What's New - FY 2013

A SATREPS project shows potentially reduction of power consumption by factories in India

11 September 2013 / India

This is a part of the project JICA and JST support in the name of SATREPS
The best part is the implementation of Japanese pump to reduce the cost by 77%!
Doesn't matter you are tree huger or not. You will save money and environment.
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First of its kind in India: Electric Heat Pump (EHP) system at Milk Plant, Chandigarh
http://www.iges.or.jp/en/business/20130628.html

http://www.jst.go.jp/global/english/kadai/h2111_india.html

World’s First Success in Controlling the ‘Length’ of Super-molecular Polymers through Self-Organization

A project leader of a SATREPS project warned the impact of the environmental destruction

5 September 2013 / Philipine

Dr. Nadaoka and Fortes mentions important things in the article. They are currently work on the project "Project on Integrated Coastal Ecosystem Conservation and Adaptive Management under Local and Global Environmental Impacts in the Philippines" Please check

http://www.jst.go.jp/global/english/kadai/h2109_pilipinas.html
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Tourism threatening white sand beaches, coral reefs in Asia

BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines--The white sand beaches make Boracay island one of the world's favorite tourist destinations.

However, over-development and a lack of social infrastructure are threatening to swallow up this valuable tourist asset.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201308260092

ADB will invest in a SATREPS project

18 June 2013 / Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia, June 18 - A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the Asia Development Bank (ADB), JICA, and PERTAMINA at a headquarters of PERTAMINA, the biggest oil company in Indonesia.

This is the first time that any third party has invested in an existing SATREPS project. To date, 78 SATREPS projects have been implemented in the world.
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ADB will invest in Institute Teknologi Bandung (ITB) to conduct a feasibility study on gas fields in the Gundih Area - Central Java Province, Indonesia. They will study the possibility of sealing carbon dioxide deep inside the earth, in a process called "carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS)". After sites for CO2 storage are determined, ADB would pay the cost for CCS based on request from the Indonesian governmen. ADB has confirmed that they have prepared 10 to 12 million U.S. dollars for the pilot study. The purpose of this pilot study is to investigate the potential for used gas wells be used for CCS. The establishment of CCS sites is a core aspect of the existing "Pilot Study for Carbon Sequestration and Monitoring in Gundih Area - Central Java Province, Indonesia". Therefore, the commitment from the ADB is highly meaningful as it will allow the project to continue for another 4 years.

?The project is lead by Dr. Toshifumi Matsuoka, a professor at the Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University. The mission of the project is to conduct research towards resolving the problem of CO2 emissions associated with natural gas production.

The Indonesian government plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 26% by the year 2020. However, large quantities of CO2 are released into the atmosphere during extraction of natural gas from gas fields. This issue now attracting attention as a significant problem, leading the Japan-Indonesia joint research team to focus on the development of CCS systems.

Before this milestone investment, ADB had conducted its own survey for potential CCS in Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Following that survey, ADB approached the Indonesian government to ask for their cooperation in carrying out a pilot study in Indonesia who suggested that ADB should collaborate with the existing SATREPS project.

At this event, the core members of the project gathered together, reflecting the high expectations for the project. "It has been long path to get to this point today and I am so impressed. From now on, we will need your cooperation as well to carry this project forward."said Dr. Pradeep Tharakan, Energy Specialist, ADB.
Reference:

Project website:
http://www.jst.go.jp/global/english/kadai/h2305_indonesia.html

-Work @ Nanyang Technological University, Singapore-

31 August 2013 / Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

"The 2014 Nanyang Assistant Professorship Call" has been launched and the deadline for this call is 31 August 2013.

Come and work at NTU, the global hub of education and research!

