It is a tremendously exciting time to be a part of the efforts that are ongoing at I2CNER. As it enters its ninth year, the institute’s momentum and scientific impact continue to increase rapidly. Many metrics support this claim: the number of scientific discoveries and breakthroughs that are reducing the identified roadblocks has increased dramatically as have the technology transfers to industry; the number of industrial partnerships has increased as have the number of international universities seeking partnerships with I2CNER.
I2CNER’s grand challenge is to develop the foundations for the engineering of energy systems that will address Japan’s future energy needs and contribute to the reduction of the nation’s CO2 emissions by 70% from the 1990 levels by 2050. The impact of I2CNER’s research on CO2 emission reductions is summarized in an I2CNER Report, entitled “Toward 2050: Contributing to a Low Carbon Energy Society,” which outlines both the direct CO2 reductions enabled by I2CNER research thrusts and the industry contributions, which are underpinned by these innovations. Thus, as a result of our current accomplishments, approximately 0.42% of the total required CO2 reductions, and as a result of our projected future achievements, approximately 5.38% of the total required reductions can be realized by I2CNER technologies and innovations if they are applied to appropriate energy systems. Significantly, in addition to I2CNER’s direct contributions, development and implementation of I2CNER’s relevant technology efforts will account for a further 35.3% of the 2050 target, which demonstrates that I2CNER’s research efforts underpin impactful energy technologies. The relevance of the I2CNER research efforts and objectives to enabling the green innovation initiative of the government of Japan is demonstrated by the 24 new collaborative industrial projects in FY2017 (104 in total since inception).
I2CNER has established itself as a worldwide brand by making international, collaboration-driven transformational scientific advances which will lead to a carbon-neutral energy society. The high-impact transformational reforms being instituted by the Kyushu University Administration with I2CNER’s help, as well as I2CNER’s strategy for furthering technology-driven research, are also positioning Kyushu University on the map of academic and energy technology leaders.
Given the typical timescales associated with well-to-wheel implementation of carbon-neutral energy technologies, here at I2CNER, we cannot help but talk about the future. We are always considering what is next for the Institute and what is next for society as a whole. What’s more, we are constantly looking for ways to improve upon what is next by accelerating the transition to a carbon-neutral energy society using our basic energy research. Here at I2CNER, our dream is for our young researchers to have the opportunity to contribute to and accelerate these developments through the targeted, strategic, and innovative basic research contributions that they are making to society.
Professor Petros Sofronis, PhD
International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research