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New Year Issue (Jan.)


From Research Waseda

Cooperation among industry, government and academia

Waseda University has made rapid progress with "Waseda Next 125" and "Research Waseda", has created a whole university research structure, and is promoting a various range of research activities. Research in "cooperation among industry, government and academia" is especially important in the sense of returning university knowledge back to society. Starting with the latest examples of cooperation, we investigated the role of the Research Collaboration and Promotion Center and what Waseda University should be aiming for.

From Waseda! Joint industry, government and academia "Honjo Smart Energy Town Project"

Creating a next-generation town using Waseda technology and research

We have selected the "Honjo Smart Energy Town Project" from joint industry, government and academia projects that our university is currently involved in, and will introduce voices from the university and local government.

In May 2011, our university and Honjo Waseda Research Park Foundation launched the "Honjo Smart Energy Town Project". In the land development area around Joetsu Shinkansen Honjo-Waseda Station in Honjo, Satitama, which hosts our Honjo Campus, with cooperation from companies and the local government, the creation of a next-generation town using Waseda University technology and research is taking place.

Honjo City is one of the nation's prominent hot aired regions and is surrounded by abundant nature. In this project, by combining effective use of renewable energy like this (energy which can be renewed in a comparatively short time such as sunlight, solar heat, wind power, terrestrial heat, biomass and hydrogen energy), transport systems and lifestyle, energy efficiency is increased in the creation of a climate change adaption type next-generation model city. Currently, centered on faculty from our university, research is progressing in biomass energy, cluster expansion smart grids, next-generation mobility and transport systems, and next-generation commercial facilities / housing. With the industrialization of this technology development, creation of new industry is planned, with the results to be released to surrounding regions, regional cities nationwide, and overseas.

University viewpoint

Introduction of research themes of each working group.

Biomass Energy

Seeking cooperation with the surrounding area
Expanding town development using biomass energy

Hiroshi Onoda
Visiting Associate Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering

The northern part of Saitama Prefecture, where Honjo is situated, is a prosperous agriculture and stock farming industry region with unused agricultural and stock farming industrial waste. Furthermore, mainly in Chichibu City, the region is abundant in woody biomass reserves. This project, while seeking an organic relationship with the surrounding region, intends to expand town development that actively uses biomass energy.

The inside of Honjo Smart Energy Town is planned to be equipped with housing and commerce facilities, with food waste products from these facilities becoming a valuable source of energy. The creation of a system where food waste products etc. are all collected together within the area is also planned.

I am currently involved as a Saitama prefectural environmental energy general advisor for policy planning related to strategies for propagation of renewable energy in Saitama Prefecture. In the biomass related projects, efficient energy supply system models for unused woody biomass in Chichibu City and its surrounding areas are developed through industry, government and academia cooperation. With woody biomass such as timber used as raw materials, the technical development and verification operations of supplying a combination of gasification (used in heat and electricity generation) and production of bio-oil (a liquid fuel alternative for heavy oil and kerosene), has been selected as for the Ministry of the Environment Technical Development Against Global Warming Project. Along with timber produced in Chichibu and its surrounding area being used in the development of housing and constructions in Honjo Smart Energy Town, the creation of a regional cooperation model by also actively using woody biomass energy in the areas surrounding Honjo, is also a target.

In order to realize the practical application of biomass energy, cooperation from the existing industries, such as forestry and agriculture, is indispensable. I would like to develop activities that assist that cause.

Cluster expansion smart grids

Constructing a disaster-resistant power supply infrastructure with an interconnection-type power supply network

Ryuichi Yokoyama
Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering

In order to provide a stable supply of cheap and high quality electricity to meet consumer demand, Japanese power companies have been working over the past 100 years to form a power system. To produce cheap electricity, large scale power generators producing over 1 million kilowatts of power have been constructed. Inevitably, Power plants are situated in regions far from the areas of demand and a giant, region wide system has been built.

However, after experiencing widespread power shortages following the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, households, businesses and local governments fully realized the need to not totally rely on power companies and secure their own power sources, and laws to promote renewable energy (solar energy, wind power generation etc.) as an alternative to nuclear energy have been established. By introducing renewable energy there are fears that power quality (frequency, voltage) will deteriorate through outage changes and it has become necessary to think about new power supply company infrastructure.

In the development of local consumption and production-type power supply systems in core local governments, a formula that creates appropriately sized supply networks meeting the characteristics of the regions and towns as well as connects each other by increasing supply networks as needed is suitable. Through the construction of a cross coupling-type power supply network, regional power supply from sources using renewable energy, rapid recharging of electric cars, effective utilization of electricity storage equipment, and effective power use through ICT becomes possible.

As shown in the image, if a region has, centered on the region's power plants, government buildings, hospitals, evacuation centers, communications bases and housing for the elderly, it will become a smart grid which can secure lifelines (electricity, water, communications) in the event of a natural disaster. This is called "Rresiliency" and I believe it will become an indicator for social infrastructure construction in the future and should be utilized in the reconstruction of the damaged areas in the Tohoku region currently taking place.

