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: US urged to drop India WTO case on solar

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Developing nations ride a motorcycle boom

7 hours ago

Asia's rapidly developing economies should prepare for a full-throttle increase in motorcycle numbers as average incomes increase, a new study from The Australian National University has found.

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 ...

Recommended for you

US urged to drop India WTO case on solar

11 hours ago

Environmentalists Wednesday urged the United States to drop plans to haul India to the WTO to open its solar market, saying the action would hurt the fight against climate change.

Is nuclear power the only way to avoid geoengineering?

19 hours ago

"I think one can argue that if we were to follow a strong nuclear energy pathway—as well as doing everything else that we can—then we can solve the climate problem without doing geoengineering." So says Tom Wigley, one ...

Finalists named in Bloomberg European city contest

Apr 23, 2014

Amsterdam wants to create an online game to get unemployed young people engaged in finding jobs across Europe. Schaerbeek, Belgium, envisions using geothermal mapping to give households personalized rundowns of steps to save ...

Bloomberg invests $5M in solar-powered lamp

Apr 22, 2014

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's foundation has announced a $5 million investment in an artsy-looking solar-powered lamp designed for use in off-grid populations in Africa.

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

Brazil enacts Internet 'Bill of Rights'

Brazil's president signed into law on Wednesday a "Bill of Rights" for the digital age that aims to protect online privacy and promote the Internet as a public utility by barring telecommunications companies ...

Is nuclear power the only way to avoid geoengineering?

"I think one can argue that if we were to follow a strong nuclear energy pathway—as well as doing everything else that we can—then we can solve the climate problem without doing geoengineering." So says Tom Wigley, one ...

US urged to drop India WTO case on solar

Environmentalists Wednesday urged the United States to drop plans to haul India to the WTO to open its solar market, saying the action would hurt the fight against climate change.

FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

The federal government wants to prohibit sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

Vermont moves toward labeling of GMO foods

Vermont lawmakers have passed the country's first state bill to require the labeling of genetically modified foods as such, setting up a war between the behemoth U.S. food industry and an American public that overwhelmingly ...