Last Update: Jan 25, 2010
Panasonic continues to develop technologies and products aimed at a singular goal: by the year 201X, achieving virtually zero CO2 emissions in an entire house. Examples of these developments were unveiled at the Panasonic booth during Eco-Products 2009, one of Japan's largest environmental exhibitions, held December 10 to December 12.
Here we discuss some of the key eco products and technologies that only Panasonic could offer, under the three key initiatives: ‘eco ideas’ for Products, ‘eco ideas’ for Manufacturing, and ‘eco ideas’ for Everyone, Everywhere.
Panasonic is always seeking to create new ‘eco ideas’ for Products in order to develop products with superior energy-saving features, spread them throughout the society, and reduce CO2 emissions in a household sector.
At Eco-Products 2009, we introduced Panasonic ECO NAVI home appliances, which strongly help achieve our goal. Our advanced sensor technologies allow them to sense and analyze energy use, then customize home appliance operation to family's lifestyle. In particular, the technologies improve a way of operation which previously resulted in generating some waste energy even after those products are equipped with energy-saving functions. And by reducing an amount of energy consumption, ECO NAVI products lower an amount of CO2 emissions.
ECO NAVI home appliances use sensor and control technologies to minimize energy consumption, based on a family's lifestyle.
For example, a door opening sensor and lighting sensor let the refrigerator "learn" the time periods when the family typically doesn't use — such as when they're sleeping or away from home. The refrigerator adjusts operation accordingly, reducing waste energy. Likewise, our intelligent washing machine determines how large and how dirty a load of laundry is, and adjusts operation to save time, energy and water.
Under a concept that electricity used at home should be created at home, Panasonic has been developing new systems that will let consumers create and store their own electricity.
Examples of energy-creating technologies include solar power generating systems and household fuel cells. As its name suggests, a solar power generating system creates electricity from sunlight. This kind of power generation does not emit CO2 in the power-generating process. When the system generates more electricity than the home needs, the excess can be sold back to the utility company.
Household fuel cells create electricity and heat through a chemical reaction process that uses hydrogen derived from city gas and oxygen in the air. The heat can be used to produce hot water, which can be stored in a tank and used when in need. In June 2008, Panasonic set up a fuel cell production facility at the Home Appliance Company's Kusatsu Factory in Shiga Prefecture located in the western part of Japan. In 2009, the Household Fuel Cell named as “ENE-FARM” was launched onto the market, giving consumers a new way to create their own energy at home.
Household lithium-ion storage batteries provide an efficient way to store electricity created at home. When you create more electricity than you need, the excess energy can be stored in the lithium-ion batteries and used later, such as during peak morning and evening hours when a sufficient amount of energy cannot be created to meet demand.
This is a reference exhibit of the household lithium-ion storage battery at Eco-Products 2009. Being extremely safe and reliable, this type of battery module is also used to power Panasonic's TOUGHBOOK notebook PC.
Some 140 lithium-ion batteries (one of which is the white battery seen here, in the bottom right corner of the glass case) are combined to create a single lithium-ion battery module. Six of these modules are connected to form a household lithium-ion storage battery.
More modules can be added, and they can be aligned in parallel or in series, to meet a wide range of applications. For example, modules can be configured to power electric vehicles or industrial vehicles.
Following the concepts of “Create Energy” and “Store Energy” is “Manage Energy.” Energy created and stored in the home can be managed by the Home Energy Management System (HEMS) that connects and controls a variety of household devices. By linking these devices and making it easy to see their operating conditions, HEMS lets you adjust operation to maximize energy savings.
One key to making further progress in HEMS is developing an effective AC/DC Hybrid Power Distribution System. Built around a power distribution panel that can efficiently handle both AC and DC power, this type of system can meet the entire home's energy needs.
Electricity comes in two forms: alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC). Electric utility companies have chosen to supply homes with AC electricity because it is safer and cheaper to send over long distances. As AC is supplied to the home, TVs, air conditioners, refrigerators and most other home appliances are typically designed to run on AC power.
On the other hand, solar generators, fuel cells and other upcoming energy-generating devices, as well as storage batteries, output DC power. This has to be converted to AC before it can be used in many devices — and energy is lost in the conversion process.
To solve this problem, Panasonic has developed the AC/DC Hybrid Power Distribution System. This eco-conscious system makes it possible for a variety of home appliances to run directly on DC electricity, without conversion to AC.
In Japan, government and industry are together undertaking full-scale exploration of the supply and use of various types of power. In addition to a pilot project by the Ministry of the Environment, an organization called NEDO (the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) began verification tests in June 2009 under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan. Panasonic is energetically involved in these activities, playing a key role in both technical development and verification testing.
