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Environmental Management
Sustainability Report 2007
2.Products, Technologies and Services to Benefit the Environment
We have begun supplying environment-friendly products and materials that are based on a mix of our production technologies, engineering technologies, systems and know-how. We will also continue to supply equipment, plant and services in such fields as efficient energy use, wastes recycling, utilization of unused resources, and environment restoration.
Eco materials
KENIFINE, a High-Grade Antibacterial Metal Coating is Used for Air Purification Equipment at Hospitals
In 2001 Kobe Steel marketed a specialized nickel-alloy plating with antibacterial and antifungal properties called KENIFINE that the company had developed. This material has found an ever-widening range of applications, from the food processing and building industries, to helping stop the spread of infections in hospitals and welfare facilities, and coating tanks used in air purification systems in smoking rooms in office buildings.

The antibacterial coating reduces the time required to kill germs to one-tenth what it was before. An air purification equipment manufacturer in Sapporo is applying it to all tank surfaces, which cuts the cost of routine cleaning by 30%. Demand for this material has been growing as consumers become more hygiene-conscious.

Ultrafine water cluster generator of KENIFINE-coated air purification system
Practical Application of Wire-Drawing Technology for Continuous KENIFINE Processing
Shinko Wire Co., Ltd, together with its subsidiary Shinko Wire Stainless Co., Ltd., has developed for commercial purposes a wire-drawing technology that enables the continuous KENIFINE processing of stainless steel wire rod. When wire rod is coated with KENIFINE on a continuous plating line under certain conditions, it can undergo a reduction rate of 80% to 90% without the coating coming off or losing its antibacterial properties. Springs and filters made of stainless steel wire can now be given antibacterial properties for a marginal increase in cost. As the coating is hard and durable it can withstand press forming, and it is hoped that further development of this technology will allow the continuous plating of sheet material. 「KENIFINE」加工をしたフィルター
Filters with KENIFINE coating
Lightweight Wire Rod for Valve Springs Increases Fuel Economy
Kobe Steel has developed an ultra high strength wire rod for valve springs. These springs control the action of valves governing air intake and emission in engines. After the addition of appropriate quantities of alloy elements such as silicon and chrome, we apply an advanced technology that reduces inclusions that cause springs to fracture.

As valve springs are fitted to the tops of engine cylinders and affect engine action, the use of this material boosts engine revolutions and output. Also, springs can be made 10% lighter and fuel efficiency increased by 1% to 2%, in comparison to conventional wire rod with the same strength specifications.

Kobe Steel started supplying spring manufacturers with this material in 2006 and plans to increase production quantity in the future.
Saving Energy
Ultra High-Efficiency Heat Pump Boasts Industry's Highest Energy Efficiency
In May 2006 Kobe Steel announced the development, in collaboration with Chubu, Tokyo and Kansai electric power companies, of an ultra high-efficiency heat pump chiller (HEHP) that has three times the energy efficiency of conventional equipment. This air-cooled heat pump chiller produces chilled or hot water for the cooling and heating of commercial buildings and factories. It is fitted with a heat exchanger that releases waste heat into the atmosphere. Water-cooled equipment exclusively for air conditioning and air-cooled equipment for both cooling and heating are available, but recently there have been increased demands for high-efficiency air-cooled equipment that can be applied to both heating and cooling.

The high-efficiency heat pump chiller is for both heating and cooling. It uses technology developed in 2003 for the "High Efficiency Mini," a water-cooled system exclusively for cooling. The performance of the UHE heat pump chiller 's air-cooled heat exchanger has been enhanced with such components as a newly developed high-efficiency fan and, its heat exchange efficiency is further boosted by spraying it with water. Due to the equipment's low fuel consumption, running costs can be cut by 39% and CO2 emissions by about 23%. It was launched in October 2006.
Main Features
Running costs cut by 39%
CO2 emissions cut by 23%
Improved partial-load efficiency at times of low output
Multiple units can be linked up to meet many different air conditioning requirements

Ultra High-Efficiency Heat Pump Chiller
Ultra High-Efficiency Heat Pump Chiller
Comparison of external air temperature during cooling
Comparison of external air temperature during cooling
Comparison of partial-load performance during cooling
Comparison of partial-load performance during cooling
Comparison of CO2 emissions
Comparison of CO2
Based on one year's operation to air-condition an area of 7,500 m2 in a Tokyo office building.
CO2 emissions equivalent: electric power
0.372 kg-CO2/kWh

HEHP Wins Prize at Energy Saving Awards
The ultra high-efficiency air-cooled heap pump chiller, HEHP, was awarded the Energy Conservation Center, Japan (ECCJ) Chairman's Prize at the 2006 17th Energy Saving Awards sponsored by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. These awards are for equipment and systems that feature significant energy-saving designs. In 2006, 20 awards were made.

