According to The Australian Financial Review, the country’s green bank is nearing its first investment in the hydrogen sector as a landmark report for the bank found green hydrogen is already almost cost-competitive for long-distance trucks, buses and remote power but will take much longer for some sectors of industry.
Clean Energy Finance Corporation chief executive Ian Learmonth said the bank is in the late stages of investigating an Australian electrolyser technology company that has the potential to dramatically improve the efficiency of green hydrogen production.
The report for the CEFC by Worley’s consultancy arm, Advisian, found green hydrogen should become commercially viable for other parts of the transportation industry as early as 2030. Green hydrogen involves using renewable power to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, involving minimal carbon emissions.
According to The Nikkei Asia, Sony Group will join forces with Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries in a bid to roll out a new remote robotics platform business that will cater to factory workers who have faced challenging conditions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The two companies announced on Friday plans to establish a joint company this summer in which they will each hold a 50% stake. The new company will have a capital of 100 million yen (US$ 919,000) and will start operations soon after receiving the necessary approvals.
The business will focus on offering industrial workers, and eventually essential workers in fields like health care, flexible and safe working conditions through a "remote robot platform," which will enable workers to operate and control robots from remote locations.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Victoria’s budget announcement on Thursday of a stamp duty waiver on unsold Melbourne apartments could save a typical buyer about $17,000, and put more price pressure on sellers of existing inner city properties, according to the industry keen to clear a backlog.
Developers across the city applauded the Victorian government’s budget decision to remove the stamp duty on apartments that had been unsold for a year or longer, while also encouraging the sale of new off-the-plan dwellings by increasing the threshold for concessional stamp duty treatment to $1 million from the previous levels of $550,000 for owner occupiers and $750,000 for first home buyers.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, an existing drug for Parkinson’s disease can delay the progress of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by about seven months, according to a clinical trial using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology.
Keio University researchers released the results of the trial on May 20. They will apply for approval to use the drug to treat ALS as soon as possible after considering the need to conduct additional clinical trials.
It is the first time in the world that the efficacy of drugs discovered through “drug discovery and development” methods, which include experiments using iPS cells, has been confirmed in a clinical trial.
Under the methods, medical professionals can create a large amount of nerve and muscle cells using iPS cells based on cells harvested from patients to reproduce the patients' conditions.
They can then use those cells to test thousands of chemical compounds and pick drug candidates more quickly.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, the ideal employee: happy, and therefore more productive. But how can bosses tell if the staff are indeed happy?
It's all in the moves, says Kazuo Yano, whose company, Happiness Planet Ltd., developed a wearable sensor it says assesses happiness by monitoring a staff member's body movements.
Yano hit on the idea of measuring people’s happiness levels with acceleration sensors while working at Hitachi Ltd.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Ampol has unveiled a strategy to eventually shift from a traditional petrol and diesel retailer to a low-carbon provider of power for electric vehicles and hydrogen, utilising its refining sites and nationwide distribution network.
The former Caltex Australia is making a major move into electricity as part of its strategy to reach net zero emissions by 2040 and tap into new low-carbon sectors such as hydrogen and batteries.
The strategy includes a range of new alliances Ampol has struck with players in the “future energy” space including Tesla, as it seeks to develop energy products that align with customers’ appetite for cleaner fuels.
According to The Nikkei Asia, Ricoh has developed a new solar cell that has a 20% higher maximum power output than its current product and can generate electricity from room lights or less.
As the cell can operate at subfreezing temperatures, it can be used in refrigerator sensors and for a variety of other purposes. Ricoh plans to start selling the product in late May, targeting plants and distribution warehouses, among other customers.
The company plugged into the solar cell business using its vaunted multifunction printer technology in 2020 and is seeking to make the business profitable by fiscal 2023, which ends in March 2024.
For one of the new solar cells measuring 5 by 8 cm, the maximum power output is 276 microwatts. A microwatt is one-millionth of a watt.
The cells can operate in temperatures from minus 30 degrees Celsius to 60 degrees, both colder and hotter than conventional products' range of zero to 50 degrees.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Australia’s largest builders are preparing for price rises as the supply contracts that have kept them cushioned from surging costs come due for renewal.
Home-building, a key focus of the federal government’s efforts to stimulate the economy that is already rebounding from last year’s COVID-19 recession, is not the only sector facing inflation. Fruit and vegetables are already rising and consumer goods from bicycles to cars also set to surge.
While smaller builders have already felt the hit of higher costs including supplier CSR’s 4 per cent price increase last month on its Gyprock plasterboard products, the country’s biggest players say local shortages and increased global demand for some materials, particularly timber, will hit them, too.
According to The Nikkei Asia, a Japanese startup will soon bring online a refurbished plant that it claims is the world's sole facility for chemical recycling of plastic bottles.
JEPLAN's plant in Kawasaki uses chemical recycling, in which used plastic bottles are chemically reduced into monomers -- or molecules that can be bonded other identical molecules to form a polymer. This contrasts with traditional recycling, where plastic bottles are washed and melted.
"The same material can be recycled over and over again," says JEPLAN CEO Masaki Takao.
PET Refine Technology, a subsidiary of container manufacturer Toyo Seikan, had operated the Kawasaki complex since 2009 but it stopped running in 2017. JEPLAN acquired PET Refine Technology in 2018 and began preparations to restart the facility, which includes steel towers, warehouses and silos on roughly 50,000 sq. meters of land.
After starting trial operations this month, the plant is slated to go fully online this summer. It is expected to churn out 20,000 tons of plastic bottle materials a year. JEPLAN will team up with Asahi Soft Drinks and trading house Sojitz on mass production and hopes to eventually market the system abroad.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, Toyota Central R&D Labs Inc. said it has gone one better than even plants, improving the efficiency of its artificial photosynthesis technology to a world record level.
The Toyota Motor Corp. group research institute, based in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture, announced that the technology now surpasses plants in its conversion efficiency. Plants use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into organic matter in photosynthesis.
The institute expects its artificial photosynthesis technology will lead to a promising means for an effective use of CO2.
Researchers are hoping it will become possible in the future to collect CO2 emitted from factories and use it in artificial photosynthesis by means of this technology.
The researchers conducted a study to use the energy of sunlight to generate formic acid, an organic substance, from CO2 and water. They assume the formic acid will be used as a raw material for generating hydrogen or as fuel for generating power.
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