When dealing with DC power, safety is a vital consideration. Panasonic's plans are to first develop DC power systems for relatively low-voltage products, such as ventilation fans, LED lighting and fire alarms. Later, the company will begin to provide DC power systems for products that currently use AC power, and will also introduce an AC/DC-compatible multimedia power outlet for the home.
As we publicly announced, Panasonic made it a goal to reduce annual CO2 emissions from production activiti
es by 300,000 tons over the 3-year period leading up to fiscal 2010. The company has undertaken a wide variety of activities all around the world to meet this goal. The following case examples were introduced at Eco-Products 2009.
Panasonic has installed simple, compact power meters on each piece of equipment in factories and offices of all its production facilities around the world. The meters measure an amount of power consumption, making it easy for employees to see just how much energy is being consumed in their operations. The results are fed into computers and output as graphs, so data such as instantaneous power consumption, integrated power consumption, electrical costs, and CO2 emissions can be visualized.
The company's goal was to reduce, by fiscal 2010, annual CO2 emissions at our global production bases by some 300,000 tons compared to fiscal 2007 level. Panasonic people all around the world pulled together and set to work. The results speak loudly about their efforts: By fiscal 2009, CO2 emissions had been reduced by around 500,000 tons, far surpassing our goal one year earlier than the target.
A thermoelectric generator recycles low-temperature exhaust heat from factories, and converts it into electrical energy. The system can utilize relatively low-temperature exhaust heat.
Here we present our CRT recycling and glass re-processing technologies, which were developed and are now in use at our recycling facility, Panasonic Eco Technology Center. When disassembling CRT TVs and removing the panel glass and funnel glass, use of a laser gun makes it possible to achieve 99.9% purity in the materials removed, making them highly suitable for re-use or recycling. It handles almost three times as many TVs per hour as conventional methods that involve heating up the TVs and distorting the glass.
Together with families, friends and local communities, employees from Panasonic Group companies around the world are taking part in activities such as promoting environmental education, clean-up activities, and tree planting. The Panasonic Eco Relay serving to connect people around the world with environmental activities not only helps improve local environments and conserves energy and resources, but also raises environmental awareness of employees and local communities.
Panasonic will continue its long-standing commitment to living in harmony with the global environment.
At Eco-Products 2009, the Panasonic booth conducted tours that gave visitors an opportunity to see our vision of the "virtually zero CO2 emissions" home. People who took the tour saw Panasonic's ‘eco ideas’ at work and gained a deeper understanding of what we're trying to achieve. We also called on eco activity experts and writers to visit our booth, and we asked everyone what kind of eco lifestyles they wanted to have by 201X.
"I'd love to live in a zero-carbon house! Although we need to change the current social infrastructure, I'm really glad that Panasonic is leading the way. I think the key to success is being able to supply products and services that are truly inexpensive and simple. Nobody wants those which are expensive and inconvenient."
(Ms. Mika Karashima/ Project Manager of British Council Science and Environment)
"Panasonic has a huge customer base, so it's able to put a large amount of customer data into a network that shows the size of their collective energy-saving achievements. This provides a lot of incentive, because each person can feel like he or she is part of a team that's working to achieve a goal!"
(Ms. Madoka Kitahara/Environmental Writer)
http://tecology.blog73.fc2.com/blog-entry-303.html (in Japanese)
"In an ideal lifestyle, I'd buy food produced near where I would be living, and cut back on my consumption of electricity, oil, gas, and water, although I'm trying to gradually put these into practice even now. I want to raise a small garden on my balcony, and lease and use some local land for gardening. When I buy food, I try to buy it from local sources. And I don't use many instant food products. I also try not to pollute the drain water when preparing and cleaning up after meals."
(Ms. Yuko Kishigami/Environmental Journalist)
Here are some other blogs from people who participated in the event:
So, what were your impressions? In respect to global warming prevention, Panasonic will continue to expand its focus — from homes, to communities, and eventually to all areas of society. With products, services and technologies that are entirely unique to Panasonic, we will contribute to enriching people’s lives in a sustainable way. We hope you'll keep track of our progress.
The “ecoideasnet” is an international meeting place where people from all over the world can get together, promoted under ‘eco ideas’ for Everybody, Everywhere initiative.
- 1)Videos of unique eco activities from around the globe
- — the eco Lifestyle Blog
- Take a few minutes to enjoy videos and photos of unique and meaningful eco activities taking place around the globe.
- 2)If we all pull together, small changes in your daily life can create big changes in the world we live in
- — eco+you
- eco+you is a place where you can record your eco-friendly activities and see the results. Record your own everyday eco activities, and the site will automatically calculate how much CO2 emissions were reduced as a result.
- 3)Find out about Panasonic's eco activities
- — Panasonic ecoUpdate
- This section will keep you up to date on the everyday eco-friendly activities Panasonic companies are undertaking all around the globe.
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