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Energy Analysis Division

Research Overview

 

●  GOALS

The Energy Analysis Division (EAD) plays several vital roles within I2CNER. The EAD tracks and analyzes current and future energy technologies, including those being researched in I2CNER, on the basis of CO2 emissions, energy efficiency, and cost. It continuously reviews and revises the Institute’s vision and roadmap toward a carbon-neutral society (CNS), which the EAD originally developed. These efforts help ensure that the I2CNER research efforts have the potential to make a significant impact on reducing CO2 emissions in Japan and globally. In close collaboration with the technical teams, the I2CNER EAD is generating scenarios utilizing the most promising new energy technology options which have the potential for a 70-80% reduction of CO2 emissions from their 1990 level by 2050 in Japan. I2CNER’s research efforts are intimately tied to these scenarios because the short-, mid-, and long-term milestones of each of our research project roadmaps are established in consideration of the development and deployment timing of the various promising technology options in the scenarios. These scenarios and the I2CNER division roadmaps, which are continuously evaluated and updated as I2CNER and global energy research progress, help ensure the relevance of I2CNER’s research to a CNS.

In addition to these efforts, the EAD will be analyzing other key hurdles or opportunities to achieve a CNS in Japan. Such analyses could include the electricity infrastructure under operation with variable renewable based power production and new energy storage technology; infrastructure deployment for the production and delivery of hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles and other potential hydrogen applications; and the import of renewable based fuels.

 

 

●  RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS

The EAD made significant progress this year in three areas:

  • Initial study of technology options for a low carbon energy infrastructure for Japan in 2050.
    This is leading to a Vision for Japan’s energy future.
  • Improvements and use of the model for energy technology systems for quantification of the
  • potential GHG and energy use reductions in Japan through the use of new low carbon energy
  • technologies.
  • An initial roadmap of I2CNER’s research projects including timelines with milestones as well as
  • support to the research divisions to help establish clear objectives and targets.

 

Technology Options for a Low Carbon and Carbon-neutral Energy Society in Japan

The initial study of potential low carbon energy futures for Japan began with examining the current technologies, energy demand and supply, and carbon dioxide emissions associated with each of the major energy consuming sectors. The energy use in 2050 was then projected based on government projections for population and GDP growth. Then each sector was examined relative to the potential use of low carbon emission and more energy efficient technologies. The present perceptions from this initial work can be summarized as follows:

  • ● Energy efficiency improvements on the demand side such as in manufacturing processes, appliances, lighter vehicles, lighting, insulation, a smart grid, and elsewhere can be significant in reducing carbon emissions.
  • Electricity generation accounts for 46% of carbon dioxide emissions in Japan and should be a key focus for
  • low carbon emission technologies. The future use of renewable energy resources in Japan (hydroelectric,
  • wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass) and nuclear energy could be significant. The use of fossil fuels
  • in combination with advanced more energy efficient technologies and carbon capture and sequestration
  • (CCS) can also be an important part of the path to low carbon emission power production.
  • Such use of fossil fuels that also permits adjustable power output along with electricity storage
  • would enable use of significant amounts of intermittent wind and solar energy.
  • The I2CNER research on organic solar cells, hydrogen production, large-scale solid oxide fuel cells,
  • and CCS can be key enablers for this sector to achieve low carbon emissions.
  • The industry sector (excluding electricity use) accounts for 23% of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • It is the need for heat that drives these carbon emissions in this sector. New chemistry technology
  • such as that being researched in the I2CNER material transformation division and other process
  • technology developments could reduce the energy requirements. Some of the same advanced
  • more energy efficient fossil fuel based energy technology and CCS being developed for electricity
  • production could also enable low carbon emission heat for the industrial sector.
  • The transportation sector accounts for 21% of carbon dioxide emissions and should also be an
  • important focus for low carbon emissions. There are a number of attractive low carbon technologies
  • being developed and improved for transportation. These are focused on vehicle transportation which
  • account for the vast majority of the carbon emissions. The most promising new vehicle technologies are
  • hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), battery electric vehicles (BEV),
  • and fuel cell vehicles (FCV). The HEV could have very low carbon emissions if it used biofuel.
  • PHEV and BEV technology requires an electricity grid with very low carbon emissions to be really
  • attractive. There are some concerns with BEV technology relative to vehicle range, battery performance
  • and cost. The FCV would be an excellent choice as long as there are sufficient resources for low carbon
  • emission production of hydrogen and refueling infrastructure issues during the transition are addressed.
  • I2CNER research on polymer electrolyte fuel cells and low carbon hydrogen production technologies
  • can play important roles for low carbon emission vehicles.
  • Biofuels could play a very significant role for a low carbon energy future for Japan.
  • They can replace fossil fuels in both current and advanced more efficient energy technologies.
  • While Japan does not appear to have significant biomass resources, importing biofuels can be a
  • topic to be examined.

