According to The Nikkei Asia, the Japanese government will lead a public-private effort to develop technology recycling carbon dioxide into burnable fuel to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by midcentury.
Working with 19 private-sector businesses, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will set up a council tasked with addressing the national goal as soon as this month. The body will form part of Japan's growth strategy to be completed later in June.
Members will share relevant technology for turning captured carbon dioxide into methane, a main component of heating gas. The council will also deliberate on rules governing carbon dioxide trading.
Participants of the carbon-recycling committee will include corporate heavyweights Tokyo Gas, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings, Nippon Steel and JFE Steel. Trading conglomerate Mitsubishi Corp., auto parts supplier Denso, marine shipper Nippon Yusen and the state-backed Development Bank of Japan will partake as well.
According to The Australian Financial Review, the proportion of empty rental apartments in the Sydney CBD has dropped to pre-pandemic levels, while other capitals posted record low vacancies, as more landlords sell up to cut their losses while tenants head back into town to take advantage of cheaper rents, Domain data shows.
Vacancy rates in the Sydney CBD fell to 2.9 per cent in May, a level last seen before the pandemic hit in February last year. At its peak, vacancy rates hit 5.8 per cent.
In the Melbourne CBD, the proportion of vacant apartments dropped to 8.6 per cent during the month.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s transport ministry plans to compel auto manufacturers to install fuel-efficiency recording devices on all their new models to more accurately determine their mileage ratings amid increased public scepticism.
The transport ministry plans to revise the related regulations as early as next week and apply them for new car models as early as October 2023, officials said.
It comes amid heated industry competition over producing better fuel-economy cars, and as manufacturers find themselves under pressure to shift gears toward a low-carbon economy.
It also follows concerns expressed over large gaps between the mileage ratings reported by manufacturers in car catalogues and on websites compared to what the numbers actually are once the rubber hits the road.
And as automobile makers ramped up their efforts in recent years to compete over fuel economy, the automotive industry became plagued by scandal over fudged numbers.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, the economy ministry will open a new trading market for renewable energy in November as part of the central government’s efforts to lower carbon emissions.
An official organization will certify that the electricity is generated by renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, and companies will be able to purchase the certificate through the new market.
The central government has pledged to achieve net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050, and the Diet passed a revised law to promote global warming countermeasures that clearly sets out the government’s emissions target.
Currently, major electricity companies buy renewable energy from electric power generation businesses based on a feed-in tariff system. The cost is tucked into consumers’ electricity bills. Renewable energy is transmitted together with thermal power and nuclear power, meaning that consumers cannot know how the electricity they use was generated.
According to The Australian Financial Review, surging Chinese demand for thermal coal has coincided with a raft of mine disruptions to create a global shortage of the fossil fuel, giving Australian miners a surprise boom less than a year after they were mired in a severe slump.
Coal-fired power generation may be declining in developed nations such as Australia but it remains a growing industry in Asian nations like China, India and Vietnam and prices for quality NSW thermal coal have more than doubled in the past 10 months on the back of an economic rebound and Chinese market distortions.
Top quality NSW coal – which has energy content above 6000 kilocalories per kilogram – was fetching $US122 per tonne in recent days, the highest levels since July 2018.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, a coal-fired power plant in central Japan will start an emissions-reduction experiment in June to burn fuel mixed with ammonia.
JERA Co., which is Japan’s largest power-generation company, and IHI Corp., a major heavy industrial company, jointly announced the trial on May 24.
It will be the world’s first full-scale experiment where a mix of ammonia and coal are burned in a large commercial furnace, according to company officials.
JERA runs the thermal power departments of both Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and Chubu Electric Power Co.
The industry has high hopes that mixing ammonia, which does not emit carbon dioxide when burned, into its fuel will make leaps and bounds in curbing plant emissions.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Lendlease has capitalised on strong demand for more affordable housing in Sydney’s west after selling out its entire $100 million first stage of turnkey homes at its new estate in Werrington in just a couple of weeks.
The first stage of the development and construction giant’s $300 million Kings Central project offered 122 three-bedroom homes starting under $700,000, with most four-bedroom homes under $900,000, well below Sydney’s median house price of $1.15 million.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., a pioneer in transporting liquified natural gas (LNG), has now developed the world’s first tanker for liquified hydrogen.
The new technology, along with tanks the company developed to store liquified hydrogen as rocket fuel, is expected to be used for the government’s goal of having hydrogen and ammonia serve as the fuel for 10 percent of electric power generation by 2050. It is part of Japan’s overall target of achieving net zero emissions of greenhouse gases in that year.
The first liquified hydrogen tanker, Suiso (hydrogen) Frontier, constructed in Kobe was shown to media representatives on May 24. The tanker is 116 meters long and can transport 75 tons of liquified hydrogen kept at temperatures of minus 253 degrees.
The hydrogen will be liquified after lignite mined in Australia is steamed. Although that process emits carbon dioxide, the plan is to trap that gas deep underground to keep emissions at virtually zero.
Plans have also been hatched to use renewable energy sources to create hydrogen by breaking down water.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, a group of Osaka University researchers has developed a novel design for daylight window panes inspired by the structure of the Morpho butterfly wings that shine in a brilliant blue.
The pane design is expected to help save energy by allowing a room interior to be brightened during the day with natural light alone without turning on artificial illumination.
“It would never be easy to directly process glass panes according to our design, but you could still allow your room to be brightened up easily, and at low cost, by applying, for example, processed films on your window panes,” said Akira Saito, an associate professor of precision engineering with Osaka University.
The researchers drew inspiration from the mechanism by which Morpho butterflies develop their wing colors, which some describe as the most beautiful in the world.
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.
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