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: Environmentally compatible organic solar cells

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Refrigerant in cars: Refreshingly cool, potentially toxic

Apr 09, 2014

The refrigerant R1234yf is being considered for use in air conditioning systems in cars. Chemists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich now show that, in the event of a fire, it releases the highly poisonous ...

Big, fast, weird data

Apr 08, 2014

The "Big Data" research that continues to dominate IT agendas has traditionally focused on making sense of the growing volumes of computer data. Yet in recent years, the volume question has given way to the other V's of Big ...

Carbon nanotubes find real world applications

Mar 31, 2014

No one disputes that carbon nanotubes have the potential to be a wonder technology: their properties include a thermal conductivity higher than diamond, greater mechanical strength than steel – orders of ...

Recommended for you

Environmentally compatible organic solar cells

2 hours ago

Environmentally compatible production methods for organic solar cells from novel materials are in the focus of "MatHero". The new project coordinated by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) aims at making ...

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

4 hours ago

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, ...

Unlocking secrets of new solar material

4 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A new solar material that has the same crystal structure as a mineral first found in the Ural Mountains in 1839 is shooting up the efficiency charts faster than almost anything researchers have ...

Ikea buys wind farm in Illinois

Apr 15, 2014

These days, Ikea is assembling more than just furniture. About 150 miles south of Chicago in Vermilion County, Ill., the home goods giant is building a wind farm large enough to ensure that its stores will never have to buy ...

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.

More news stories

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

Unlocking secrets of new solar material

(Phys.org) —A new solar material that has the same crystal structure as a mineral first found in the Ural Mountains in 1839 is shooting up the efficiency charts faster than almost anything researchers have ...

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, ...

New US-Spanish firm says targets rich mobile ad market

Spanish telecoms firm Telefonica and US investment giant Blackstone launched a mobile telephone advertising venture on Wednesday, challenging internet giants such as Google and Facebook in a multi-billion-dollar ...