2015 VOL.70 NO.5

  Special Reports

Environmentally Conscious Technologies for Social Infrastructure Systems

Aiming at Realization of Sustainable Society
KAZAO Yukihiko

Trends in Environmentally Conscious Technologies Supporting Social Infrastructure Systems and Toshiba's Approach
TOYOHARA Masumitsu
Economic development has a major impact on the global environment, including air pollution as one of the causes of global warming, the depletion of water and other natural resources, and the contamination of soil and water by chemical substances in various parts of the world.
Toshiba is engaged in the development of the following advanced technologies to offer environmentally conscious products and solutions in its social infrastructure business: (1) technologies to improve the efficiency of thermal power generation systems, technologies for carbon capture and utilization (CCU), and technologies for various non-fossil-fuel type power generation systems; (2) technologies that contribute to resource conservation through the development of advanced motors without magnets and technologies to recover valuable elements from spent magnets; and (3) technologies for effective use of water and environmental remediation of contaminated soil. Based on these core technologies, we are continuing our efforts to deliver a broad range of environmentally conscious products and solutions for social infrastructure systems.

High-Efficiency Hydrogen-Based Electric Power Storage System
Toshiba has been making continuous efforts to realize a sustainable, safe, secure, and comfortable society applying renewable energy sources by proposing optimal solutions using hydrogen as an energy storage medium.
As part of these efforts, we have been developing a hydrogen-based electric power storage system incorporating functions to compensate for power fluctuations and store surplus power resulting from the use of renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic and wind power systems, as well as a self-contained emergency power supply function using renewable energy sources and hydrogen at the time of a disaster. In order to further improve the efficiency of the system, we are also promoting the development of hydrogen production technologies including a technology for solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOECs) with high performance and long operating life, and a cell stack technology to increase the capacity of SOECs.

Environmentally Conscious Technologies for Carbon Capture and Utilization Systems
FUJITA Koshito / MURAOKA Daigo / SAITO Satoshi
The construction of thermal power plants is expected to further expand throughout the world in line with the global trend of growth in electric power demand. There is consequently an increasing need for new technologies that can reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the flue gas of thermal power plants, including carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Toshiba has been focusing on reducing the energy consumed by CO2 capture systems and has demonstrated the world's highest class performance. With the aim of facilitating further environmental harmony by reducing the environmental load, we have also been engaged in the development of a technology to suppress atmospheric emissions of amines used in CO2 absorption solvents. In addition, we have been promoting the effective utilization of captured CO2 in the emerging field of carbon capture and utilization (CCU).

Gas Turbine Combustor for Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Cycle
IWAI Yasunori / ITOH Masao
In line with the strong need for reduced emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the main causes of global warming, various countermeasures against CO2 emissions from thermal power plants have been introduced worldwide including enhancement of power generation efficiency and separation of CO2 from boiler flue gas.
As a solution to this issue, Toshiba has been developing a novel combustor and turbine for the Allam Cycle, a new supercritical CO2 power cycle developed by 8 Rivers Capital, LLC to capture 100% of atmospheric emissions including all CO2 while achieving high thermodynamic efficiency and low capital costs, in cooperation with four U.S. companies: 8 Rivers Capital; NET Power, LLC; Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I); and Exelon Corporation. In the development of a 25 MW-class pilot plant, which is scheduled to commence operation in 2016, Toshiba has developed the world's first gas turbine combustor for a supercritical CO2 system, with an inlet pressure of about 30 MPa and an exit temperature of 1,150°C, and has been successfully conducting repeated oxy-fuel combustion tests in order to confirm its operating conditions.

