China hot on heels of US in cutting-edge green tech research

TOKYO — China leads the world in the number of research papers published on technologies related to the global pivot away from greenhouse gases, and is catching up to the U.S. in terms of the quality and impact, a Nikkei survey shows.

China produced more papers than any other country in 16 of the 18 research areas examined, including solar cells and artificial photosynthesis, in Dutch publisher Elsevier’s database of more than 82 million articles across 7,000-plus journals between 2015 and 2020.

The study showed a research landscape dominated by China and the U.S., as decarbonization becomes a battleground for the world’s two biggest economies vying for technological supremacy.

China enjoyed a particularly strong lead in fields related to battery storage, seen as crucial to widespread use of renewable energy. The database included more than three times as many papers on lithium-ion batteries from China as from the U.S., and five to six times as many on sodium-ion and potassium-ion batteries, which show promise as cheaper next-generation options.

China also had double the U.S. tally for papers on solar cells, and triple the number on cells using perovskites, materials that can be simply painted onto a surface and heated to turn it into a low-cost cell. Electric vehicles, a popular area for research, had China — the world’s largest market for them — with a commanding lead as well.

Of the 18 fields examined, American researchers led only in geothermal power and energy-saving semiconductors, and even then the margins were thin.

In terms of research quality — calculated based on the number of times papers were cited, taking into account factors including the year of publication and the type of paper — the U.S. led China overall and topped the global average in each of the individual research areas.

But China’s research was nothing to sneeze at on this front, meeting or exceeding the average in most fields and even beating the U.S. in artificial photosynthesis and biomass energy.

China hot on heels of US in cutting-edge green tech research

Auto batteries manufactured in Dongguan, China: China was by far the top producer of research papers related to battery technology. © Reuters

Japan made a solid showing in several areas, ranking third in terms of quantity in artificial biosynthesis, fuel cell vehicles and ammonia and fourth in energy-saving semiconductors and perovskite cells. But it lagged far behind in renewable power generation in particular, falling outside the top 10 in wind, hydroelectric and geothermal power.

The country has fared better with patents. Materials from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on decarbonization technology show Japan as the world leader in patents in hydrogen and in autos and batteries, among other areas, which has helped keep its automakers competitive. But China loomed large here as well, ranking second in several of those categories.

The Chinese government budgeted about $250 billion in 2018 to support research at state research organizations, universities and other institutions, according to Japan’s National Institute of Science and Technology Policy. It far outpaces the U.S., which is the world’s second-largest spender and budgeted roughly $140 billion in 2019.

Cutting-edge research and development is a key contributor to industrial development. For example, the first scientific papers on lithium-ion batteries were published in the 1980s. The technology became ubiquitous by the 2000s after years of research, though companies that became involved in the field early on remain important players in the industrial sector.

Japan was second only to the U.S. in the number of papers in the natural sciences at one point in the 1990s, but struggled to leverage the findings into a lasting industrial advantage. Governments need to ensure that scientific breakthroughs at universities and other institutions are shared with the business sector.


Japan travel news, japan travel guides, japan holiday destinations and japan reviews

LATEST NEWS

NEWS RELATED

COVID gives Japan 'last chance' to reverse digital defeat

TOKYO — Each day, dozens of residents in Tokyo’s Setagaya district visit an office to sign up for a My Number identification card. Officials take each visitor’s photo, make copies of their existing ID documents and ask them to write down four passwords. The information gets sent back to the…

Read more: COVID gives Japan 'last chance' to reverse digital defeat

Shoppers in Singapore tend to reuse log-in details, passwords: IBM study

Photo illustration of ATM and credit card scam. SINGAPORE – Cyber hygiene was not top of mind, even as more Singapore consumers went online amid the Covid-19 pandemic, a study has found. On average, consumers here created 10 new online accounts, for services such as food deliveries, shopping, healthcare and…

Read more: Shoppers in Singapore tend to reuse log-in details, passwords: IBM study

Windows 11 rumors flare anew with Windows 10 'retirement' set for 2025

October, 2025, will be the end of the line for Windows 10.

Read more: Windows 11 rumors flare anew with Windows 10 'retirement' set for 2025

Gamer nations: Apps cash in on country-sized player populations

TOKYO — More than 10 video game titles boast at least 100 million users worldwide, opening up lucrative secondary markets for in-game purchases that are larger than most nations. E3, one of the world’s biggest gaming conferences hosted in the U.S., opened this weekend as a virtual event after cancelling…

Read more: Gamer nations: Apps cash in on country-sized player populations

Japan to probe Apple, Google in antitrust discussions

Tokyo, Apple is set to face more scrutiny of its business practices as the Japanese government is said to be preparing another antitrust probe into both tech giants Apple and Google, the media reported.According to AppleInsider, Apple has been the subject of multiple antitrust probes alongside other tech giants, including…

Read more: Japan to probe Apple, Google in antitrust discussions

Nigeria's Twitter ban leaves some businesses in the lurch

LAGOS: Lagos-based entrepreneur Ogechi Egemonu was selling more than 500,000 naira ($1,219) worth of watches, shoes and handbags on Twitter per week. Now, with the site suspended by the Nigerian government, Egemonu does not know how she will cope. “Social media is where I eat,” she told Reuters. “I depend…

Read more: Nigeria's Twitter ban leaves some businesses in the lurch

Google opens up Workspace to consumers, announces new Spaces chat

Spaces looks a lot like, well, Teams and Slack.

Read more: Google opens up Workspace to consumers, announces new Spaces chat

Apple takes on AirPods Pro with $150 Beats Studio Buds noise-canceling earbuds

The newest Beats buds are smaller and cheaper versions of the AirPods Pro.

Read more: Apple takes on AirPods Pro with $150 Beats Studio Buds noise-canceling earbuds

Video game fest E3 shows off Starfield, Elden Ring teasers

Social audio is set to have its YouTube moment, Clubhouse founders say

US Supreme Court revives LinkedIn bid to shield personal data

Japan vows at G-7 to cut off overseas coal financing this year

Convosight raises $9 million in funding from Qualgro, others

Covid-19 vaccine: C-CAMP partners Hitachi ABB for cold chain solutions

Global captives expected to ramp up hiring in small towns

Amazon India vendor Cloudtail faces Rs 56 crore tax demand: Report

OTHER NEWS