The HEHP equipment uses screw compressors to produce the chilled or hot water used to cool or warm commercial buildings or factories, and has a heat exchanger to release waste heat to the outside atmosphere. When cooling, this equipment achieves the highest coefficient of performance (COP) in the industry. It was also highly evaluated for energy-saving features such as cutting running costs by 39% through reduced power consumption and cutting CO2 emissions by 23%.

Coefficient of Performance: Heating/cooling capacity per unit of electricity consumption.
The higher the COP, the greater the energy saved.

Accepting the ECCJ Chairman’s Prize at the 17th Energy Saving Awards
Accepting the ECCJ Chairman's Prize at the 17th Energy Saving Awards
Market Launch of Self-Drive Beach Cleaner that Collects Tidal Debris and Refuse
EarthTechnica launched a self-drive beach cleaner in 2006 and is now marketing it actively. Requiring only a driver, this vehicle picks up refuse and tidal debris from the beach with rotating paddles. A multi-sieving process separates the trash from the sand. The trash is then held in a large capacity bucket to be loaded directly onto a truck.

This beach cleaner is ideal for collecting trash from beaches that attract tourists and are used for swimming. It even cleans up hard-to-handle cigarette ends. Many local governments have shown interest, and delivery has been made to such cities as Minami-Awaji in Hyogo prefecture, where the need to clear tidal debris has become an issue. This vehicle is expected to help with collection of tidal debris, beach clean-up and environmental conservation on the Japan Sea coast, where beach degradation has developed into a major problem.
Self-drive beach cleaner
Self-drive beach cleaner
Waste Glass Recycling System Turns Recycled Bottles into Decorative Glass Material
EarthTechnica has started marketing a waste glass recycling system. This equipment is designed for waste glass that is more difficult to recycle than clear or brown glass. It turns cullet, or broken glass, into glass beads that are made into a decorative material for gardening and similar uses. The equipment is manufactured under license by Toyo System Plant Co., Ltd. for sale to the waste glass recycling industry.

Glass bead manufacture
Glass bead manufacture
Bio-Natural Gas from Kobelco Eco-Solutions Wins 33rd Award
A method to refine methane gas generated during sewage treatment has won an award for Kobelco Eco-Solutions at the 33rd Environment Awards sponsored by the Hitachi Environment Foundation and the newspaper company Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun Ltd. These awards are made annually for surveys, research and technical developments that have major benefits for environmental conservation. It was one of four awards made in addition to the top prize, the Environment Minister's Award.

Kobelco Eco-Solutions receives award.
Kobelco Eco-Solutions receives award.

The method resulted from joint research between Kobe and the Public Works Research Institute during 2004 and 2005. Gas generated during sewage treatment is about 60% methane and 40% CO2. With this method the concentration of methane is boosted to about 98% and other impurities are removed, in a stable refining process that provides bio-natural gas of almost the same high quality as the natural gas currently used as fuel for city buses. This new gas is currently being used on a trial basis in city buses and other local government vehicles.

The CO2 emitted when this bio-natural gas is burnt as fuel is of a different type to that derived from oil and other fossil fuels, and it is not regarded as a greenhouse gas. It is hoped that bio-natural gas will find wide-ranging uses as a validated energy source that is kind to the environment.

Bio-natural gas demonstration plant
Bio-natural gas demonstration plant

Kobe city bus running on bio-natural gas
Kobe city bus running on bio-natural gas
Japan's First Plant for Recycling PVC by Solvent Separation Method Comes On Line
A subsidiary of Kobelco Eco-Solutions, Kobelco VinyLoop East Ltd., has built a plant in Chiba for recycling polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which began operating in April 2006. This is the first plant in Japan to use a solvent separation method for material recycling. The technology for the Vinyloop PVC recycling process was developed by the Belgian company Solvay. It separates out other substances from PVC waste matter, leaving vinyl chloride compound, the original material from which PVC products are made.

Initially it will recycle plastic sheeting used for agriculture and wire coating material, but in the future it is hoped to extend this to include PVC pipes and joints, tarpaulins, and wall coverings. The recycled PVC is sold to domestic manufacturers to be made into products.

This project has received "Eco-Town" subsidies from the Ministry of the Environment and Chiba Prefecture for its contribution to the building of a sustainable recycling-based society.

PVC recycling plant in Chiba
PVC recycling plant in Chiba
Lowering Environmental Impact
New Construction Machines are First to Meet Japan's Tier 3 Emission Standards
Kobelco Construction Machinery Co., Ltd. has completed full model changes for its off-road medium-sized hydraulic excavators and on-road wheeled excavators. The new models were put on the market in June 2006 as the first "compliant vehicles" in the construction machinery industry that meet Japan's emission standards.