High-Efficiency Synchronous Reluctance Motor
Enhancement of the efficiency of industrial motors is highly desirable as a measure for the prevention of global warming. The synchronous reluctance motor (SynRM), which does not require a permanent magnet as an excitation element, is now attracting attention due to its potential to realize high efficiency and resource conservation. However, its low power factor and utilization of exclusively reluctance torque lead to increases in both the motor size and inverter capacity.
Toshiba has now developed a SynRM utilizing technologies related to magnetic circuits, structural design, and motor control acquired through its experience in the development of industrial motors. Experiments on a prototype of this SynRM have verified that its efficiency is approximately 96%, about 3% higher than that of conventional induction motors, while its power factor is equivalent to that of conventional induction motors.

Recycling Technologies for Rare-Earth Magnet Materials in Industrial Motors
Rare-earth (RE) magnet materials such as neodymium (Nd) are widely used in motors of home appliances, electric vehicles, and industrial equipment, and are contributing to advancements in the performance and sophistication of these products. However, serious issues exist in terms of supply risk due to the uneven distribution of RE materials and the environmental destruction that accompanies the mining and refining processes.
In order to rectify this situation, Toshiba has developed recycling technologies for RE magnet materials in industrial motors by making full use of both mechatronics and nuclear fuel reprocessing technologies, thereby achieving low-cost recycling without the generation of waste liquid. Through the application of our proprietary motor disassembly and RE materials separation and refining technologies to demonstration tests using a traction machine for elevators, we have confirmed that 99% or more of RE magnet materials can be recycled.

Plant Operation Technologies for Water Supply and Sewerage Facilities to Promote Environmental Protection and Effective Utilization of Water Resources
The reduction of environmental loads generated in water treatment and reclamation processes and the use of energy-saving techniques as a measure against global warming are crucial requirements for the day-to-day operations of water supply and sewerage facilities. Particularly in Japan, attention has been increasingly focused on achieving low-cost, highly efficient operations due to the shortage of skilled operators in this field and the need for fiscal austerity.
To resolve these issues, Toshiba has been developing plant operation technologies that contribute to the effective utilization of water resources. These include a coagulant dosage control technology using image data to achieve a balance between reducing chemical costs and decreasing the generation of waste sludge, and an aeration flow rate control technology using plant monitoring sensor data to achieve a balance between improving effluent water quality and reducing power costs.

Soil Remediation Technologies for Removal, Decomposition, and Confinement of Contaminated Materials
SASOH Michitaka / KANEKO Masaaki / TAKEUCHI Tsutomu
The effects of various chemical substances on the Earth's environment have become a critical issue in recent years, giving rise to a strong need for technologies to restore contaminated sites.
Toshiba is promoting the development of soil remediation technologies for the removal, decomposition, and confinement of contaminated materials, taking advantage of its radioactive waste disposal technologies cultivated through its experience in the nuclear field. These include (1) SARRY-SoilTM, a technology using an oxalic acid solution to remove radioactive cesium (Cs) from soil, whose effectiveness in offsite decontamination work has been verified through the treatment of soil contaminated as a result of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station; (2) a technology to decompose volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in contaminated soil and groundwater using a persulfate compound and an iron-based catalyst, which makes it possible to perform processing within a short time; and (3) a technology using magnesium oxide minerals as insolubilizing agents to confine fluoride and arsenic in widely contaminated soil so that they are not eluted into groundwater.


  Feature Articles

SmartBAN Standardization Activities toward Realization of Highly Reliable Body Area Network for Medical Applications
MATSUO Ryoko / NABETANI Toshihisa / Woon Hau CHIN
Reflecting the rising awareness of health, technologies to monitor people's living conditions and health status through multifunctional wearable devices have been attracting attention in recent years. In order to fulfill such requirements, a total solution is required that facilitates the collection, management, and maintenance of the measured data via a wireless network. The wireless communication system conventionally used for wearable devices is based on one-to-one communication, such as the Bluetooth(†) system. However, the introduction of a body area network (BAN) is essential for the capture and collection of medical data with higher reliability using multiple sensors in settings such as hospitals.
Toshiba has been developing highly reliable BAN technologies, including a technology for low-latency transmission of an emergency signal for medical use cases, and has been actively participating in standardization activities for medical applications in the Technical Committee on SmartBAN (TC SmartBAN) of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). As a result, the ETSI decided to publish the SmartBAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) standards based on our proposed schemes in December 2014.