Please visit the website for more details.
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For more information, please visit www3.ntu.edu.sg/nap/

 

Incinerated ash forms the soil of an island

04 July 2013 / @ Semakau Landfill

    

Singapore is one of the fastest growing countries worldwide and shows many aspects of modernization: more greenery in urban areas, high-rise buildings, amusement spots as well as fancy restaurants. The younger generations of Singaporeans embrace its international atmosphere while the older generations struggle to keep up with the rapid changes in society. Meanwhile, such rapid modernization raises big issue: the vast quantity of garbage produced by business and residency.
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Singapore creates 19,862 tons of garbage per day but has established a very sophisticated recycling system. According to National Environmental Agency (NEA), 60% of the garbage produced daily, some 11,846 tons, will be recycled. Of the remaining amount, 37% will be distributed among 4 incineration sites to be burned, and the final 3% of leftover garbage will go untreated. As a result, ashes from those incineration sites and the 3% of leftover garbage need to be treated further. That is where landfill fits in.

Singapore is a very tiny island-country no more than a small dot on the map of Southeast Asia. Scarcity of land means that the country heavily depends on modern waste disposal techniques, among which is Singapore's last standing offshore dumping site: "Semakau Landfill"

It takes about half an hour to reach the landfill by boat from Tuas marine transfer station where in the western part of Singapore. This landfill island is 350 hectors in a area (a little smaller than New York's Central Park) and it is surrounded by a wall 7 km-long. The wall is made of sand, rock, clay and a geomembrane of polyethylene. It is this wall, that separats this man-made island from the outside environment; namely, the ocean.

On the island, there are distinguishable areas, called "phase 1" and "phase 2". The phase 1 area is also divided into 11 pits or "cells", which these pits are filled with ashes from the mainland incinerators and covered by plants. On the other hand, the phase 2 area is just a big lake that is open to the ocean. According to NEA, once they have filled in all the cells with trash, they will move onto the phase 2 area. However, they will not build small cells within because of the scarcity of sand.

The demand for sand is high and rising in Singapore because of the drastic increase in consumption of concrete for buildings. They used to import sand from large neighboring countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. But both countries banned to the export of sand to Singapore several years ago. Since then, the price of sand has skyrocketed. Nowadays, it costs 40dollars per ton. Mr. Ong Chong Peng, general manager of Semakau Landfill explained that the process was easier to control using cells but the cost of sand was a big concern. The big lake, as a result, will have to wait until 2045 before it can be filled up.

The landfill has some very unique features compared to landfill sites in other countries, mainly that the land is used for multiple purposes. Although this is an operational landfill site, it also attracts tourists. The landfill was originally constructed on "Pulau Semakau" (Semakau Island), and today, the original island area has been reserved for ecotourism and catch-and-release fishing. Children and adults alike visit Pulau Semakau to enjoy and observe over700 hundred species of fauna and flora. Every year, over 11,000 thousand people visit this island. In addition to the tourism industry, there are also several businesses based on the island. There is a company that runs a fishery where they culture sea bass which they sell in local markets. One startup even tries to farm Jatropha for bio-diesel fuel. As more area becomes available, NEA wants to attract even more business over here.

The way Singapore manages this landfill is very good, but their concern is what happens "after Semakau". There is currently no plan to construct other landfills despite the expectation that garbage production will increase as the population grows. Now, NEA is focusing on upgrading its incinerators, but they need to consider the balance between initial costs and returns. Current models produce only ashes as a by-product, which still contain condensed heavy metals. More advanced models can separate heavy metals as slag from the ashes. So ashes could in fact be used non-structural buildings as an ingredient of concrete.

In the office at Semakau landfill, I asked one of officials how they treat garbage produced on-site (empty bottles, etc.) He told me "they will be taken back to the mainland to be incinerated. Only ashes can be re-entered at Semakau."

The 1st Anniversary of the e-ASIA JRP!

28 June 2013 / Singapore

It has been one year since the e-ASIA Joint Research Program (e-ASIA JRP) was formally inaugurated on the 28th of June 2012, thanks to the enthusiasm of our members.

Happy 1st Anniversary!

