Dr Barry Hayes, Lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway, with the research team at the Waseda University smart grid laboratory (l-r) Wataru Hirohashi, Professor Hideo Ishii, and Dr Shinya Yoshizawa.
Dec 19 2016 Posted: 09:19 GMT

NUI Galway Engineering lecturer Dr Barry Hayes recently visited the research labs of Professor Hideo Ishii and his team at Waseda University in Tokyo, with the aim of building research links between NUI Galway and the Japanese institution.

Since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in eastern Japan, and the subsequent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, a large part of Japan’s nuclear power generation fleet has been permanently shut down. This left the country facing electricity supply shortages, and has led to a strong national focus in Japan on intelligent energy management and building a smarter, more efficient electricity grid.

Professor Ishii is a principal investigator at Waseda University, which is leading the Japanese national research project ‘Energy Management System (EMS) Demonstration Centre’. This is a large-scale collaboration between eight Japanese universities and 17 companies including the Japanese tech giants Toshiba, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, and Toyota.

Researchers at Waseda University are investigating new energy management systems, which monitor and control energy usage in homes and businesses, in order to better integrate renewable energy sources and reduce environmental impacts. These new technologies and their required telecommunications standards are being tested and demonstrated using full-scale models of typical Japanese homes at the Waseda University EMS Demonstration Centre, a research facility located in the Shinjuku neighbourhood in the heart of Tokyo city.

Plans have been made for further bilateral visits between NUI Galway and Waseda University and student exchanges between the two institutions through the Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) programme.

Dr Hayes said: “It is really impressive to see first-hand the technological advances that have been made in this area in Japan in recent years, and Waseda University are at the forefront of this research. There is great potential for further collaboration with NUI Galway on intelligent energy management systems.”

This research visit was funded by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) International Strategic Cooperation Award (ISCA) Japan programme, which was established in March 2014 after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Taoiseach Enda Kenny exchanged visits and decided to increase cooperative efforts between Ireland and Japan.

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