Sustainability 2013 report
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23 IN PEX C O RPO RA TIO N SU STA IN A BILITY REPO RT 2013 Magma Production well Injection well Turbine Generator Substation Cooling tower External air Brine tank Condenser Steam separator This technology uses water that has been heated by magma after infiltration into the ground. The hot water is extracted from a production well and its steam is used to produce electricity with turbines. Because hot water is returned into the ground through the injection well once it has cooled, electricity can be produced over long periods of time. Geothermal Power Generation For the Early Practical Application of a Wide Array of Renewable Energies n practical application, the challenge is to find how to use existing energy sources more efficiently, or to clear cost or technical hurdles. These efforts are developed in the medium-term, ranging from five years to decades ahead. Many of the renewable energies that gather attention now require that development be immediately conducted from this perspective. The practical applica tion of renewable energies that will support the next generation is also emphasized by oil-producing countries in anticipation of their future. It has also significance in view of our contributions to these countries and strengthening of our relations with them. As com pared with fossil fuels such as oil, coal or natural gas, geothermal power generation entails very little emission of CO2 (several tens of times less per unit of power generated) and is able to generate power on a stable basis, uninfluenced by the weather. It is one of the new types of energy that has a high synergistic effect with our business. Its nature as a stable energy unswayed by fluctuation in oil prices is in accord with our goal of making contributions to a stable energy supply. For these reasons, INPEX has been conducting studies aimed at practi cal geothermal power generation at two sites in Hokkaido and Akita Prefectures. Japan is endowed with rich geother mal resources, considered to be the third largest in the world. However, because many of them are located in natural parks or hot-spring areas, we I need to adopt a multifaceted thinking process, with consider ations for the landscape impact, various regulations, and local factors. As we conduct our surveys, we disclose information such as its plan and status of implementation to local commu nities, and through the holding of briefing sessions and local consultative committees, we proceed with our activities while confirming the agreement of local government bodies and local communities. (Shusaku Sako, Business Development Group Manager, New Business Planning Unit, Corporate Strategy & Planning Division) In March 2013, we started operating INPEX Mega Solar Joetsu, the first solar power plant of the INPEX Group, constructed on a former refinery site owned by INPEX Logistics (Japan) Co., Ltd. in Joetsu City, Niigata Prefecture. Its amount of electricity generating from maximum electric capacity of 2,000 kilowatts is equivalent to the annual power consumption needs of about 750 ordinary households. Arrangements have also been made to receive elementary and junior high school students who will visit the facility to study about energy. Optimizing the Usability of Energy for Better Safety and Efficiency ptimization is the quest for methods of transport and storage that will allow us to deliver energy to everyday users more safely and more efficiently. Although electricity is a very convenient form of energy, its transport over long distances suffers from issues related to transmission losses of several percent. They could be significantly reduced if, instead of electricity, we could transport natural gas close to consumption areas through pipelines, before using it to generate electricity in combination with fuel cells. Natural gas-related technologies held by the INPEX Group could also greatly contribute to the establishment of smart grids. Another topic is energy storage, which is of particular importance for O the use of unstable natural energy. INPEX is engaged in the develop ment of high-capacity lithium-ion batteries since 2009 through its investment in ELIIY Power Co., Ltd. Establishing technologies that allow the efficient and safe storage of large amounts of electricity will not only increase the flexibility with which we use it, but also it is very meaningful in the search for the best energy mix. To create the sustainable society of our future, we must imperatively integrate new energies in our lives. Today, we wonder where they are, what their forms are, and how we could use them and optimize them. All we have is dreams and ideals, but with a strong sense of purpose, we will strive to turn these possibilities into reality. (Yoshiro Ishii, Executive Officer, Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Planning Division)