March /2017
(Panoramic View Reports)
Panoramic View of the Energy Field (2017) /CRDS-FY2016-FR-02
Executive Summary

Energy is indispensable for mankind to carry out social and economic activities. In order to realize a sustainable society, research and development aimed at concurrently overcoming 3E+S(Energy Security, Economic efficiency, Environment and Safety) is necessary.

The energy field is described as an integrated engineering and made up of various engineering sectors in order to solve social problems. Related science and technologies (constituent elements) covers a wide range, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, nanotechnology and materials, ICT, biotechnology etc.

This report conducted a panoramic view study taking into consideration the three categories "Energy supply", "Energy use", and "Energy network". For this study, 31 R&D key areas were selected, that should continue to keep track of the trends, and in each individual area. Regarding individual areas, trends and topics of R&D, research themes and international benchmarks were organized.

Based on these surveys, the main trends of world R&D in the energy field are summarized in the following four items.

  1. Technical improvement for low carbonization (energy efficient use and energy conservation)
  2. Measures to cope with massive amount of renewable energy introduction
  3. Responding to energy resources transformation (from fossil fuels to renewable energy)
  4. Safety of nuclear power and preparation to radioactive waste and dismantling

Item1 consists of thermal power, CCS, nuclear power, nuclear fusion, solar power, wind power, geothermal, thermal recycling, thermal storage, combustion, tribology, heat resistant materials, highly lightweight materials and BEMS/HEMS. Item2 consists of coordinated power, EMS, direct current transmission (including superconductivity), energy storage, power electronics and magnets (motor and transformer). Item3 consists of energy career, fuel cell, CCU, biomass and catalysts. According to item4, in response to the Fukushima accident, global efforts are being implemented for these issues.

Based on the above issues as well as social and economic trends, the R&D items in the energy field that Japan should currently challenge as a nation, mainly with universities and other related sectors, are as follows.

  1. Development of novel type of energy network system, utilization of advanced carbon and hydrogen circulation, and electric power/fundamental material coproduction (advanced reaction and separation) in response to massive amount of renewable energy introduction
  2. Establishment of advanced manufacturing base (element technology) contributing to energy high efficient use (low carbonization) : heat and impact resistance technology for materials, high-strength and light-weight technology, multi-materialization, processing technology, tribology technology, high-functioned and high-accurate vibration suppression technology, and coupled analysis for large scale structure