The new SK200 and SK330 models are fitted with engines from Hino Motors, Ltd. that feature some of the lowest emission and fuel consumption rates of any in the world. The new hydraulic system, created using simulation technology, minimizes energy loss while boosting work volumes significantly (up to 27% higher than previous models, for SK330) and lowering fuel consumption (up to 20% lower than previous models, for SK200). Brand names have changed to reflect a new classification based on use instead of type of machine, with machines for general civil engineering called ACERA GEOSPEC, and specialized machines with specifications for tasks such as building demolition or crushing called Dynaspec.

These were the first machines in Japan's construction industry to be accepted by the Ministry of the Environment as compliant with Japan's new emissions law for these types of vehicles.

ACERA GEOSPEC SK200 hydraulic excavator
ACERA GEOSPEC SK200 hydraulic excavator

The on-road wheeled excavator SK125W saw its first model change in nearly 10 years. Overall work performance has been upgraded by increasing bucket capacity and improving travel performance. Besides general civil engineering jobs, the SK125W can be used in a wide range of working environments for crushing, breaking, and vibrohammer jobs by switching attachments.

First in the construction machinery industry, this model has already gained designation from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport as compliant with the Road Trucking Vehicle Law and 2007 emissions standards (Tier 3 emission standards for on-road vehicles).
SK125W wheel hydraulic excavator)
SK125W wheel hydraulic excavator
New Crawler Cranes Comply with Latest Emission Standards
In November 2006 Kobelco Crane put on sale new crawler cranes compliant with the latest emission standards: five models of Mastertech Series F Version fully hydraulic crawler cranes, and two models of BM Series F Version crawler cranes for foundation and civil engineering work. All have a base machine that was developed on the basis of modules, to be able to adapt to varying regional circumstances around the world, and are fitted with engines compliant with the latest emission standards, to meet the environmental requirements of low emissions and low noise.
Mastertech 7090 F Version 90-ton crawler crane
Mastertech 7090 F Version 90-ton crawler crane
New Plant Will Manufacture Agent for PCB Disposal
Japan Environmental Safety Corporation (JESCO), an organization that handles the disposal of hazardous polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), is centrally involved in the construction of the Hokkaido PCB Waste Disposal Plant in Muroran, Hokkaido. Kobelco Eco-Solutions is constructing a separate plant in Muroran to manufacture the sodium dispersion agent required for decomposing and detoxifying PCBs. Construction commenced in July 2006, and the plant is due to start manufacturing in July 2007, with an expected annual capacity of approximately 1,700 metric tons.

Decomposing PCB
Recycling of Used Activated Carbon
An affiliate company of Kansai Coke and Chemicals Co., Ltd., KN Carbon Tech Co., Ltd., is manufacturing and selling activated carbon, and also recycling (by restoring performance) activated carbon used by customers. Activated carbon is an environmental product that can be re-used. After first usage, its absorptive capacity can be restored.

Since the Soil Contamination Countermeasure Law came into force in February 2003 cleaning of contaminated soil has been implemented in many locations.

Activated carbon is widely used for cleaning contaminated soils and is the ideal adsorbent for removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Activated carbon used for VOCs is usually disposed of as industrial waste.

KN Carbon Tech has gained authorization from Hyogo prefecture for a "Special Industrial Waste Disposal Activity" (recycling activated carbon). This method is offered to many customers as a recommended and acceptable processing method for used activated carbon that cuts the cost of disposing of industrial waste.

Recycling procedure for activated carbon
Renewable Energy, Using Waste Heat
Compact Version of Soyokaze-kun Wind Power Generator
Shinko Electric has developed a more compact type of wind power generator, with a lower price-tag, to add to its line-up of Soyokaze-kun small, vertical-shaft wind power generators. The main differences with other models are that the four rotating blades have been reduced to three, and dimensions of blade length, windmill diameter and windmill height are all greatly reduced. As with the other models, the windmill starts rotating under its own power with a slight breeze of about 1 meter per second, and begins to generate power when the breeze reaches 2 meters per second. It has a rated output of about 300W, and the generated electricity can be used as direct current of 12 volts, or optionally converted to 100 volts.

The Soyokaze-kun series was first launched in 2003, and models have been successfully installed at more than 600 locations in Japan and elsewhere. As concerns for the environment have grown, these generators are being used by ordinary households, schools and local governments. The wind generators also serve as a symbol for companies keen to promote environment-friendly management, and also to meet growing needs for more dispersed power generation. Development of this more compact version was initiated after many potential customers found the capital cost of the earlier models to be too high and requested a version at a more reasonable price. It was put on sale in April, 2007.
Compact Soyokaze-kun
Compact Soyokaze-kun
ThermoWay® Thermal Energy Transport System Helps Reduce CO2 Emissions
Kobe Steel and Kobelco Eco-Solutions have developed a technology to store heat energy in a high-efficiency thermal storage unit so that it can be transported to remote areas via truck. It makes use of low- to medium-temperature (below 200°C) waste heat from industrial plants or waste incinerators that has usually been released into the atmosphere because no effective use could be found for it. The equipment maintains hot water at above 90°C, a world first, and can be used not only for heating and hot water supply, but also as energy for cooling in combination with a commercial absorption-type refrigerator.

