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AIST Sets Up Institute for Renewable Energy Researches in Fukushima

2013/10/07 10:01
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Cleantech Institute
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Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) will found the Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute (FREA) Oct 1, 2013.

AIST is currently constructing a new building for the institute in the Western 2nd Industrial Park in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. The building is scheduled to be completed and begin operations in April 2014. In advance of that, AIST will establish an organization for new researches.

The construction of an institute for renewable energy researches was mentioned in the government's policy, the Basic Policy of Reconstruction After the Great East Japan Earthquake.

For the adoption of a large amount of renewable energy, FREA came up with six themes: (1) Research and Verification of Advanced Integration of Renewable Energy Sources, (2) Production and Utilization Technology of Hydrogen Carrier, (3) Advanced Technology for Wind Power Generation, (4) High-Performance Modules with Thin-Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells, (5) Technologies for the Effective and Sustainable Use of Geothermal Power Generation and (6) Potential Assessment of Ground-Source Heat Pump System and System Optimization Technology.

Thus far, AIST has been researching and developing mainly elemental technologies such as high-efficiency next-generation photovoltaic (PV) cell technologies. On the other hand, the research theme of the FREA is the problems of energy systems in the case where a large-amount of renewable energy is used such as issues related to energy storage technologies. So, it can be said that the importance of system technologies is drawing attention again at the beginning of the "mega-solar era."