Hydrogen viewed as key to energy needs after Fukushima disaster.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, an experimental project got under way here on April 6 2015 to generate hydrogen from wind power as a step toward achieving a zero-emission hydrogen-powered society.
The Environment Ministry and construction giant Toda Corp. conducted the experiment at a wind power producing facility in waters about 1 kilometer off Kabashima island, one of the Goto Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture.
“We demonstrated that we can convert wind power into hydrogen and transport it,” said Iku Sato, Toda deputy manager. “If we can trim the costs of manufacturing hydrogen with technological innovation, it will serve to expand the introduction of the renewable energy.”
Using large wind turbines measuring 80 meters in diameter, the offshore power plant has an output of two megawatts of electricity. The plant transmits wind-generated electricity through a cable running along the seabed to Kabashima island, where Kyushu Electric Co.’s power grid supplies 100 households on the island.
Surplus electricity generated from the wind power plant is being used in the project to generate hydrogen.
Hydrogen, which has garnered attention with the emergence of fuel-cell vehicles, has the downside of producing carbon dioxide in its conventional manufacturing process, which mainly uses fossil fuels such as natural gas and petroleum. Fuel-cell automobiles, however, do not emit carbon dioxide in their emissions.
The project uses the plant's excess wind-generated electricity to extract hydrogen from water, a technology known as power to gas (P2G).
P2G is a method of manufacturing hydrogen without producing carbon dioxide, and the central government envisions a hydrogen energy society by 2040 by way of P2G technologies.
The hydrogen manufactured in the project will be stored in a liquid form called Methylcyclohexane, which is obtained by the reaction between hydrogen and toluene. For use, the hydrogen will be extracted from Methylcyclohexane by using heat and a catalyst.
Project trials held April 6 used equipment for manufacturing, storing and using hydrogen that was transported aboard ships in the form of Methylcyclohexane to remote islands. After being shipped to the remote sites, technicians successfully extracted the hydrogen from the Methylcyclohexane. The experiments will continue until March 2016.
One drawback of wind-power generation is its unstable output, which is dependent on favorable weather conditions. Its surplus electricity, however, can be converted into hydrogen for storage, and the hydrogen can be converted into electricity during times of increased energy needs, which will help provide a stable supply of power.
Similar experiments on hydrogen production are also currently being conducted in Europe.
Reflecting growing demand for alternative forms of energy that are clean and efficient, automakers are set to sell their first commercial fuel-cell vehicles, powered by hydrogen right now.
According to The Nikkei Asian Review today, Toyota is just opening showroom for fuel cell car in Tokyo, Japan.
The Japanese automaker said Monday it will open a showroom April 17 2015 for the Mirai fuel cell vehicle. Every Friday, people will have an opportunity to drive one around the block.
Toyota began selling the hydrogen Mirai in December 2014, and the number of orders is believed to have reached 2,500, mainly from government agencies, businesses and wealthy individuals.
How the new business could attract 2 million users within 20 months after launching their business? Here is another business success story in Australia.
According to the Business Review Weekly today, Canva has reached a milestone of 2 million users in less than 20 months and growth at the Sydney-based start-up is accelerating.
Canva, which offers online tools for do-it-yourself graphic design, launched its beta site in August 2013 and had 600,000 users at its last funding round in July 2014.
“Our first 500,000 took 280 days to reach and since then it’s been basically halving - it took about 140 days for the next 500,000 and this one has been even quicker,” Cameron Adams, the technical co-founder, says.
“When you start out, you think it’s a great idea and is going to work but you don’t truly think of the numbers, and it feels amazing to hit these marks that you thought only Facebook could reach.”
The company has had to introduce more automation and self-help features to cope with the scale, but Adams says it has been “amazing” how well the technical side has coped with the growth.
Canva is free to use and the other co-founders, Melanie Perkins, says the start-up is committed to keeping it that way. People pay if they want to download stock images, with the money shared between Canva and the original contributors. Perkins says this is generating “significant revenue” for Canva and some contributors were earning thousands of dollars, so the business model is working.
Perkins says Canva has big plans for 2015; she hints that there might be something in the pipeline for the 200,000 companies using Canva, and building functionality that “will make a lot of people very happy” based on user requests.
The business is backed by big names, attracting $6.6 million in funding so far.
Big global players are establishing presences in Australia to expand their business.
According to The Courier mail today, BIG Chinese banks are continuing their push into Queensland, with another of the country’s top five lenders announcing plans to open a Brisbane branch.
Shanghai-based Bank of Communications will open an office in Eagle St on April 20, its second branch after it established an initial Sydney outlet four years ago. The bank has almost 2800 branches around the world.
The bank said in a statement that it “looked forward to the opportunity to grow in Australia’s New World City” and would target large scale clients in agriculture, mining and manufacturing.
“The big Chinese banks have had an increasing presence in Australia over the past five to seven years,” said PwC financial services leader Hugh Harley. “Their strategy is to support the two way trade between Australia and China, particularly mineral resources and agriculture.
Holding Redlich commercial law partner Carl Hinze said that after initially establishing branches in Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane was the next logical market.
He said China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ strategy will fuel massive outbound investment by Chinese companies in places like Australia.”