No pipelines or other infrastructure is needed, and it is hoped this effective way of utilizing thermal energy that helps reduce CO2 emissions to combat global warming can be used for heating, cooling and hot water supply for private housing and public facilities.

In July 2005 a small thermal storage unit of about 1 metric ton in weight was built, and it was successfully tested by transporting it a distance of about 5 km on public roads in Kobe before drawing from it water over 90°C. It was unveiled as a high-efficiency thermal energy transport system called ThermoWay®.

In December 2006 pilot tests were successfully carried out on a scaled-up model of 4 metric tons, the smallest viable size for production. In February 2007 this model was tested as before by being transported a distance of about 35 km on public roads, before water over 90°C was drawn from it.

For future practical application, we envisage single units of about 20 metric tons, which would be an appropriate size for transportation on public highways. Our goal is to commercialize this system in the second half of fiscal 2007. One such unit could potentially store 1.7 million kcal of thermal energy (equivalent to about 200 liters of kerosene), about enough to heat about 40 ordinary households for one day. For cooling, about 1.5 million kcal (that part above 90°C) of the thermal energy stored in a single unit could be used through a heat exchanger.

This technology results from joint research undertaken with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) during fiscal 2005 and 2006 in high efficiency biomass energy conversion.
Truck carrying thermal energy storage unit
Truck carrying thermal energy storage unit

Development of New Industrial Technologies
Large-Scale Demonstration Project for Upgraded Brown Coal (UBC)
Kobe Steel has initiated a large-scale demonstration project in Indonesia for the upgrading of brown coal and sub-bituminous coal (low-quality coal) that exist in quantity as an undeveloped resource in Indonesia, with the aim of utilizing it largely for power generation. Most of the coal currently used around the world is high-quality bituminous coal, but approximately half of global coal reserves are of low-quality coal. Low-quality coal has a high water content and is prone to spontaneous combustion, and so its use has been limited.

Since 1980 Kobe Steel has worked on technology development for liquefying brown coal, as part of a Japanese government national project. Applying water-extraction technology developed during this period, the UBC project utilizes ground-breaking technology to extract water from low-quality coal by using heated light oil, the same concept used in making tempura - deep-fried food. The calorific value of low-quality coal is raised to that of bituminous coal, and spontaneous combustion is suppressed, to make a clean energy source that generates little ash. The large-scale demonstration plant can process 600 metric tons a day. Construction started in May 2007 and it will be run on a test basis for 18 months beginning from autumn 2008, with the aim of starting commercial marketing in 2010. Kobe Steel is a participant in this Upgraded Brown Coal (UBC) Project, which has been implemented by the Japan Coal Energy Center (JCOAL) with support from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Small-scale pilot plant in Indonesia
Small-scale pilot plant in Indonesia

UBC briquettes
UBC briquettes

* The Tempura Principle
Upgraded brown coal (UBC) is made through the tempura method as follows:

Brown coal is pulverized to several millimeters in diameter and mixed with oil to make a slurry. The oil contains a small amount of asphalt mixed in it.
2. The slurry is heated and the water inside the coal evaporates. In its place, asphalt seeps into the coal. Powder materials are generally difficult to heat, but in this case oil is the medium for heat transfer, and it makes efficient heating possible.
3. The oil is separated. It separates easily from the coal because it is volatile. The oil can be recycled.
The upgraded coal in powder form is hardened into briquettes about half the size of chicken eggs.

Groundbreaking ceremony for large-scale demonstration plant in Kalimantan, Indonesia)
Groundbreaking ceremony for large-scale demonstration plant
in Kalimantan, Indonesia)
World's First HOTLINK® Direct Reduction Plant for Oman
Kobe Steel has been contracted to build a direct reduction plant with an annual production of 1.5 million metric tons for Shadeed Iron & Steel LLC of Oman, in an order worth about $220 million. A major feature of this plant will be an added energy-saving system for the natural-gas-based MIDREXR® Process.

Direct reduced iron is usually cooled and stored at normal temperature and fed into electric furnaces as needed. But in this case, a HOTLINKR® system will be employed, in which hot direct reduced iron is fed directly to an electric furnace by gravity - the world's first commercial application of this technology. In this way, electricity consumption of the furnace can be cut by about 25%, and the electrodes, a central component in the electric furnace, can be used for up to 25% longer. The plant, now under construction, is in the Sohar industrial complex and is planned to come on line in October 2008.

Artist's conception of HOTLINK direct reduction plant)
Artist's conception of HOTLINK direct reduction plant