NOTE: It should be noted that the reported CO2 emission shares by sector are calculated based on direct emission statistics. The corresponding emission shares based on statistics of indirect emission are 11% for electricity generation, 37% for industry, 22% for transportation, 16% for residential and 13% for commercial sectors.

 

There are many possible low carbon emission energy futures for Japan. The exact mix of technologies and fuels will depend greatly on the ultimate cost and performance achieved by the promising technologies being researched, the renewable and CCS resource capacity that can be tapped by Japan, and the social acceptance of technology options.

  


●  ROADMAP

After interviews with researchers in every research divisions in I2CNER, the EAD has come up with an initial vision and roadmap as illustrated below. Draft timelines with key targets and milestones have also been generated with each I2CNER research division and appear in their individual sections of this annual report.

 

A Carbon Neutral Energy Vision for Japan

(Parameter Space of Technology Options)

 

●  FUTURE DIRECTIONS

  • ●   Continue to work with the research divisions to help ensure their projects are relevant to a low carbon emission energy infrastructure for Japan’s future and that they have appropriate performance and economic targets. This will include system modeling and analysis as appropriate.
  • ●   Analyzing and modeling I2CNER technologies so as to incorporate them into the present model framework together with competing technologies.
  • ●   Quantifying the potential contribution of I2CNER technologies to reduce carbon emissions and energy use in Japan by using the energy technologies systems model and other analytical tools that will be developed by the EAD.
  • ●   Develop an I2CNER Vision for a low carbon emission energy infrastructure for Japan through the use of the of the technology options study, ETSS model potential scenarios, and other information and tools.
  • ●   Define one or more national security metrics and incorporate them into EAD analyses.
  • ●   Development of a computer based database system that will include the data required to quantify the cost, energy use, and GHG emissions for the current energy pathways in use in Japan. Extend this to include I2CNER and other energy technologies being researched and developed.
  • ●   Analyze and model the potential energy pathways that could utilize the I2CNER research efforts, stressing analysis on vehicle system.
  • ●   Conduct social science research to assess the social acceptability in Japan of key technologies and pathways that can reduce carbon emissions and characterize social aspects of these technologies. This can help inform the public and increase public awareness of these new technologies.
  • ●   Study of the penetration process of energy technologies based on social choice theory.

 

 

 

Research Papers

Principal Investigators

Under construction

Researchers

  • Kenshi Itaoka (Acting Division Leader)
    International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I²CNER), Kyushu University
  • James Stubbins
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (US)
    http://npre.illinois.edu/directory/faculty/jstubbin
  • Atsushi Kurosawa (WPI Visiting Professor)
  • Yasumasa Fujii (WPI Visiting Professor)
  • Katsuhiko Hirose (WPI Visiting Professor)
  • Kuniaki Honda (WPI Visiting Professor)
  • Seiichiro Kimura
  • Jack Brouwer (WPI Visiting Professor)
  • Makoto Akai (WPI Visiting Professor)
  • Nugroho Agung Pambudi
    International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I²CNER), Kyushu University
  • Andrew Chapman
    International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I²CNER), Kyushu University
    http://www.andrewchapman.net
  • Nguyen Dinh Hoa
    International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I²CNER), Kyushu University
    https://sites.google.com/site/dinhhoanguyensite/

Research Support Staff

  • Motoko Yanagi
    International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I²CNER), Kyushu University
  • Natsuki Yamakawa
    International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I²CNER), Kyushu University

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