Japan's green flag of friendship
03 April 2012 18:33
China and Japan are in the premier division of economies in Asia and so have interdependent industries. Some Japanese companies in China enjoy a virtual monopoly in their operations.
Japanese diplomats recently held a ceremony in Beijing to mark the launch of the "China-Japan Friendship Year for People-to-People Exchanges" campaign and the Vibrant Japan exhibition.
It's created a chance for Japanese sustainable operations to attain a higher profile as they show new energy and pollution treatment technologies as part of the exhibition.
Hiroyuki Ishige, Chairman of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), said creating an eco-friendly society for sustainable affluence was the common task for both countries.
|A waste plastics catalytic pyrolysis oil-refining device from Japan's Recycle Energy Co.|
Some Chinese and Japanese economists believe that the countries share many interests in new energy development and environmental protection but have yet to deepen their co-operation.
The venture of Japanese green enterprises into the China market suggests that there is a greater demand for eco-products in this period of industrial transformation on the Chinese mainland.
"New energy" vehicles
Three vehicles featuring new energy options duly appeared at the "Vibrant Japan" exhibition. Established firms like Nikon and Canon had a lower profile, apparently reflecting the determination of the three major Japanese auto makers to seize a better share of the China market.
Honda sent technicians to oversee the exhibition of its FIT EV electric car. This model uses a lithium-ion battery to convert power and can be charged at stations or by plugging into a power source. The charging time at 220 volts is six hours and the cruising range is more than 150 km. The maximum speed is 144Kmh.
"This model is still in the road test stage. If it passes, it will begin mass production and will then be launched in the market," said Li Xiaowei, a Member of the External Affairs Department at Honda (China).
|Honda FIT EV can hit speeds of 144Kmh.||Nissan Leaf electric car.|
The Nissan Leaf on display was the world's first mass-produced electric vehicle and is already on sale in Japan, the US and Europe.
It is an all-electric five-passenger five-door hatchback, driven by a compact laminated lithium-ion battery.
The Leaf's power is approximately the same as for most small- and medium-sized family cars and has a range of 160 km when fully-charged from a 200V socket for eight hours. Quick charging for 10 minutes will give it enough power to run for 50 km.
The Prius PHEV (a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) was exhibited by Toyota and offers what the company claimed as "the best of both worlds".
|Toyota's Prius PHEV.|
The driver can choose to run the car in an all-electric mode or in a hybrid mode, depending on the distance to be covered. The vehicle can make full use of electric power without being restricted by the battery power level or lack of charging facilities.
The new Prius can also reduce consumption of non-renewable resources and the emission of carbon dioxide.
As Toyota's new-generation, eco-friendly vehicle, the Prius PHEV is said to be able to travel 100 km on 2.1 litres of fuel. Its battery can be fully charged in 180 minutes at 100V and 90 minutes at 200V.
The Decision on Accelerating the Development of Strategic Emerging Industriesadopted by the State Council in October 2010 officially identified pure electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles and other new-energy vehicles as among seven key strategic emerging industries.
However, the Plan for Energy Efficiency and New-Energy Vehicles which was supposed to provide guidelines for the development of new-energy vehicles during the 12th Five-year Programme (FYP) is still on the drawing board, even after more than two years. Details of the plan are still unclear.
At the consumer end of the commodity chain, there are only about 800 privately-owned new-energy vehicles on the Mainland.
The Ministry of Finance has set aside Rmb5 billion to subsidise new-energy vehicles and five cities have been chosen to pilot the policy, by offering a subsidy of between Rmb50,000 and Rmb60,000 to vehicle buyers.
"Failure to achieve a breakthrough in battery technology and a lack of charging facilities, which pose a handicap for long-distance travel, are our biggest problems at present. Actually sales are not that optimistic, even in Japan," said Honda's Li.
Liu Zhenya, General Manager of the State Grid Corp of China indicated at the beginning of this year that the company will optimise its battery charging and services for electric vehicles by stepping up the construction of service stations in major cities and cities in the Yangtze River Delta and the Bohai Rim regions this year.
The completion of a network of service stations will greatly increase the cruising capability of electric vehicles and boost the development of "green" vehicles.
One exhibitor revealed that new-energy vehicles will be one of the highlights at the Beijing Auto Show in April this year. In addition to the three models on display, several other new-energy concept cars will make their debut at the show.
|Official describes SO-EN's water treatment system.|
More than 20 Japanese firms displayed their products in the energy conservation and environmental protection zone at the Vibrant Japan exhibition.
SO-EN Co Ltd displayed its carbon fibre water treatment technology. Using the large surface area of carbon fibres deposited with microorganisms to absorb and decompose pollutants in the water, this technology can purify category five quality water into category two or three quality water within two months.
SO-EN's Environmental Business Department said this technology is now used in treating water in Lake Donghu in Wuhan. The price-performance ratio of this technology is high, but it can treat water fast.
Mitsubishi Rayon Cleansui Co Ltd showed its home water purifier at the exhibition. This device uses hollow fibre membranes to remove chlorine, organic substances and other harmful substances from the water.
For energy generation, Recycle Energy Co Ltd exhibited a device for converting waste plastics into crude oil by means of catalytic pyrolysis, a technique completely different from thermal decomposition. This device is quite small and can produce non-paraffin naphtha, gasoline and diesel oil, while posing no fire hazard.
|A visitor collects company information.||A visitor looks at the Cleansui home-use water purifier.|
Hitachi Zosen Corp, NTT, Japan High-Tech Robot Development and other enterprises not engaged in the production of green products in their main line of business provided information about their corporate social responsibility (CSR) at the exhibition.
Energy conservation and environmental protection were also identified as among the key strategic emerging industries on the Mainland.
from special correspondent Yi Ming, Beijing