Environmental/Social Contributions Through Our Products and Services
The NGK Group regards contributing to society through our business activities to be one of our most important missions. We leverage the technology we have cultivated during roughly a century in business, to develop and provide products and technologies that contribute to the global environment.
Developing and Distributing Products Contributing to Environmental Protection and Services
The Fifth 5-Year Environmental Action Plan, which began in FY2021, establishes a goal of increasing the registration of carbon neutral products and services among our products contributing to environmental protection. In FY2021, Chubu Electric Power Miraiz, NGK, and the city of Ena jointly established Ena Electric Power in Ena, Gifu, to provide the region with a renewable electric power service. This was registered as a service contributing to environmental protection related to carbon neutrality. Moreover, in April 2022, we established Abashiri Electric Power, which plans to provide regional services in the same way as Ena Electric Power. Hereafter, we plan to register Abashiri Electric Power as a service contributing to environmental protection as well.
We now offer a lineup of nine products contributing to environmental protection and services. Three of these products contributing to environmental protection and services are related to carbon neutrality. Going forward, we plan to follow up on our NAS batteries by focusing on developing new carbon neutral products and providing services, such as Zinc rechargeable battery, and CO2 separation membranes which are expected to contribute to Carbon Capture and Utilization/Carbon Capture and Storage (CCU/CCS).
FY2021 Products Contributing to Environmental Protection
Our Definition of Products Contributing to Environmental Protection and Services
- Items recognized or certified by third party organizations
- Items that help limit or reduce the impact on the Earth’s environment
- Items that help reduce the impact on the local environment
NGK Group Products Contributing to Environmental Protection and Services
HONEYCERAM are ceramic substrates for automotive catalytic converters for purifying automobile exhaust gases of hazardous constituents. They have a catalyst which detoxifies hazardous substances through a chemical reaction, and a honeycomb structure that improves their purifying abilities by increasing the contact area with exhaust gases.
Since mass production began in 1976, we have shipped a cumulative total of 1.5 billion units. These ceramic products have become indispensable to the purification of automotive exhaust gases.
The HONEYCERAM manufactured by NGK can reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx)*1 emissions by 4 million metric tons per year. This is equivalent to roughly double the annual amount of NOx*2 emissions in Japan.
*1 Assuming new cars not equipped with exhaust gas systems are equipped with the same systems
*2 Source: OECD Environment Statistics (2012)
Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs)
DPFs are porous ceramic filters fitted to the exhaust systems of diesel vehicles. Using micropores to securely capture particulate matter (PM) purifies the exhaust gas of diesel vehicles and greatly contributes to reducing atmospheric pollution. NGK is the only manufacturer who mass produces two types, cordierite and silicon carbide. And we are further developing our ceramic technologies for diesel vehicles.
Gasoline Particulate Filters (GPFs)
GPFs are ceramic filters that remove the particulate matter emitted by gasoline engines.
We have succeeded in developing GPFs based on the technology behind particulate matter (PM) removal filters for diesel engines (DPFs). We combined this technology with proprietary micropore creation and control technologies to achieve both high PM capture efficiency and low pressure loss (low fuel consumption and high power output). In 2012, we became the first in the world to put GPFs into practical use, and we began full-scale mass production in 2016.
Going forward, we expect demand for GPFs to increase as automotive emissions regulations are strengthened worldwide. We are also strengthening our manufacturing system to boost production capacity in response to increased demand.
In-Vehicle High-Precision NOx Sensors
The world’s first in-vehicle sensor that can precisely measure nitrogen oxide (NOx) concentration in exhaust gases in real time. It measures the concentration of NOx in exhaust gasses at a ppm (parts per million) level, catching even minute amounts of NOx. It precisely controls the exhaust gas purification equipment in diesel vehicles to reduce the amount of NOx emitted, and promote the spread of clean diesel vehicles.
The widespread adoption of renewable energy sources that do not use fossil fuels or emit carbon dioxide (CO2) is underway. Sodium Sulfur (NAS) Batteries can help stabilize the grid by charging and discharging to absorb the fluctuations in power output from wind and solar power generation due to natural phenomena.
In addition, as renewable energy use increases, it becomes more challenging to balance electrical supply with demand due to factors such as excess electrical power at different times or seasons. NAS batteries can use their large capacity to balance supply and demand by storing excess power, helping to support the expansion of renewable energy.
Local Renewable Energy Electric Power Supply Service by Ena Electric Power
In April 2021, the city of Ena, Chubu Electric Power Miraiz, and NGK established Ena Electric Power.
Ena Electric Power installed photovoltaic power generation systems and NAS batteries in empty lots and the rooftops of public facilities in Ena. By supplying electricity to public facilities and Akechi Insulators of the NGK Group, the systems are contributing to the energy independence and carbon neutrality of Ena.
Low-Level Radioactive Waste Treatment Systems
NGK produces various equipment that employs our proprietary processing technology and exhaust gas dust removal technology, using high performance filters, to safely process low-level radioactive waste generated by nuclear power facilities. We have delivered these to nuclear power stations and related research facilities all around Japan.
Our broad engineering capabilities span design, manufacturing, and construction. These combined with long-term maintenance support, allow us to achieve stable, advanced radiation removal that contributes to the safe operation of nuclear facilities.
We are also working to develop systems for processing the various new waste generated as aging nuclear reactors are shut down and dismantled.
Importance of treating radioactive waste
When it comes to treating and disposing of the waste generated in the radiation control areas of nuclear power plants and the like, preventing the release or leakage of radioactive material is of the highest importance. It must be treated and disposed of in a different manner to general waste.
Wavelength Control Drying System
Our wavelength control drying system uses an original heating unit developed by NGK to accelerate solvent drying.
This system uses the selective irradiation of specific infrared wavelengths effective for evaporation to dry materials in 1/2 to 1/3 the time required by conventional drying methods which use heat. Electricity consumption is also cut by 30 to 50%. Binder segregation, which indicates deviations in density due to the drying of the internal components of the coatings, is also curtailed by 30 to 40%.
Micro-Lenses for Ultraviolet LEDs
Micro-lenses for ultraviolet LEDs are quartz glass lenses which NGK has developed for use with the ultraviolet LEDs intended to replace mercury lamps. Ultraviolet light sources are seeing widespread use in applications such as sterilization of water and air. Currently, such applications use mercury lamps. But in light of new laws and regulations based on the Minamata Convention on Mercury, their use may be banned in the future. This is driving interest in ultraviolet LEDs, which do not use mercury. Our micro-lenses for ultraviolet LEDs feature a cavity (space) to hold the ultraviolet LED chip. This increases the efficiency of the ultraviolet LED while reducing its cost.
Environmental Labeling and Declarations
Since many of the products handled by the NGK Group are B2B products, they are not subject to environmental labelling. However, we support the requirements of each customer.