Producing environmentally beneficial products in volume and pioneering environmental technology business
Efforts towards Accomplishing Carbon Recycling
In order to substantially reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) output resulting from the use of fossil fuels in accordance with the 2℃ scenario established in the 2016 Paris Agreement, we must pursue all technological options.
JGC is promoting proactive efforts in various fields of research and development to limit the CO2 output resulting from fossil fuel use and to sequester carbon or accomplish effective carbon recycling.
JGC Initiatives to Accomplish Carbon Recycling
Plastic Recycling Initiative
The world currently produces about 380 million tons of plastic products per year and the quantity produced continues to rise year after year along with the development of emerging countries.
However, the recycling rate of plastic products is limited to approximately 9% and unrecycled plastic is discarded as trash. This plastic waste has a harmful impact on marine life and the natural environment, and the problem grows worse each year.
JGC considers this a grave issue and is promoting the development of technology that can be used to recycle plastic. We are focused on activities for protecting the Earth's environment, such as the construction of power plants using waste that includes plastic or the development of technology for recycling discarded plastic through gasification.
Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) Technology
High-pressure Regenerative CO2 Capture (HiPACT®) Process
HiPACT® is a technology for absorbing and separating CO2 from natural and synthetic gases and capturing it at high pressure. With this technology, CO2 can be stored underground (CCS: Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage) at low cost, while dramatically reducing additional energy required for CCS, helping to prevent global warming. The process, which was developed jointly by JGC and BASF, was introduced at a natural gas plant owned by INPEX Corporation in 2010 to demonstrate its viability. Since January 2015, a Serbian oil company has operated a commercial gas processing and CCS facility with a CO2 recovery unit using the HiPACT® process.
Using Ammonia as a Hydrogen Energy Carrier
There are high expectations surrounding the use of hydrogen, which does not emit CO2 during combustion, in addressing energy diversification and a low-carbon society, both of which are global challenges. However, due to many issues regarding both cost and safety involved in transporting and storing gaseous hydrogen, it must be converted into an energy carrier such as ammonia, liquefied hydrogen, or organic hydride to facilitate use.
Ammonia generates power through direct combustion and emits no CO2during the process because of its hydrogen and nitrogen composition. Also, infrastructure related to the transportation and storage of ammonia already exists. For those reasons, we are focusing on ammonia as a hydrogen energy carrier and are working to develop related technologies.
Development of a new process for ammonia synthesis using hydrogen as a raw material
The current issue with ammonia synthesis is the large volume of CO2emissions from the process of producing hydrogen using natural gas as raw material.
In order to reduce the CO2 generated in conventional synthesis, the development of hydrogen production methods involving electrolysis of water using renewable energy has been anticipated. However, energy efficiency has remained an issue due to pressurization of hydrogen for conventional ammonia synthesis, which is a necessary process as synthesis using renewable energy generates hydrogen at low pressure. In response to this issue, the company has developed a new catalyst for ammonia synthesis using low pressure hydrogen, and constructed a demonstration plant for producing ammonia at lower temperatures and pressures than conventional methods, using this catalyst. Going forward, we aim to establish hydrogen power generation technologies using ammonia as a fuel, and to conduct research on the further development of these technologies aimed at commercialization.
Production of Microbead Alternatives
Recent years have seen the global emergence of problems with essentially non-biodegradable microbead pollution in the ocean. Cosmetics manufacturers are now using less of the plastic beads, spurred in part by an EU policy introduced in early 2019 to phase out this material as an additive in various products.
As an alternative to plastic microbeads on a scale of hundreds of microns, which are used in cosmetics such as foundation, lipstick, emulsion, and sunscreen as well as abrasive products including face scrubs and toothpaste, JGC Group develops and sells beads of silicon dioxide (silica), an abundant natural resource that makes up nearly 60% of the Earth's crust. Silica is a naturally circulating, sustainable mineral component. Hydrophilic silica dissolves in water and is incorporated into phytoplankton and other organisms.
Volume Production of High Thermal Conductivity Substrates for EV/HEV Power Semiconductors
Amid growing needs for energy-efficient electric and hybrid vehicles, highspeed railways, and industrial equipment supporting a low-carbon society, it is essential to improve the performance of power modules that control the power of various equipment. Semiconductor substrates in particular are central in power modules, and as vehicle performance has improved in recent years, needs have emerged to develop robust components that do not break even under large currents.
By employing silicon nitride, a highly heat-resistant compound used in applications such as ball bearings, JGC Group has succeeded in developing silicon nitride ceramics with the world's highest thermal conductivity. Substrates made with the material withstand current 10 times higher than usual, which in conjunction with structural refinements that dissipate heat well can improve motor operating efficiency. Slated for operation in 2020, a plant to produce silicon nitride ceramic substrates in volume is now under construction.