Clothes Image Synthesis Technologies for Virtual Fitting System Using Body Shape Estimation
SEKINE Masahiro / SUGITA Kaoru / Frank PERBET
Toshiba has been developing a virtual fitting system that provides users with a virtual experience of trial fitting of clothes, by synthesizing images of the clothes on whole-body images of the user to simulate the wearing of those clothes. In order to enhance the reality of the experience in such virtual fitting systems, it is necessary to accurately transform the images of the clothes on the monitor display according to the body shape of each user.
We developed two technologies to address this issue: a technology that automatically estimates the user's body shape in approximately one second based on distance data captured by a depth sensor, and a technology that determines the size and position of the clothes images based on the estimated body shape and shoulder line. Our newly developed virtual fitting system incorporating these technologies realizes accurate synthesis of fitting images, thereby offering enhanced practical applicability.

Technology to Predict Optical Absorption Spectra of Phosphors Utilizing Ab Initio Electronic Structure Calculation
AIGA Fumihiko / HIRAMATSU Ryosuke / ISHIDA Kunio
Most white light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are composed of a blue LED and phosphors that perform color conversion. The optical wavelength conversion process in the phosphors consists of the following three subprocesses: (1) absorption of light, (2) relaxation of the electronic state, and (3) emission of light. In order to obtain highly luminescent phosphors, it is necessary to enhance the efficiency of each subprocess.
To facilitate the development of highly efficient phosphors, Toshiba has developed a technology to predict the optical absorption spectra of phosphors in subprocess (1) utilizing ab initio electronic structure calculation taking into consideration the electron correlation and spin-orbit couplings. Through the application of this technology to divalent-europium (Eu2+)-doped calcium fluoride (CaF2) crystal, we have confirmed that the calculated absorption spectra of Eu2+-doped CaF2 are in relatively good agreement with the experimental trends.

"type2 light" Industrial Controller Offering Inheritability and Scalability
HIROTA Tatsuo / MOMOTAKE Hiroyuki / KAWAKUBO Shigeki
Toshiba has released the "type2 light" small- to medium-scale industrial controller, which is applicable to plants in the field of general industrial and social infrastructure, as a new addition to the Unified Controller nv series lineup.
We have developed a collective arrangement of controller functions in a large-scale integration (LSI) to achieve more compact dimensions, and ensured system reliability through the utilization of existing intellectual property (IP) cores and the adoption of an optimal structure based on the results of thermal analysis to suppress the temperature of parts subjected to heating. By using the TC-net input/output (I/O) subsystem of the Unified Controller nv series, the type2 light controller offers high scalability to the latest fieldbus systems such as the PROFIBUS system, as well as inheritability to easily realize operation in a common system configuration with existing I/O subsystems, such as the CIEMAC-DS series and the integrated controller V series, in the case of updating controllers.

dynabook R82 2-in-1 Detachable UltrabookTM PC for Business Use
Toshiba has developed the dynabook R82 2-in-1 detachable UltrabookTM PC, which has the functions of both a clamshell type UltrabookTM PC and a tablet, incorporating its proprietary thin and light product design technologies for notebook PCs. In addition to our thin and light technologies and fanless design applied to the tablet mode, lift-up hinge, dual button, and tablet attaching/detaching structures are applied to the notebook mode. Furthermore, the dynabook R82 features a security structure and technology to improve printed circuit board (PCB) reliability as technologies to support the durability and reliability of the system.
As a result of these technologies, the dynabook R82 realizes a thin profile, light weight, and high functionality.


  Frontiers of  Research & Development

Seamless Tiling Technologies for Realization of 100-Inch-Class Ultra-High Definition Displays at Low Cost

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