Kick-Off Symposium (February 3,2014)

Speech 1 The second wave in carbon innovation.Leveraging nanocarbons to develop water production systems.

Research Leader
Morinobu Endo
Distinguished Professor
Institute of Carbon Science and Technology,
Interdisciplinary Cluster for Cutting Edge Research,
Shinshu University

We are developing novel carbon technologies. We will be aiming to develop new membranes for seawater desalination and resource extraction by improving and enhancing existing organic membrane technologies. We will also seek to develop other materials required for innovation.

Currently, Japan imports close to 30 trillion yen worth of mineral fuels annually. Developing technologies for separating water from fossil fuels would both contribute to the world's stock of sustainability technologies and support the stable supply of imports to Japan.

Other universities and research institutions throughout the world are also conducting research on technologies for using carbon to purify water and separate resources. However, the science and chemistry of carbon nanospaces is still uncharted territory. As such, it could be seen as the second wave in carbon innovation, following the first wave of carbon fiber. We aim to chart this carbon nanospace territory and drive the second wave in carbon innovation at this Center.

Focusing on areas that look likely to address the needs of society in 10 years' time, we will do our utmost to develop technologies that contribute to the world.

Speech 2 Global water issues and membrane-based water treatment technologies. Current status and future outlook: Applying water-related technologies to securing future food supplies and resources.

Sub Project Leader
Masahiro Henmi
Director (Technology)
Technology Center (Water Treatment), 
Research & Development Division
(Toray Singapore Water Research Center)
Toray Industries, Inc.

We are conducting research in reverse osmosis (RO) and nanofiltration membranes as a means of resolving sewage and wastewater treatment, water reuse, and other water issues likely to require increasing attention in the future.

Owing to their high water permeability and outstanding ability to remove ions and other solutes, RO membranes are used in seawater desalination and the treatment of sewage and wastewater for reuse. Carbon technologies should also prove to be effective in controlling pore size and forming thin films. Looking ahead, we aim to improve sewage and wastewater treatment and reuse technologies by using new RO membranes with smooth surfaces that rebuff microorganisms.

There are, however, durability and dirt deposition problems with RO membranes that limit their use as tools for the treatment of produced water from resource extraction processes. Such problems cannot be resolved using separation membranes alone. We will work with everyone else in this Center to overcome these problems and develop novel substance separation materials, production technologies and systems based on Shinshu University's nanocarbon technologies. We will also aim to link these water-related technologies to the securing of future food supplies and other resources.

Speech 3 A sustainable water-human environment based on the general circulation of water. Complementing the Center with a novel perspective.

COI-S Research Leader
Keiko Takahashi
Center for Earth Information Science and Technology (CEIST),
Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)

As a COI satellite complementing the Center of Innovation for which Shinshu University is the core institution, we are conducting R&D aimed at building a sustainable water-human environment using the general circulation of water as a model. Based on a variety of observational data, we will add a cultural and origin of nature perspective to existing investigation and analysis to design models of how human society should interact with water.

We will also use our models, simulations, and scientific evidence to identify ideal conditions and propose environments suited to water and people, and also those tailored to regional characteristics. I feel that we will be able to offer a new perspective to society by pursuing this research.

It is my hope that cooperation between our satellite and the core institution will inject a new perspective into water systems for Japan, and produce outcomes that can be applied to the world at large. As a first step, we aim to create general circulation models for the atmosphere, oceans, and groundwater systems that we will then use to develop maps of the relationship between water and aspects of life such as environment, culture, and biodiversity. From these maps, we will aim to propose new patterns, axes, and indices.