The goal is to realize a society where everyone can enjoy clean and sustainable energy.
At the Innovation Network for Co-Creating the Future, we believe that the following 5 changes will have a significant impact in resolving societal problems in the area of Energy and Environment.
In terms of energy supply, we should strive to achieve the three "E"s (energy security, economic efficiency, environment) and one "S" (safety) (= 3Es + S). Japan currently faces various energy supply problems such as a low energy self-sufficiency rate, a dependence on oil and gas imports from the Middle East, and increased greenhouse gas emissions.
Innovation in energy efficiency
While Japanese energy consumption efficiency ranks high globally, its business sector has been slow in utilizing IoT and building insulation. The household sector also has much to improve for balancing comfort and energy-saving. Growing power consumption in a digitizing society is another issue needing to be addressed.
Innovation for heat energy efficiency
- Large amounts of primary energy are discarded as heat around the world. Reduction, recovery and reutilization of the unused thermal energy remains an issue to be addressed.
- Domestically, thermal/heat utilization technology is gradually being adopted by the large-scale business establishment, but among the small business and household sectors, thermal energy is not effectively utilized.
Innovation in material life cycles
While precious and rare metals from “urban mines” (materials to be recycled) will be key components for next-generation automobiles and ICT-related equipment, recycling them from “urban mines” remains slow and insufficient. In addition, waste reduction is now a worldwide problem. Furthermore, economical and sustainable ways of developing forest resources and utilizing biomass resources remain possibilities worth exploring.
Innovations to against the pollution of the atmosphere, ocean and soil and conservation of ecosystems
- Air pollution is caused mainly by factories, automobile emissions, contaminants of coal and charcoal burnt at household heaters and cooking stoves. This type of pollution is the fourth largest cause of death in the world. Ocean pollution is caused by variety of factors, including discarded waste, oil spills from nautical accidents. Ocean pollution is also caused by chronic factors, including waste water from factories and households, inflow of pesticides and plastics. All of these are becoming serious problems.
- Various organisms live on this planet and each of them plays an indispensable role in the natural systems including forests, ground soil, rivers, oceans, and atmosphere. Urgent attention is needed to prevent loss of biodiversity caused by deforestation, invasive alien species, etc.
Japan Carpet tiles Reset Association (JCRA)
While carpet tiles are usually replaced and disposed of after only a few years in Japan, JCRA invented a new washing process that extends the life-span of carpet tiles, resulting in the reduction of replacement costs and waste. Its simplified process enables people with intellectual disabilities to participate in the task.
The applicants developed the idea based on their unique knowledge and expertise gained through years in the cleaning business. The idea is also unique in that it may contribute to an increase in job opportunities for the intellectually handicapped.
More [In Japanese]
You can find out about the benefits for competition participants, the screening process and the schedule.
The following themes will also be considered for this program:
Business proposals may also be submitted for multifaceted social issues that involve several focus areas.
Note: business proposals focusing only on infrastructure technologies (e.g. AI and blockchains) will not be accepted.