Please check out the comments from JST president Dr. Nakamura on our website.
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For more information, please visit www.the-easia.org/jrp/

A SATREPS project launched a new website

June 5, 2013 / Vietnam

One of experts for SATREPS project called "Development of Landslide Risk Assessment Technology along Transport Arteries in Viet Nam Reducing Landslide Disasters that Block Sustainable Development across the Country" sets up a new website, "Development of Landslide Risk Assessment Technology along Transportation Arteries in Viet Nam" Please go check out.

http://www.iclhq.org/satviet/dlaratav_top.html

Water Reuse is needed? - It might bring a solution for tourist spots

    

17 May 2013 @ Chang Mai, Thailand / @Asia Pacific Water Summit (APWS) in Chiang Mai, Thailand (May 14-20)

During the recent Asia Pacific Water Summit (APWS) in Chang Mai, Thailand (May 14 - 20), there were a number of workshops. I have already introduced one of them organized by IMPAC-T team called "Hydro-Meteorological Prediction and Adaptation to Climate Change in Thailand and Asia Pacific Countries" in my previous report. So at this time I introduce another workshop that I attended.
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On the second day of the APWS technical workshop, I attended the workshop "Water Reuse Technology and Management in Tropical Regions" organized by WateR-InTro* team that is one of 66 SATREPS projects in operation all over the world. The purpose of this workshop was to share the idea of its comprehensive project; how they enlighten industries and even the residential to realize the importance of water recycle.

*Research and Development for Water Reuse Technology in Tropical Regions

Thai government has enthusiastically developed the system to monitor water quality nation-widely. In a part of it, they established the Environmental Research and Training Centre (ERTC) in 1992 by the support of JICA.
ERTC is a division operating under the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion (DEQP) and under the overall jurisdiction of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental (MONRE). The fundamental purports of ERTC are to carry out research and to provide technical support in the implementation of natural resources and environmental policy and natural resources and environmental initiatives. Of course, that includes controling water quality and its recycling.

With an opening speech by, Ms. Rachanee Emaruchi, director general of DEQP, and Dr. Kazuo YAMAMOTO, WateR-InTro project manager, Tokyo University, four presenters showed the various approaches to reuse water.
The first presenter, Dr. Variga Swaittayotin presented "development of water quality information platform for Thailand" According to his talk, the purpose of the platform is 1) to develop nation-wide water quality (WQ) criteria reference using monitoring data of Chao Phraya River water 2) to evaluate WQ level of various water resources available in a community including reclaiming water 3) to evaluate several water usage in terms of different acceptable levels of water quality 4) to promote efficient allocation of water resource for non-portable water usage. Overall, they try to build a system to gather any water-related data to classify the water quality and its usage. For example, some water can be used for gardening or flushing toilet but not for drinks.
His talk also suggested that Chao Phraya River is very essential for agriculture in Thailand even though it might cause a big damage when it gets flooded.

The final part of the workshop was a panel discussion that in fact really intrigued. Although the original topic of the discussion was supposed to focus on "water reuse for water security in tropical region" the core topic somehow shifted to "why do we have to secure reuse water in Thailand?" It was very interesting direction of talks. According to one of panelists, Dr. Motoyuki SUZUKI said "Thailand is in tropical climate region with a full of water resource, why should they care about water reuse? They'd rather care how to reduce the waste" Well, in fact, recent researches suggested that in the tropical region, the risk of flood will increase in the near future due to climate change. So they don't really need to take recycling water into consideration?

During the discussion, panelists argued that there must be different level and quality of water used. Therefore the most important thing is to develop the platform to monitor water quality. Then they could introduce water recycle system in case of need. Mr. Kawabata, a representative from JICA Bangkok, also emphasized the importance of developing water reuse system. He said the situation is different in countries for securing water so Thai can build a platform and introduce it into other countries.

Some pointed out that such technology is required for big cities. Again, Dr. Suzuki challenged on that matter. According to him, there only 30% of whole population lives in urban areas in Thai while 70% lives in urban areas in Japan. And the system has been established already to treat sewage in Thai. Then why bother with disruptive technologies?

Well, beyond a discussion, Dr. Yamamoto's innovative bioreactor for recycling water is quite impressive. I once saw the small reactor set-up in the backyard of the campus at Chulalongkorn University almost two years ago. It recycled wasted water from drainage on the campus and the recycled water used for watering plants. Meanwhile methane gas produced from the tank was piped to a dining section for cooking.

