• Project 1:Undertaking the Challenge of Transforming Energy Systems to Achieve a Carbon-neutral Society


Undertaking the Challenge of Transforming Energy Systems to Achieve a Carbon-neutral Society

In order to achieve carbon neutrality, which has become a common goal across the planet for curbing global warming, countries around the world are taking a completely new direction as part of an accelerating movement. Although every industry that comprises our society must make changes, the energy systems that serve as the infrastructure for these industries must also undergo a major transformation. This transformation will go beyond simply reducing CO2 emissions through energy conservation measures and the large-scale introduction of renewable energy and other decarbonization technologies, and will likely extend throughout the overall social system, reaching industrial structures, social infrastructure, and even our lifestyles.

Realizing this vast goal in a sustainable manner will require systems that consistently and efficiently employ various elemental technologies, such as those that create, store, convert, transport, and use energy. And it will require systems that integrate these technologies, all while balancing energy supply and demand throughout society. We therefore assemble next-generation energy facilities that bring together a variety of elemental technologies. At the same time, we engage in empirical research on energy management systems that link these facilities together, as well as in elemental technologies and systems research related to hydrogen, ammonia, e-fuel, and other carbon-neutral energy carriers. We also work in collaboration with the Toyota Group and academic institutions on research and development for implementing these facilities in actual factories.

Key Themes

Wisely using renewable energy to its fullest

Realizing factories that do not emit CO2 requires an understanding of energy flows throughout entire factories as systems. We therefore develop system design technologies that optimize factory facility configurations using a mathematical approach, as well as system management technologies that optimally operate individual facilities in accordance with fluctuations in production and in energy supply and demand. We also conduct empirical research in this area using digital twins. Through these efforts, we aim to improve the efficiency of renewable energy use at minimum cost.

Energy management system currently being demonstrated on our grounds

Establishing a carbon circulation-based energy system

We are working to construct a CO2 recovery and methanation system (C-LOOP®) . Specifically, this system synthesizes methane from CO2 recovered from production facility exhaust gases and hydrogen derived from renewable energy. Along with an energy management technology for balancing CO2 emissions, which vary depending on the operating status of facilities, with hydrogen generation, which varies depending on fluctuations in renewable energy power, the system efficiently employs CO2 recovery and storage to realize stability throughout the system.

CO2 recovery and methanation system (C-LOOP®)

Expanding the potential of carbon-neutral fuels

Achieving a carbon-neutral society requires efforts to avoid increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere over the life cycle of fuels. Hydrogen, ammonia, e-fuel, and other carbon-neutral fuels derived from renewable energy sources are therefore attracting attention as one means of achieving this goal. In order to draw out and fully utilize the advantages of carbon-neutral fuels, we are constructing technologies that analyze combustion characteristics and visualize reactions for various types of fuels by developing a reaction simulation technology that is based on molecular dynamics and the combustion and fluid simulation technologies we have cultivated over the years.

Combustion analysis technology for carbon-neutral fuels

Fully leveraging heat as energy

A large part of the energy wasted in factories is discharged as heat, and reducing this waste heat is an important aspect of achieving energy savings in factories.Therefore, we are developing heat management technologies to fully leverage heat as energy throughout factories by efficiently using heat in production processes as well as by recovering and reusing waste heat.We are also developing chemical processes that supply heat and capture CO2 based on renewable energy-derived fuels and are working to demonstrate technologies involving control of various processes in an integrated manner based on heat supply and demand forecasting.

Thermal management optimization concept

Elemental Technologies

Functional Material Chemistry, Energy Chemistry, Chemical Reaction and Process System Engineering, Thermal Engineering, Analytical Chemistry, Quantum Beam Science, Environmental Materials and Recycle Technology, Power Engineering, Control and System Engineering, Environmental Policy and Social Systems