A bridge to the next Generation
Creating model "smart communities" for the future of people everywhere
Initiatives targeting realization of smart cities attuned to energy and environmental demands
As the global population continues to swell and becomes increasingly concentrated in cities, problems of depletion of energy and water resources, traffic congestion and waste treatment are becoming ever more serious. To resolve these pressing issues, hopes are being focused on the realization of optimized "smart communities" in which everything is managed comprehensively – from efficient utilization of electricity, gas, water, transportation systems and other factors necessary for everyday living and industrial activities, to management of wastes and emissions, including CO2.
MHI's Sustainability Energy & Environment Strategic Planning Department and other business headquarters, working in tandem with governmental agencies and business partners both at home and abroad, today is participating in numerous demonstration tests and business feasibility studies not only in Japan (Keihanna Science City) but also overseas in locations in Spain (Malaga), the UAE (Masdar City), India (Gujarat) and China (Tianjin). Leveraging the company's comprehensive capabilities – with a proven track record in all areas from energy and resource utilization to emissions management – as well as its strengths in problem-solving and total supervision, MHI is also serving in a management role in various large-scale demonstration projects encompassing multiple corporate participants.
Demonstration testing launched at science research city in Japan,
targeting system implementation
Conceptual illustration of smart EV
In 2010 a large-scale demonstration project focused on next-generation energy and social systems got under way at Keihanna Science City, one of Japan's leading urban centers dedicated to cultural and academic research. The city straddles the borders of Kyoto, Osaka and Nara prefectures.
The aim of the project is to demonstrate, by March 2015, a comprehensive regional energy management agenda for multiple aspects of everyday life: not only electricity and gas usage but also transportation by electric vehicles (EV) and other advanced modes, water and waste treatment, etc. Plans call for the creation of a framework for pursuing proper – i.e. "smart" – consumption of energy and resources and the curbing of CO2 emissions in the city as a whole, to enable contributions of social benefit to the region as a whole. Also planned are the configuration of a business model based on verification of the project's benefits and the development of related business opportunities both to impel recovery of the nation's disaster-affected regions and to drive business expansion overseas.
Charging network operating status
MHI has a robust track record, backed by superior technologies, in creating numerous social infrastructures worldwide. To make use of the company's proven capabilities in problem solving and its management know-how resulting from this vast experience, MHI has been selected to serve as leader of the various companies participating in the Keihanna project. It is also playing a central role as leader of the individual working groups studying EV battery charge management, transportation systems and modal shifts, the economic aspects of water, sewage and waste treatment facilities and other infrastructure supporting daily life, and optimization of CO2 emission and recycling rates.
Relevant to EV battery charge management, a dedicated center has been set up and data is now being collected on EV charging infrastructure. A demonstration system has been created incorporating 60 EVs (eventually to be increased to 100) and 20 battery chargers. Data is being acquired on the charging and driving trends of various users, and empirical analyses are being conducted in order to project power demand in the coming EV era and establish energy management methods. (Fig. 1)
A study is also in progress on transportation usage volumes by the 20,000 households living in the Keihanna area. Proposals are being made to encourage a shift to transportation modes that save energy and generate minimal amounts of carbon. (Fig. 2)
An innovative research study has also been implemented concerning aspects of daily living. First, survey results were utilized to create a database on city type and the lifestyle patterns of residents, and an urban simulator was completed for proposing appropriate infrastructure matching the city's growth. The feasibility was studied of introducing recycled water into the Keihanna region and of linking Keihanna's sewage and waste treatment plants with regional energy management. (Fig. 3)
An online survey was also conducted pertaining to electricity usage by 60,000 households in the Kansai region, enabling an understanding of power consumption patterns according to household makeup and lifestyle, level of energy conservation awareness, level of preference for a variable electricity fee menu, etc. Based on a market survey covering adoption of home storage batteries, estimated impact from users' energy-saving initiatives, and demand response, plans call for the launch, at some time after the summer of 2012, of the nation's first demonstration testing with general households. On the basis of the results of these field studies, MHI will propose the most appropriate infrastructure for promoting energy savings and supporting the lifestyles of the region's residents.
In order to resolve the various issues faced by cities around the world, hopes are pinned on making effective use of limited resources and achieving tangible results. Going forward, MHI, forging links with governmental and regional bodies and partner enterprises, will continue to carry out demonstration tests of this kind, accumulate knowhow and clarify where business risks exist, in order to create ever more appropriate models of "smart communities" to enable business opportunities to flourish in other regions of Japan and abroad.
Conducting demonstration testing toward introducing EVs in Spain
Today MHI, representing Japan, is participating in a joint demonstration project with Spain under the "Japan Spain Innovation Program" (JSIP). The program is the outgrowth of an agreement on collaboration in technological development concluded in December 2008 between Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), an independent administrative agency, and Spain's Centre for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI), a public business entity.
The project has two aims: to create a next-generation transportation infrastructure in Spain, a nation that has made significant strides in deregulation of its electric power market and in introducing renewable energies, using technologies of Japanese corporations; and to demonstrate the positive merits of this infrastructure. Despite the advances Spain is making in introducing renewable energies, the country's transportation sector, which accounts for approximately 40% of all energy consumption, remains nearly 100% dependent on oil as its energy source. For this reason, Spain is eager to shift its social focus to electric power through initiatives like the introduction of EVs, and great benefits stand to be reaped. Demonstration testing is to be conducted in four general areas: EV infrastructure, power management, information platforms, and total services. MHI is involved in technological integration relating to the EV infrastructure, serving as leader of the three participating Japanese companies.
The Spanish government has announced a goal of putting 250,000 EVs on the country's roads by 2014, and to achieve that goal it is undertaking various programs relating to the promotion of EV usage, development of EVs, and the establishment of an EV charging infrastructure. However, if EVs and their charging infrastructure are adopted too precipitously, the nation's power companies could potentially become unable to maintain stable power supplies to their respective market regions. It is therefore highly important to accurately measure and forecast EV charging demand and to design and build systems to enable dispersion of power demand. (Fig.4)
Going forward, MHI will apply the fruits of this demonstration testing to the creation and packaging of a sustainable business model as a new infrastructure supporting local communities. Besides creating a new EV infrastructure business model applying Japan's outstanding technologies in energy conservation and low carbon emissions, the company will promote global standardization of a business model not only for EVs but for smart cities. And in collaboration with local businesses and other partners, the company will accelerate global expansion in smart city business.
Overview of EV infrastructure creation (Fig.4)
Expectations of MHI
Placing our hopes on MHI for the realization of clean communities
Mr. Jaime Briales Guerrero
Director of the Municipal
Málaga City Council,
I represent the city of Málaga in the role of coordinator supporting a demonstration project for next-generation transport infrastructures.
As a leading Japanese industrial company, MHI is deeply involved in promotion activities for this project. One of the primary targets of this project is to reduce CO2 emissions in Málaga by 20% by 2020. To achieve this, while building an energy-effective system that utilizes electric vehicles, MHI has proposed a comprehensive solution for clean transportation in the city. This project is a key way for our city to foster an eco-friendly society, and we hope MHI will direct the project and continue to provide support even after the project completion in 2015.
MHI plans to extend the sophisticated system employed in this project throughout the world to contribute to the realization of clean local communities not only in Spain but also in many other countries. In the future, we hope that MHI will continue to cooperate with us as well as to play an active part as the leader in this new field to make expansive social contributions.