During the discussion, I raised a question. Maybe Thai is with a full of water but isn't any way to adapt that technology? How about any place where new sewage system is too expensive to be built but need to clean up discharge water? For example, resort islands where hotels and guest houses are clustered. Tourists come to these islands for unforgettable beautiful sceneries. But this brings a kind of dilemma; more tourists a place attracts, then more waste is produced and damage the environment if it's not treated in a proper way. Between buildings and the sea, they set up the reactor to filter wasted water and discharge cleaner one. Maybe methane gas can be used for public purpose.

When I asked the panelists about the idea, Dr. Yamamoto added "even you can charge the cost on those hotels because they need the environment!"

It might take for a while that the WateR-InTro project will be understood by the public and implemented into the real world. However, it has potential and need to encourage people to adapt it.

http://www.envrisk.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/waterintro/
http://www.jst.go.jp/global/english/index.html

The IMPAC-T team at water summit - Trying to bring a real impact on the summit

18 May 2013 @ Chang Mai, Thailand / Asia Pacific Water Summit (APWS) in Chiang Mai, Thailand (May 14-20)

    

During the recent Asia Pacific Water Summit (APWS) in Chiang Mai, Thailand (May 14-20), there were a number of workshops which gave participants opportunities to hear from and ask question of experts on water resources and climate change.
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Therefore, on the 18th of May at APWS, I was a very interested spectator at a technical workshop entitled "Hydro-Meteorological Prediction and Adaptation to Climate Change in Thailand and Asia Pacific Countries".

The workshop was organized by IMPAC-T, which is one of 66 SATREPS worldwide projects currently in operation, and the purpose of the workshop was to share its ideas on climate change and meteorological prediction.
Flooding especially has been getting more attention since the severe Thailand floods in 2011. In that particular case, over 15-billion cubic meters of water spilled from the Chao Praya river, causing untold agricultural and factory damage, and causing about $44-billion worth of economic damage to Thailand. It has since became widely known as one of the biggest natural disasters in the South-east Asian region.

Following and opening speeches by Dr. Thanya KIATIWAT (Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Kasetsart University), and moderator, Mr. Nontawat Janjaroen (IMPAC-T Project Manager, Faculty of Engineering, Kasetsart University), the IMPAC-T team leader, Dr. Taikan Oki and four of his team presented the latest progress of the project.

The goal of the project is to develop an integrated water resources model which takes into account land surface, irrigation, rivers, dams and crops. It also aims to provide accurate rainfall data for the purpose of managing water resources better.

For these reasons, the IMPAC-T team is building an early warning system for water-related disasters by integrating observational data and models developed by their research. As part of this project, the team is working with with the Foundation of River and Basin Integrated Communications (FRICS) and the Thailand government to develop an early flood warning system.

As an ultimate goal, IMPAC-T aims to develop a National Strategic Plan in Water Sectors for the Adaptation Measures under Climate Change.

Following the presentations and a photo session, there was a panel discussion which quickly addressed the question of trans-disciplinary studies among policy makers and how the skills of officers in operational agencies, citizens, and researchers can be developed to support decision-making in the field of water resources management in a time of a changing climate.

While there could never be an answer to those questions within such a limited time, it was clear a major problem was that among Thai government organizations, information had become fragmented due to a lack of integration between systems. So to ensure the data IMPAC-T provides to the Thai government is useful, all related organizations must be able to equally access it and be able to cooperate in their efforts to improve the situation.
There was also good news that the Thailand government has established a single command center for water resource management which will lead to greater sharing of information amongst multiple organizations.

During the panel discussion, it was clear there was a common understanding among the participants that climate change was occurring and would bring more impact on our lands no matter whether action was taken or not.
Now meteorological modeling and climate analysis have both become much more sophisticated, it is time for us to consider how we can implement change to provide the outcomes we require without political indecision.

e-ASIA JRP "Disaster Prevention" Workshop

04 June 2013 / Jakarta, Indonesia

A workshop on "Disaster Prevention" will be held on the 4th of June in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The objectives of this workshop are to disseminate information on the e-ASIA Joint Research Program and to promote researcher interaction in the region.

Anyone who is interested in attending this workshop, please contact the Program Secretariat (e2kishid@jst.go.jp).

