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Environmental Contributions in the Fields of Materials, Machinery and Engineering

The Kobe Steel Group offers a variety of products and technologies that contribute to environmental conservation, including ones related to energy conservation and renewable energies.

Contributing to the environment through the pursuit of manufacturing is KOBELCO's mission.

HEET™, High Heat Transfer Titanium Sheet for Use in Heat Exchangers

Supplying High Heat Transfer Titanium Sheet for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Demonstration Trials

Water Recycling

OTEC power system
(photo courtesy of Okinawa Prefecture)

Kobe Steel developed a high heat transfer titanium sheet called HEET™ for plate-type heat exchangers (PHE). PHE form a principal part of the market for pure titanium sheet. HEET™ sheets are now being used in the heat exchangers for an ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) power system, as part of demonstration trials being carried out at Kumejima Island in Okinawa.

Minute bumps on the sheet's surface increase PHE heat conductivity by approximately 20%. Furthermore, the sheet is an environmentally-friendly and resource-conscious product. This is the first time that and commercially pure titanium sheet has been used in an OTEC power system. OTEC has received significant attention as a source of renewable energy, and HEET™ will help reduce associated costs and make OTEC power generation a practical reality.

Internal diagram of heat exchanger with HEET™ high heat transfertitanium sheet

Internal diagram of heat exchanger with HEET™ high heat transfertitanium sheet

REGARC Process Cuts Fumes by Half

Highly Efficient Welding Process to Lower Fumes and Spatter

A compact=

A compact steel frame welding
system

Comparison of fumes

Comparison of fumes

The REGARC welding process was developed by Kobe Steel using electrical current and voltage waveform control technologies. Together with MG-56R(N) — a wire optimized for the process, and made possible through Kobe Steel's position as a comprehensive manufacturer of welding materials — the process achieves a level of efficiency and a reduction in fumes and spatter almost unheard of in CO2 welding. The REGARC process achieves this performance even at high current regions where the level of spatter is usually high. In trials, the amount of fumes per wire weight was reduced by a full half.

In recent years, sale of steel frame construction robots equipped with REGARC capabilities has skyrocketed.

Hydrogen Fueling Units for Fuel Cell Vehicles

Development and Sale of Packaged Hydrogen Fueling Station Units

Kobe Steel developed HyAC mini, a packaged hydrogen fueling station unit, to significantly reduce costs and contribute to more compact hydrogen fueling stations. The product does this by combining many of the essential parts for hydrogen fueling stations into a single unit.

The Kobe Steel Group produces many parts and ultra-high pressure materials that are essential for hydrogen fueling stations, including large-capacity high-pressure hydrogen compressors (HyAC), micro-channel heat exchangers (DCHE), and refrigeration compressors. The Group also offers hydrogen fueling simulation technology developed by Shinko Engineering and Maintenance Co., Ltd. As hydrogen fueling stations become increasingly widespread, the Group will use its comprehensive hydrogen hardware and software to support the creation of a hydrogen infrastructure.

Diagram

Diagram of HyAC mini

Compact, Highly Efficient Binary Generation System Utilizes Factory Discharged Hot Water and Steam

Japan's First Compact Binary Generator Compatible with Low-Pressure, Surplus Steam of 110 °C -130 °C

The MB-125S

MB-125S

Kobe Steel has developed a new model, the MB-125S, in its Microbinary series. Microbinary is a series of highly-efficiency compact binary generator systems that produce electricity using factory waste heat and geothermal energy sources. Sales of the MB-125S model began in August 2013.

The MB-125S is Japan's first compact binary generator that is compatible with low-pressure, surplus steam of 110 °C -130 °C. In addition to generating electricity from renewable energy sources such as geothermal heat, the product will also help to cultivate demand for power generation from factory discharged hot water and steam.

Direct Reduction Plant Utilizing Natural Gas

Midrex Receives Order for voestalpine's Direct Reduction Plant in the U.S.

Hot briquetted iron (HBI), a compacted form of DRI

Hot briquetted iron (HBI),
a compacted form of DRI

Midrex Technologies, Inc., an American subsidiary of Kobe Steel, and Siemens Industry, Inc. have received a consortium order from voestalpine for a 2-million –ton-per-year direct reduction plant that that will be constructed on the outskirts of Corpus Christi, Texas.

In terms of production capacity, the plant will become the largest MIDREX® Plant in the world. The plant is scheduled to begin shipping hot briquetted iron (HBI) in early 2016.

Natural gas is used as the reductant to make direct reduced iron (DRI), and the Process will enable voestalpine to lower its total CO2 emissions.

New Antimicrobial Technology for Inhibiting Algae and Bacteria

KENIFINE® High-Performance Antibacterial Coating Technology Newly Adopted at Plant Factory

TJCreate Co., Ltd.

TJCreate Co., Ltd.

Plant factory

Plant factory

Due to its unparalleled effectiveness, KENIFINE®, a high-performance antibacterial coating technology developed by Kobe Steel, is utilized for a variety of purpose in a growing number of industries, including foodstuff, medical and welfare, electronics and air-conditioning, general consumer goods, and fishing.

KENIFINE technology was recently adopted at a new plant factory in Itami City, Hyogo Prefecture. The factory was established by TJCreate Co., Ltd. (a Tanaka Jyuken Group company), with cooperation from the Osaka Prefecture Research Institute of Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries and Morimura Bros., Inc., in order to stimulate the local economy and increase Japan's overall food self-sufficiency. This marks the first time the technology has ever been adopted within the agricultural industry. The factory represents a prototype case for TJCreate for the construction of full-scale plant factories. Floors and walls inside the factory were coated with a water-based layer of KENIFINE, in order to inhibit the growth of bacteria and algae (which serve as a breeding ground for bacteria). The project will help us to further expand the usage of KENIFINE, as we investigate the effectiveness and requirements of this new application.

Testing Equipment Contributes to High-Performance Liquid Crystal, Organic EL and Other Flat Panel Displays (FPD)

Development of the world's first differential micro-PCD FPD oxide semiconductor testing equipment that allows for in-line testing during process stages directly after film formation and before TFT formation

Differential micro PCS system (LTA-2850SPHII/M2)

Differential micro PCD system
(LTA-2850SPHII/M2)

Kobelco Research Institute, Inc. has developed differential micro-PCD equipment for use with FDP thin film transistors (TFT) to test the characteristics of oxide semiconductors.

The equipment can be used for in-line testing, and is the first in the world that can be used without actually forming the TFT. This contributes greatly to the yield rate of oxide semiconductors, which have garnered attention for their ability to create brighter displays while reducing power consumption.

Carbon Offset Program Contributes to Forest Maintenance

Kobelco Construction Machinery Co., Ltd. offsets a portion of the greenhouse gases emitted by customers when using forestry machinery by attaching carbon offset credits (J-VER Forest Carbon Absorption Credits) to their purchase. The credits are issued by the Ministry of the Environment and certify the reduction or absorption of greenhouse gases. The project to which the credits are attributed can also be selected, allowing customers to contribute to forest maintenance in the area where they are operating, or at other locations of their choosing.

Funds raised by the carbon offset program support forest maintenance in Japan. When a company is unable to sufficiently eliminate greenhouse gases (such as CO2) in their business, carbon offsets allow them to match ("offset") all or a portion of those emissions with reductions made elsewhere.

The SK75SR-3F Acera Geospec in action

The SK75SR-3F Acera Geospec in action