Center Director’s Greetings
Director of Advanced Core for Energetics, Hiroshima University (HU-ACE)
(Professor, Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering)
“Advanced Core of Energetics (HU-ACE)”, the research core authorized by Hiroshima University, was established and started its activities in October 2016. HU-ACE focuses its efforts on the research and development of “super-advanced” technologies of creation, reservation, and utilization of energy/fuels mainly for the transportation sector. HU-ACE contributes as well for the education of next-generation researchers in this field. The professors and researchers in the university hardly made joint activities among their departments. Professor Yukihiko Matsumura, vice head of HU-ACE, made the great efforts to organize the research core, which 23 professors and researchers join from Graduate Schools of Engineering, Advanced Sciences of Matters, Integrated Arts and Sciences, International Development and Corporation, and Institute for Advanced Materials Research. Engine combustion, my research area, is recently requested to adopt various biofuels. I got acquainted with a professor in the neighboring department, who conducts the advanced bio-fuel creation research. HU-ACE conducts the super-advanced energy/fuels research based on the joint activities by professors and researchers in the university.
History of Establishment and Mission
【History of Establishment】
A measure to the global warming which is a worldwide environmental issue is advanced based on Paris agreement at present. Needs for the technology for which the energy is used super-high-efficiently, sustainable and environmental friendly are increasing as the countermeasure. A study of efficiency improvement of an internal combustion engine, use of renewable energy and use of clean energy is also advanced eagerly at a next generation energy project research center, a biomass project research center and an overall scientific research project on energy resource of in Hiroshima University, respectively. In the background, Advanced Core of Energetics (ACE) was established as a research core into which the research centers above-mentioned are integrated to accelerate dramatic improvement of the energy use efficiency and efforts for the social mounting.
Japan set a high target for greenhouse gas reduction as a countermeasure against global warming: 26 % reduction compared to 2013 greenhouse gas emission rates by 2030, and 80 % reduction by 2050. Japan must develop interdisciplinary technology, such as CO2 capture and storage, energy conservation, and the use of renewable energy sources, to achieve this target. Setting these major tasks as our final goal, Advanced Core for Energetics (HU-ACE) is undertaking the following projects: 1) Development of advanced technology to improve the energy efficiency of each step of energy flow, from energy supply, transportation, storage, to energy consumption, 2) Designing a roadmap to integrate improved energy consumption technologies now and in the future to the year 2050, 3) Developing personnel skills to contribute to major greenhouse gas reductions through interdisciplinary research and education, 4) Publication of research outcomes to share the results with researchers and industries worldwide.
This advanced core carries out research and development for realization of high-efficiency, sustainable, and clean energy system. Currently, shifting from conventional fossil-fuel energy system to renewable energy system where solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass energy are employed. What is important for it is high-efficiency utilization for final energy consumption and high-efficiency technology for conversion to secondary energy. Renewable energy has a large potential, but it also has limitation in availability from the economic constraint. Making the best of it with high efficiency is wanted. In addition, electricity directly obtained from solar or wind energy is not easy to store, and transportable and storable “fuel” is needed. Further, distributed transportation energy utilization is also important. Thus, the following 4 themes are set, along which research activities are conducted.
【International and domestic network development】
Four groups shown above together with analysis and evaluation groups are set, and world top advanced center of energetics will be realized through collaboration with companies and foreign countries.
Hiroshima scenario is the road map which is drawn up as common recognition of base members to introduce a highly efficient, renewable, and clean energy system from the present energy system step by step. It’s as follows as the present outline.
We currently use gasoline and diesel oil as transportation fuel refined from fossil fuel which is primary energy. Although the energy efficiency of power utilization and power generation using existing engines and various turbines varies depending on the scale, it is about 30 to 50%, and many carbon dioxide is discharged.
In 2025, high efficiency of various combustion technologies including engines will be introduced. In particular, in addition to exhaust gas recirculation and pure oxygen combustion, the introduction of laser ignition will enhance the controllability of the engine, resulting in the increase in its efficiency.
In 2030, the introduction of renewable fuel is promoted. Currently, ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass and oil production using algae have not spread to widespread predominantly for economic reasons. However, the introduction of biofuel based on the Paris Agreement is required even at a high cost to some extent. Hence, the production cost will be reduced in the future as technology development goes on. Also, methane fermentation gas engines are currently being used only in a small part, but they are also widely used around 2030 due to the fact that there is no dust in exhaust gas and renewable energy.
And in 2050, the introduction of hydrogen fuel will become full scale. Infrastructure development is essential for the introduction of hydrogen energy, and many problems still need to be solved are still left for economic hydrogen utilization to be realized. Biofuel releases carbon dioxide as it burns because it is organic matter, whereas hydrogen produces only water, so there are no carbon dioxide emissions at the dispersed source and it will be used without concern in the life cycle can do.
Based on this scenario, we systematically develop the technology required for each system element.