The Japanese Condition – Third Largest Economy & Few Natural Resources
Harmonic utilizes the combined technologies and expertise of the Japanese tire manufacturing industry and leading industrial resource recovery technologies from the energy from waste sector. For decades these combined, sectors have been operating a technologically unique range of integrated waste recycling systems. With a large population (over 125 million), but very limited space and few naturally inherent resources, Japan and its industries were forced to confront the problem of too much waste and not enough resources decades ago. Soon after the 1970’s oil shocks, Japanese industry realized that the clear solution was to recover and reuse the energy and materials from their various waste streams. This created a fundamental shift where waste materials were no longer considered worthless and sent to landfill sites, all waste was viewed and treated as a valuable resource. As a result, many of the leading energy, waste management and recycling technologies emerged from Japan.
Vital to the development of the technologies was a thorough understanding and knowledge of waste materials, their composition, treatment and disposal while linking them to the problems facing industry. It was from this perspective that our technologies were born and applied commercially. The initial technologies were deployed commercially in 1976 and since then more than 30 years of continuous research and development have produced a series of processing systems and technologies that are superior to solutions currently available.
Why now and not before? Because industrial secrets to a countries energy success are not freely shared with competitive countries.
Japan is now far more advanced than all other countries in terms of energy and resource recovery. The United Kingdom, another island bound nation features similar attributes to Japan but with almost half the population of Japan (60 million) it has approximately 20 integrated energy from waste facilities in commercial operation, while North America (Canada, United States & Mexico) with nearly 500 million people has approximately 100. Japan on the other hand has over 1,500 integrated energy-from-waste facilities. Why the difference?
It’s simple, high land values, limited land space (same land mass as the state of California), over 100 million people living on top of each other (pollution a priority) , high energy costs and few natural resources, industry was forced to innovate in order to compete with the world market. In record time after World War 2, Japan rapidly became the third largest economy, even after two nuclear attacks in its main industrial manufacturing areas. These same unique recovery approaches have also been applied and implemented to several industrial sectors that use large amounts of energy including: steel manufacturing, pulp & paper, cooper production, ore processing & smelting, automotive manufacturing, and oil refining.