Disaster resistant cluster expansion-type infrastructure -Next generation new energy and social system-

Next generation mobility・transport system

Creating new business models with next generation mobility system management

Hiroshi Onoda
Visiting Associate Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Ultra lightweight-type mobility ULV

Test drive(A driver's license is actually required)

Honjo City is in close proximity to Honjo-Waseda Shinkansen Station and Honjo Kodama interchange, functioning as a transport hub. Also, our Graduate School of Environment and Energy Engineering has assembled professionals involved in "mobility" such as engines, electric buses and electric cars, and plans to utilize their wisdom to the full.

The most advanced project is the car-sharing system using ultra lightweight-type mobility ULV(Ultra Lightweight Vehicle). ULV, with the concept of "more than a bicycle and less than a motor vehicle", has been developed with the aim of changing the existing notion of mobility. Features of this research are thorough investigations into energy efficiency through the lightweight design, adoption of design methods compatible with various electric motors such as batteries and engines, and the search for locally produced and community involved production and provision structures in cooperation with medium and small sized businesses. Travel on public roads has already been realized in the form of "restricted service and distance" low environmental impact-type mobility.

The Honjo-Waseda area will implement a system of an average of one private motorcar per household and ULV sharing for second cars. With that, a line of flow to neighboring large-scale commercial facilities and established urban districts will be created. Through mobility system management, we are commencing studies with the aim of creation of new business models. In the future, we are planning to expand research and development with autonomous running delivery services and emergency medical transportation in our sights.

Mobility supports the movement of people and things. I would like to go back to that starting point and pursue mobility that is necessary for the region.

Next generation commerce facilities/Next generation smart houses

Mutually design energy financing and aim for further CO2 reductions

Masafumi Katsuta
Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering

In recent years, especially since the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, due to the large-scale power shortages, unprecedented in a developed nation, interest in self-supplying energy in the regions is rising. In this project, commercial and housing areas in a region are considered as a single grid (called a cluster expansion-type smart grid), and CO2 discharge reductions are planned by financing grids of not only electricity, but also cold power. So-called regional air-conditioning systems are already underway in each area through large-scale co-generation, but supply of both electricity and heat through an independent system does not yet exist in Japan.

In this project, commercial areas, especially supermarkets and restaurants, are considered as a single cluster and fuels cells (SOFC) and gas engines are positioned high in the cogeneration system. It is planned to produce cold power by injecting this discharged heat into absorption refrigerating machines, and use it in air conditioning and even in pre-cooling of refrigerating machines. Naturally, we are thinking of actively introducing solar power generation and hydrogen, developing an EMS (energy management system) which optimally manages differing generation methods and waste heat by using telecommunications technology, and have the many excess heat issues we have had until now financed by industries which possess different demand properties.

Currently, development of a power source dispersion system and construction of trial shops (1:15 scale) in front of JR Honjo-Waseda Shinkansen Station are taking place. Our long term vision is to expand the grid to universities, offices, general housing areas and commercial districts and have the energy financed mutually while, from an energy conversation point of view, reduce CO2 emissions even further.

Local government viewpoint

We got a few comments from Honjo Mayor Shinge Yoshida regarding industry, government and academia cooperation with our university.

Shinge Yoshida, Mayor of Honjo City

Hoping for regional economic stimulation, such as technological innovation in local industry and creation of new industries, through cooperation with Waseda University

This city is an important traffic center with trains and national highways, starting with the JR Joetsu Shinkansen and Kan-etsu Expressway, running through the length of the city. We achieved positive results such as luring businesses by touting the benefits of our location.

In April 2008 our city announced the "Honjo City Environmental Oath", and both citizens and businesses from all areas in the city have being advancing environmental policies. And especially now, in the forests of Honjo-Waseda, we are progressing with the urban development of the "Honjo Smart Energy Town Project", utilizing the abundant natural environment and "wisdom" of Waseda University. These leading initiatives are central to this city's environmentally conscious urban development policy. In the future I hope that, through the spread of technology garnered from this project to existing urban areas and other regions outside of the city, the city as whole will become an eco-town.

The appeal of industry, government and academia cooperation is its ability to stimulate regional economies through technological innovation in local industry and the creation of new industries. Honjo City concluded a basic agreement relating to cooperation with Waseda University in 2005. Starting with this project, various projects have taken place such as sports promotion for every citizen and the laying turf on school grounds by Kawabuchi Saburo Juku, environmental education, and human resource development. I would like to continue this cooperation even more in the future.

Honjo Campus Facilities

Waseda University Honjo Senior High School

Global Information and Technologies Institute, Advanced Research Institute for Science and Engineering, Honjo Research Building

Incubation-On-Campus Honjo Waseda

Honjo Waseda Research Park Communication Center
(Honjo General Administration Center, Honjo Waseda Research Park Foundation etc.)