Japanese govt to push high-tech ways to reduce CO2

March 2, 2008 (Daily Yomiuri) – The government and business groups are set to jointly promote the use of 21 revolutionary new technologies, such as an advanced form of solar-power generation and underground storage of carbon dioxide emissions, as part of a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions, government sources said Saturday.

Adoption of the plan, which also forms part of a national road map for promoting technological development, by the world’s major polluters could account for as much as 60 percent of the 40 billion ton cut in global emissions by 2050 that Japan has proposed, the sources said.

The government is set to announce the plan at a meeting of ministers from 20 countries on global warming to be held in Chiba starting March 14.

The government will call on Western nations to join the scheme, with the plan present as a draft proposal.

The government also will promote the global adoption of the plan at the Group of Eight summit meeting in Toyakocho, Hokkaido, in July.

As part of the plan, the government aims to develop solar-power generation technology that is four times more efficient than current technologies. Known as third-generation solar panels, the proposed panels incorporate nanotechnologies instead of using silicon.

The new type of solar panel is expected to be able to convert a much wider range of sunlight wavelengths into electricity. If realized, the government has predicted the cost of solar-power generation would be cut to about one-sixth of the current cost by 2030.

The plan includes development of a technology capable of sifting CO2 from factory and power plant emissions, and storing the gas deep underground. Special filters capable of separating out CO2 will be developed for this purpose.

With a current experimental technology, filtering CO2 from emissions costs 4,200 yen per ton. However, if the new technology is developed, the government expects the cost will fall to about 1,000 yen per ton.

Under the plan, the government also aims to improve the energy efficiency of coal-fired power stations by gasifying coal, with the aim of raising the energy generation efficiency rate at such plants from the current 42 percent to 55 percent in 2025.

Improvement of car battery technology also is planned as part of a scheme to develop hybrid cars that can be recharged from standard home power outlets, with the long-term aim being a sevenfold increase in battery capacity by 2030. If realized, a fully charged hybrid car would have a 500-kilometer range.

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