Message from the Group Leader

Group leader Shinichi Nakao

The impacts of climate change are being realized; average global temperatures have continued to increase and Arctic sea ice has continued to melt. Over recent years, I have thought more and more how urgent it is to help minimize these changes in the future.

The development of carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage (CCS) technology is essential to ameliorating the worst effects of climate change. CCS separates and collects the greenhouse gas CO2 from sources such as power stations or factories and stores it in underground reservoirs. According to the Japanese government's roadmap, commercial use of CCS is planned to start in 2020, which requires rapid development of the technology.

We, the Chemical Research Group at RITE, are a specialist research group who focus on the development of technologies that separate and recover CO2. To achieve this we have actively developed technologies such as solid adsorbents, chemical-liquid absorption systems and selectively permeable membranes. The technologies that we have developed have shown promise with regard to cost and energy requirements and have progressed to demonstration testing.

In addition to our work in CCS, we have begun research into developing technologies that do not emit CO2. The use of renewable power generation technology is spreading, but the variable nature of their energy supply creates problems regarding energy storage. One option to overcome these problems that is currently under investigation is a system to use renewable energy to create hydrogen from the electrolysis of water. The hydrogen produced can then be used as an energy carrier, allowing the energy to be transported via a hydrogen carrier, such as organic hydrides or ammonia, and stored until needed. When energy is demanded, hydrogen can be released from the carrier and used in a fuel cell for power generation. In this way it is possible to supply electricity in a way that can complement the variable supply of other renewable electricity generation technologies, such as solar-powered photovoltaic systems. A system of this design permits a stable power supply and a decrease in CO2 emissions simultaneously. Our work in the Chemical Research Group focuses on one of the major challenges that need to be overcome for such a system to become a reality: the development of a high-efficiency ceramic membrane reactor that simultaneously separates and purifies hydrogen released from the organic hydride storage. Through our work, the Chemical Research Group will continue to push research and development forward in the pursuit of creating a sustainable energy society in the future. To achieve this goal, we would appreciate everyone's cooperation and support.

Back to PageTop