The strategy refers to the ‘maritime Silk Road’ connecting China to its Southeast Asian neighbours.
When asset sales were still on the agenda before the recent Queensland election the expectation was that Chinese investors would mostly be interested in infrastructure.
“Now the focus will mostly be on commercial property, tourism, agriculture and healthcare in Queensland,” he said.
Mr Hinze added that Chinese banks were serving large Chinese state-owned companies and private clients as well as big Australian companies.
Here is an Australian success story. What are the main reasons why they success their business to generate $1.5 billion??
According to The Australian Financial Review recently, Nigel Austin was studying business at university when, in need of cash, he started selling acid-wash denim jackets from the boot of his car at the markets in Geelong almost 24 years ago.
In the first week he sold just one jacket for $30, barely enough to pay for lunch and petrol. Undeterred, he went back to his supplier, who just happened to be his father, the late clothing wholesaler Grant Austin, and negotiated a better deal.
"The next week I sold all 20 and made $200 – I thought that was pretty addictive," Austin says.
Now 44, Austin is still selling denim jackets – as well as T-shirts, jeans, checked shirts, dresses, sweaters, bras, undies and homewares – but his Cotton On Group retail empire has grown from just two stores in 1991 to more than 1300 stores across eight brands in 19 countries including the US and South Africa.
Sales have risen more than 20 per cent a year for at least five years and are forecast to reach $1.51 billion this year.
"Cotton On is a true Australian new generation success story," retail expert and former David Jones chief executive Paul Zahra says. "It has a singular focus on every day, edited basics that are fashion focused at an exceptional price and quality. It's a relatively young and determined company who have no set boundaries and who know their customer intimately."
Over the next three years the group plans to open 570 stores around the globe, taking the total to almost 1900, while lifting online sales to $250 million.
"Basically what's made them such a success is they're a supply-chain business and a property business," Ferrier Hodgson's retail leader, James Stewart says. "They bring quality products to the market at the cheapest possible price and their supply chain and sourcing strategies are critical to them being able to offer the value proposition they offer in their stores. Their stores are relatively inexpensive to put together so the capital investment is not very high and their payback period is very fast."
The move to direct sourcing in 2000, when COG had only 60 stores, and the adoption of advanced replenishment systems in 2005, by which time store numbers had risen to about 140, were turning points for the group.
"We ended up having this perfect storm of comp sales growth through better replenishment systems and margin growth, so that was where the growth really kicked in," Austin says.
Products are manufactured by 170 suppliers at 330 factories, mainly in China and Bangladesh, and are sent by sea freight to seven distribution centres in Melbourne, Brisbane, South Africa, China, Singapore, California and New Zealand.
COG expands into new markets and builds its e-commerce and digital capabilities but it has struggled to attract the international expertise it needs.
Cotton On is also growing its own talent, investing $30 million establishing its own University, a four-module learning platform in conjunction with Deakin University aimed at improving retail and leadership skills.
We are glad to hear that a brand-new city planned for the Sunshine Coast will pioneer a standard in green living.
There are a lot of advance environmental technologies available from Japan. Therefore, we hope that some of the Japanese advance technology will be used for this new green city in Australia.
According to The Australian Financial Review today, Stockland's $5 billion Caloundra South community (in QLD) will grow to house more than 50,000 residents and rival the size of Maroochydore, Hervey Bay or Gladstone within three decades. But a swag of innovative building practices, water management systems and an environmentally efficient approach to design, development and construction will set the coastal community apart as Australia's first 6-star, Green Star-rated city.
The development will set a new benchmark for sustainable development in Australia, according GBCA chief executive Romilly Madew.
"Stockland's 6 Star accreditation demonstrates that it is possible to undertake a development of unprecedented scale and achieve world-class environmental and social outcomes," Ms Madew said.
Set on 2310 hectares, the community is the largest mixed-use development developed by a single owner in Australia. It is also Stockland's largest project.
As part of the Green Star rating process, Stockland has decided on the most advanced water reticulation, filtration, storage and treatment system ever installed in an Australian city.
Stockland has also developed a Caloundra South economic development strategy targeting the creation of 19,500 direct jobs and long-term local employment opportunities.
We have positive news regarding iron ore export from Australia today.
According to The Australian Financial Review today, China has moved to boost its weak housing market by cutting taxes and lowering down payment requirements, as the world's second biggest economy rolls out a series of measures to stimulate growth.
In an announcement that has been expected for some time, the minimum down-payment on a second home has been cut to 40 per cent from 60 per cent previously.
In addition, those selling a property they have owned for at least two years will no longer be required to pay taxes, while restrictions on using retirement savings to buy an apartment have also been eased.
"The housing market correction continues to be seen as one of the key drags on domestic demand growth for 2015," says J.P. Morgan's China economist Zhu Haibin.
The down-turn has been the key drag on the iron ore price which has fallen to a seven year low of $US53 a tonne. Any turn-around in the housing market should increase demand for the key steel making commodity.
In the first two months of the year the total area of residential property sold declined by nearly 18 per cent, compared to the same time in 2014. The area of new apartments under construction has fallen by nearly 20 per cent over the same period.
Expectations that housing restrictions would be eased pushed China shares up nearly 2 per cent on Monday to a seven year high.
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