For more information, please visit www.the-easia.org/jrp/

e-ASIA JRP "3rd Quarter Activity Report"

15 April 2013 / Singapore

The 3rd Quarter Activity Report is now posted on our website.

Please check what we have done from here:
https://www.the-easia.org/jrp/downloads

Application deadline is re-extended to April 15th(Mon)! The e-ASIA JRP: Japanese-Vietnamese-Filipino Joint Call for Proposals in Infectious Diseases

05 April 2013 / Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines

Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of Vietnam, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) of the Philippines and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) invite researchers from their countries to submit joint proposals for cooperative research projects in the field of Infectious Diseases, concentrating on vaccine development, drug-resistance and epidemiology of the following prioritized diseases:
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*Dengue Fever (including early-warning systems thereof)
*Malaria
*Influenza
*Tuberculosis
*Leptospirosis

The deadline for submission is re-extended to April 15th (Mon).

Looking forward to receiving your applications!

*For Japanese researchers, please contact JST before you apply.

For more information, please visit http://www.jst.go.jp/sicp/guidelines_easia_jrp_2nd.pdf

If a mouse with a broken spine could walk, then why not human?

02 April 2013 @Singapore / Biopolis, Matrix

  

At 11:00 am, half an hour before today's guest speaker was due to give his speech, the auditorium at Matrix, Biopolis in Singapore was already half-filled with people. I have often come to listen to talks here but I have rarely seen this largest auditorium room at Matrix being so busy before a talk.
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Today, Dr. Shinya Yamanaka delivered a special talk entitled "Recent Progress in iPS Cell Research Towards Regenerative Medicine".

The Nobel laureate has been enthusiastically working on the advanced research for iPS cell development that made him world-famous last year when he was awarded the Prize, and today, he introduced recent research activities derived from his own remarkable discovery.

He began with an amusing anecdote from his experience in Stockhol when he received his Nobel Prize. When he was asked to write his signature on the back of a chair, he thought that all laureates would be doing the same on their own chairs. But it turned out the chair was supposed to be shared by all those who shared the prize. (Maybe that made his name world-famous) After this witty start, Dr. Yamanaka began to talk about the main topic: regenerative medicine.

Currently Dr. Yamanaka and his team are trying to establish a iPS cell bank that functions like blood banks or eye banks, where they store fresh iPS cells for future use.

However, all research activities so far have been dependant on candidates donating their cells. According to Dr. Yamanaka, it has to be done on quality control of iPS cells (bear in mind that, not all cells can be equally induced to be pluripotent)

Then, Dr. Yamanaka presented some ongoing preclinical studies in Japan; generating DA neurons for treatment of Parkinson's disease; PRE for macular degeneration; cardiac cells for cardiac failure; neural progenitor for spinal cord injury; platelets for platelet deficiency.
What truly amazed me was the video clip he showed of two mice.

One limped due to a damaged spinal cord. The other one, however, had been injected with iPS cell-origin nerve cells (neural progenitor) , and had made a miraculous recovery despite its damaged spine. It was walking around freely and even sniffing the camera!

Although it will certainly be a while before clinical trials, that short video clip can surely give hope to people who thought they would never stand up or walk again.

Regeneration of our body parts has previously been no more than a Si-Fi fantacy; something you only read about in books or saw in movies. But the science of the 21st century is going to change all that. Science can ensure that this kind of medicine develops from the realm of fairly tale to real-life treatment.

At the end of his talk, Dr. Yamanaka kindly expressed his gratitude to all of his team members who have worked with him to explore the future of iPS cells. This field is very new and no one can predict how it will go. It will surely raise both technical and ethical issues. However, I am certain that many people are waiting in eager anticipation of their progress.

<New Member> U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) becomes a formal Member of the e-ASIA JRP.

01 April 2013 / Singapore

 

U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) becomes a formal Member of the e-ASIA JRP.

With the Ministry of Health, Cambodia's new participation, it is expected that the collaboration in the field of "Infectious Diseases" will be enhanced.
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Please stay tuned for the next Joint Call for Proposals.

For more information, please visit http://www.the-easia.org/jrp/