Japan and eight or more overseas plants in operation adopting this process, and the domestic plants are known to reduce 7 million ton (CO2 equivalent) per year. In 2010, it made a significant contribution to achieving the goal of COP3 (Kyoto Protocol; Third Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).It is notable that there is a group of NEDO projects that have promoted the institutionalization of public services: The development of recycling technologies. The R&D projects on over 100 topics have been conducted[16]-[18] in response to recent changes in regulation, and the project outcomes offer invaluable solutions to such social issues as shortage of landfill sites in Japan, hazardous substance control, and resource conservation. Figure 6 epitomizes the technology architecture of recycling systems. In the past decades, there was no appropriate measure being taken other than recycling, recovery and reuse of glass bottles and newspapers. In the face of it, NEDO initiated basic and advanced R&D projects for materials and resource recycling technologies; which have successfully reduced the processing cost through the progress in technology and the improvement of process capacity. The technologies have been applied to a range of wastes and semifinishied goods (mixed materials), and in turn, led to increased recycling rate. Moreover, the progress in soft technologies, namely, life cycle assessment (LCA) and design for the environment (DfE) has enabled mutual improvement of soft and hard technologies, as can be seen from the development of the products that are easy to recycle. The recycling technologies that considerably benefit the society include “recycling plant of the four ‘white goods’ (televisions, air conditioners, washing machines, and refrigerators)” and “re-resourcing of waste plastics (blast furnace injection; liquefaction; and refuse paper and plastic fuel (RPF).” Unlike automobiles, recycling of white goods was made obligatory for the manufacturing companies in Japan, and at the time, the industry as a whole was in need for economical recycling systems. Several home appliance manufacturers had taken charge of the development these devices by bringing their own expertise together, and produced optimal processing devices in a short period of time overcoming different corporate interests. After a series of demonstrations and long-time continuous operation, a new system was established. From the interviews with the companies, we found out that there are currently 49 plants using this system in Japan recycling 931.000 ton per year. It should also be noted that the most important core technology in the development of this entire system was “sorting.” Before the current recycling system was introduced, waste processing had been managed by local governments, and the majority of solid waste had been simply cut into pieces and buried. The advanced sorting technologies developed through NEDO projects allow the most of useful parts to be recovered efficiently at low cost and the recycling rate to see a rapidly increase.On the other hand, waste plastics had been buried in landfills until new technology was developed. It triggered a range of social problems including the shortage of landfill sites, soaring cost for processing, and dioxin emission during combustion. After LCA and careful economic evaluations, it was found that waste heat recovery (in some cases, electricity) in the form of thermal recycling would bring an enormous economic advantage. Following this, a safe combustion process (i.e., exhaust gas management) was introduced; which led to a > 90 % increase in recycling rate (power generation or thermal recycling accompanying combustion). As for the resource recovery of waste plastics (liquefaction, etc.), practical application as a system was viable only if the technology complied with the revised laws and met the demands (e.g., traceability of the resource, the volume of waste, the presence of recycling businesses).[16]-[18] Thus, the R&D projects would frequently face termination or suspension due to the lack of sufficient amount of waste, or prohibitive costs for labor and transportation, notwithstanding the technological excellence.In the development of devices and processes in NEDO projects in the 1990s, the government and the industry conducted a

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