A Growing Renewable Energy Industry
Interest in renewable energy sources has been growing in recent years. Globally, renewable energy has become a core target for energy-related investment and a massive growth market has come into being. Aiming for a more sustainable society, the Mitsubishi companies are working to turn solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and other renewables into the main sources of our electrical power, and this is creating opportunities for new growth.
Solar Power Generation
Clean Solar Projects Keep Rolling Out
The Mitsubishi Kakoki group of companies is contributing to the formation of a recycling-based society as they give consideration to the prevention of global warming and to environmental preservation, and to the supply of clean energy using renewable energy. In September 2017, Akagi Shizen Energy ( LLC), a joint-venture in which Mitsubishi Kakoki is a partner, commissioned a 2,245 kilowatt solar power plant in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. Meanwhile, LM Sun Power, a joint corporation of Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance and Mitsubishi Materials, owns five solar power plants that are in operation. And MUFG Bank has entered a loan contract with a special purpose company (SPC) financed by Sonnedix Japan for the construction of a 46.6 megawatt solar power plant in Iwate Prefecture.
Biomass Power Generation
Generating Power from Food Waste
Mitsubishi Materials has established New Energy Fujimino in Saitama Prefecture to enter the food-waste biomass business. Large quantities of food waste are generated in cities but recycling it into animal feed or fertilizers is difficult. This is why biogas technology, which ferments food waste to give off methane and produce power and heat energy, has been attracting attention in recent years as it helps to reduce incinerator waste and prevent global warming. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Corporation Power, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation, has joined with the Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. to establish a new joint venture, the Aioi Bioenergy Corporation. This project is aimed at changing the fuel used at Aioi Power Station from the current heavy oil or crude oil sources to woody biomass and to promote biomass power generation in Japan.
Wind Power Generation
Global Participation in Wind Power
Mitsubishi Corporation has acquired through its whollyowned UK subsidiary Diamond Generating Europe a 33.4% stake in Moray Offshore Windfarm (East) Limited (MOWEL) from the Spanish energy company EDP Renewables. MOWEL
has developed the Moray East Windfarm located 22 kilometers from the coast of Scotland in the Moray Firth. It will start construction in 2018 and expects the wind farm to go into commission in 2022.
Moray East has signed a conditional agreement for the supply and installation of 100 units of V164-9.5 MW™ offshore wind turbine generators with MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group through a 50-50 joint venture with Vestas. The V164-9.5 MW™ was the world’s most powerful wind turbine until MHI Vestas made available commercially the V164-10.0 MW™ in September 2018. The V164-10.0 MW™ is the world’s first double-digit offshore wind turbine and is a testament to the Mitsubishi companies’commitment to the growing renewable energy industry.
V2G Demonstrator Project Using EVs as a Virtual Power Plant Resource
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and six other companies have been selected by the Ministry for Economy, Transport and Infrastructure (METI) to receive grants for “A Demonstrator Project for A Virtual Power Plant* Utilizing Consumer Energy Resources (V2G Aggregator Project).” The Project aims to build a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) system, and a business model that utilizes the electricity storage capabilities of multiple EV/PHEVs to regulate power demand and supply between the grid and EV/PHEV. The companies will also work to establish a V2G business model to encourage sustainable adoption of renewable energy sources and power grid stabilization. Demonstrator Project sites will include the Mitsubishi Motors Okazaki Plant in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, and the Shizuoka Branch of Shizuoka Gas.
AP Development Aims at Carbon Cycle
Artificial photosynthesis is a converting process from energetically little-value materials such as water and carbon dioxide (CO2) into high-energy substances such as hydrogen and organic compounds using solar energy. It promises to be a technology that greatly contributes to the mitigation of CO2 emissions and fossil resource consumption. Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings subsidiary, Mitsubishi Chemical (MCC) has been participating in the Artificial Photosynthesis Project coordinated by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), as a member of the Japan Technological Research Association of Artificial Photosynthetic Chemical Process. Working on joint research and development with many Japanese companies and research institutions, MCC contributes to all three themes of the project: photocatalyst design, high performance of separation membranes and high performance of the catalytic process for olefin production. Especially in the catalytic process for olefin production, MCC has steadily made achievements by demonstrating innovative technologies such as a reactive separation process surpassing the limitation of thermodynamic equilibrium and a hyper-stable catalyst under very severe conditions in smallscale pilot plants.
Geothermal Power Generation
Generating Power Using Mining Technology
As one sector of its renewable energy business, Mitsubishi Materials is engaged in the development of geothermal energy resources utilizing subsurface
exploration technology nurtured through the company’s mining operations. Geothermal power is one of the most promising sources of renewable energy because, unaffected by the weather, it is capable of providing a stable power supply. The company started operation of the Onuma Geothermal Power Plant in Akita Prefecture in 1974.
Mitsubishi Materials has also been involved with the Sumikawa Geothermal Power Plant since 1995 to supply steam, together with Mitsubishi Gas Chemical. And now, both companies are working for the construction of the Wasabizawa Geothermal Power Plant in Akita Prefecture and the Appi Geothermal Power Plant in Iwate Prefecture as joint activities with J-POWER.