Expos showcase future of renewable energy: Fuel-efficient car, high-tech batteries shine at exhibitions

Feb 26, 2009 Hiroko Nakata, Japan Times, Tokyo

One of the few bright spots in the dark days of the global economic downturn is the field of renewable energy.

The industry's strength was in evidence at the 5th International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Expo, which kicked off Wednesday at Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward.

A total of 925 domestic and overseas companies operated booths at this and a concurrent exhibition, the 2nd International Photovoltaic Power Generation Expo, up from 768 companies last year.

"Because of the recession, many companies joined the events to drum up more business opportunities," said Kayo Nomura, who is in charge of overseas public relations for Reed Exhibitions Japan, the organizer of the exhibitions.

A total of 58,000 people are expected to visit the events, exceeding the 51,644 who came last year, according to Reed. Both events run through Friday.

A highlight of the expos is the first showing in Japan of a Swiss-made fuel-cell vehicle that is recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's most fuel-efficient.

The one-seat vehicle, measuring 2.78 meters long and 57 cm wide, dubbed Pac Car II, weighs only 29 kg. In 2005, running on hydrogen equivalent to 1 liter of gasoline, the car covered 5,385 km.

"This is a perfect example of fuel-efficient cars," said Felix Moesner, the science and technology attache at the Swiss Embassy in Tokyo, who was showing off the car.

"This is also a model of how academia, industries and the government can collaborate," he said.

The vehicle was created by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Zurich with support from the Swiss government and the private sector.

However, unlike the fuel-cell vehicles developed by the major automakers, the Pac Car II is not destined for the world's highways, Moesner said.

Sony Corp. impressed with an exhibition for its new "bio battery." First developed by the electronics giant in 2007, the battery generates electricity from carbohydrates or sugar utilizing enzymes as its catalyst, applying principles found in living organisms.

"Actually, sugar is full of energy," said Shogo Kusano, senior manager at Sony's Advanced Materials Laboratories.

"The battery is very safe. Above all, it is ecological," he said.

Kyocera Corp. showed off a new solar cell with the world's highest conversion efficiency rate, of 18.5 percent.

Foreign participants included China-based Suntech Power Holdings Co., the world's biggest photovoltaic module maker. The company's new nonreflective Pluto cells generate 10 percent more electricity than other cells, Suntech said.

(c) 2009 MCT

Explore further: Inspired by Los Angeles, researcher takes a new approach to urban planning

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Physicists discuss quantum pigeonhole principle

12 hours ago

The pigeonhole principle: "If you put three pigeons in two pigeonholes at least two of the pigeons end up in the same hole." So where's the argument? Physicists say there is an important argument. While the ...

Giant crater in Russia's far north sparks mystery

14 hours ago

A vast crater discovered in a remote region of Siberia known to locals as "the end of the world" is causing a sensation in Russia, with a group of scientists being sent to investigate.

NASA Mars spacecraft prepare for close comet flyby

15 hours ago

NASA is taking steps to protect its Mars orbiters, while preserving opportunities to gather valuable scientific data, as Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring heads toward a close flyby of Mars on Oct. 19.

Recommended for you

Qi wireless charging standard offers more design freedom

15 hours ago

Wireless charging is getting a new technology treatment which offers more design freedom. The Wireless Power Consortium's advance in its Qi wireless charging standard means that phones and chargers will no ...

'Wetting' a battery's appetite for renewable energy storage

20 hours ago

Sun, wind and other renewable energy sources could make up a larger portion of the electricity America consumes if better batteries could be built to store the intermittent energy for cloudy, windless days. Now a new material ...

New system to optimize public lighting power consumption

20 hours ago

In order to meet the efficiency requirements of the latest public lighting regulations, researchers from the School of Industrial Engineers of Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), in collaboration with ...

Many tongues, one voice, one common ambition

Jul 31, 2014

There is much need to develop energy efficient solutions for residential buildings in Europe. The EU-funded project, MeeFS, due to be completed by the end of 2015, is developing an innovative multifunctional and energy efficient ...

Panasonic, Tesla to build big US battery plant

Jul 31, 2014

(AP)—American electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. is teaming up with Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp. to build a battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. expected to create 6,500 jobs.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

El_Nexus
3 / 5 (2) Feb 27, 2009
Please stop spamming, Neil.