In the seven years since it began, I2CNER has become a turbine of opportunity, both for our faculty and for Kyushu University. In addition to doing very exciting research, we’ve spent years putting an enduring infrastructure in place and we are now beginning to see the returns on our investment. For instance, after much effort on the part of both universities, Kyushu University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are enjoying the benefits of a strong academic partnership that reaches well beyond the original ties that were forged by I2CNER. Moreover, through the establishment of Q-Pit, an umbrella organization for a concerted research effort on energy with I2CNER at its core, Kyushu University is in the process of leveraging and moving beyond the WPI Program to establish itself as an international authority on energy. Most importantly, our researchers are addressing the scientific barriers that must be overcome if we are to achieve a significant reduction in carbon by 2050. Evidence of the significance of I2CNER research can be seen in our growing core of externally-funded research projects, with the most recent example being PI Ishihara’s METI grant, which is intended to fund a collaborative effort on steam electrolysis between I2CNER and Juelich in Germany. Evidence of our activities on technology transfer are the establishment of the Industrial Research Unit within I2CNER to advance open innovation with industries such as Mazda Corporation and IHI Corporation. In this direction, our newly established Industrial Advisory Board aims to inform and facilitate our returning of our research results to the society as technology innovations.
As I contemplate over some of the most outstanding results we have already achieved and what we have the potential to accomplish as we build upon our past efforts, I cannot help but be enthusiastic and optimistic. Though there are many challenges ahead of us, I believe that I2CNER is ideally positioned to make disruptive advances within the international energy landscape.
Professor Petros Sofronis, PhD
International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research