Plastic sorting robot developed
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Visitors to a supermarket in Ikoma, Nara Prefecture, watch a robot sort plastic bottles by material. (HIDEAKI ISHIYAMA/ THE ASAHI SHIMBUN)
A robot which can sort plastics left in garbage by using five different types of laser beams has been developed by researchers.
The robot, which was developed in a joint project by Osaka University, IDEC Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric Engineering Corp., uses lasers with differing wave lengths to distinguish between types of plastic. It can also help in sorting plastic bottles.
A spokesperson for the research group said the device, measuring 1.7 meter by 2.1 meters, can distinguish between most types of plastic currently in use, including polyethylene and polypropylene. Sorting different plastics is a major obstacle for effective recycling.
The robot was recently put on trial in Ikoma, Nara Prefecture. The group aims to have it on the market in the near future.
A team of academic and private-sector researchers is jointly developing a battery-powered boat that is expected to emit only half the carbon dioxide of a vessel that operates on diesel.
The team said Monday that test cruises are to begin as early as summer.
Under the project by the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Yamaha Motor Co., Tokyo Electric Power Co. and other companies, the vessel will be equipped with a rapid charger, similar to those used by electric vehicles.
Operating as a water taxi, the 10-meter-long craft will carry up to 10 passengers for short- distance travel in Tokyo Bay. It will be able to operate for 45 minutes between charges at full speed.
The researchers will evaluate the boat's performance on a 7-kilometer, 20-minute route between the university's two campuses facing the bay in July or later.
Efforts to reduce carbon dioxide, which has been blamed for global warming, come at a price. The battery-powered boat costs 50 percent more to build than a conventional boat.
OSAKA--The house of the future will spew out 80 percent less carbon dioxide by using a combination of solar panels, fuel cells and storage batteries, according to a study by a home builder and a gas supplier. Officials at Sekisui House Ltd. and Osaka Gas Co. said they are working to come up with a marketable "smart house" by 2015 at the earliest, based on data gathered from the government-commissioned study. The experiment found that annual carbon dioxide emissions from a 150-square-meter house can be cut by up to 5 tons, or 80 percent, through a combination of green technologies. It used a two-story prototype in Kizugawa, Kyoto Prefecture, which is capable of generating electricity around the clock by using solar and fuel cells while saving surplus energy in storage batteries. The industry ministry has set a goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions from households by half in the future.