The Tokyo Tech Academy of Energy and Informatics hosted its first Energy & Informatics International Forum from December 15 to 18, 2021. The hybrid event, which consisted of student presentation sessions, workshops, special lectures, and interviews with mentors, attracting over 100 in-person and online participants from Tokyo Tech and the Institute’s partner companies and universities both at home and abroad.
All affiliations in this article were accurate at the time of the event.
Student presentation sessions
Presentations by students from the Academy of Energy and Informatics and oversea partner institutions were held on three topics — materials and devices for energy, reactions for energy, and systems and data science for energy. These presentations were spread out across eight sessions on Days One and Two to ensure that participants from Japan, Europe, and the US could join despite the time differences. Each presentation was followed by a lively Q&A portion and exchange of opinions.
Each presentation was evaluated by Tokyo Tech faculty members, partner company employees, and partner institution members who participated in each respective session. One Gold Medal award and seven Silver Medal awards were announced at a later date.
Gold Medal award
The value of in-reservoir energy storage for flexible operation of geothermal systems
Wilson A Ricks, Princeton University
Other medal winners can be viewed on the academy’s website.
Student workshops were also held throughout the four-day forum to allow students from both Europe and the US to participate at appropriate times of the day. Each group, consisting of 3-4 students from different research fields and nationalities, engaged in lively discussions and collaborative research on the potential of big data science in energy society and innovative proposals regarding solutions for global warming. The groups utilized various tools such as Zoom, Miro, and oVice to conduct their work with their colleagues across the globe and gave group presentations on the last day of the forum.
At the end of this session, the Best Collaboration Award was presented to two groups.
Best Collaboration Award winners
Decision making with big data science to tackle global warming
David L. Simeroth, Georgia Institute of Technology
Taichi Watanabe, 1st-year doctoral student, Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Yiwei Zhang, 1st-year doctoral student, Chemical Science and Engineering
Natsuki Otoshi, 2nd-year master’s student, Chemical Science and Engineering
Developing the optimal roadmap towards carbon neutrality
Daichi Sakakibara, 2nd-year master’s student, Materials Science and Engineering
Kexin Chen, 1st-year doctoral student, Chemical Science and Engineering
Abraham Castro Garcia, 1st-year doctoral student, Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering
The corporate and international mentoring system of the Tokyo Tech Academy of Energy and Informatics is designed to help students develop a multifaceted perspective through guidance and interviews with mentors selected from the InfoSyEnergy Research and Education Consortium’s domestic and international partners, which include both companies and world-leading universities. During the 1st Energy & Informatics International Forum, time was also set aside for online and in-person mentor interviews so students could gauge their knowledge and abilities, and build on their strengths.
Online technical tours
The 1st Energy & Informatics International Forum also initially included visits to energy-related facilities and learning sessions about the energy situation in the host country. However, due to the hybrid nature of the event, these tours were moved online.
Virtual tour 1 – State of Hawaii
In the first tour, participants learned about the State of Hawaii’s bold goal of achieving 100 percent carbon neutrality and 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045. Melissa Miyashiro, executive director of the NPO Blue Planet Foundation, spoke about the organization’s work in achieving this goal and the latest trends in renewable energy in Hawaii.
Virtual tour 2 – Obama Onsen and binary cycle power generation in Nagasaki Prefecture
During the second tour, participants heard from the Obama Spring Tourism Association about the local hot springs and carbonate springs in the Obama area, and received an introduction to the binary cycle power methods and facilities of New Energy Development Co., Ltd.
Virtual tour 3 – Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute, AIST (FREA)
The third virtual tour was an introduction to the Fukushima Renewable Energy Laboratory (FREA) in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture, which was established by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).
Keynote speeches and invited lectures
Forum participants were also treated to a range of speeches and lectures from leading researchers around the world. These included the following:
The magic mix for sustainable energy hydrogen, carbon dioxide, synthetic and natural hydrocarbons: Reaction and separation technologies to make it work!
Professor Andrei G. Fedorov, Georgia Institute of Technology
Lithium-ion battery degradation and its diagnosis
Professor Hajime Arai, Tokyo Tech
Seasonality in the impact of solar power generation on the electricity price level and variability
Professor Kazuhiko Ohashi, Tokyo Tech / Hitotsubashi University
Challenges and pathways for accelerating the sustainable energy transition
Professor Reinhard Madlener, RWTH Aachen University
Engineering next-generation nitride-based light emitters & reflectors
Professor Michael Gordon, University of California, Santa Barbara
Occupancy sensing for smart buildings
Professor Lihua Xie, Nanyang Technological University
Distributed decision making for renewable-rich grid edge
Doctor Anuradha Annaswamy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Tokyo Tech Academy of Energy and Informatics
The Tokyo Tech Academy of Energy and Informatics was established to develop multi-scope energy professionals who will help realize a sustainable, human-centric energy society free of usage constraints such as costs and CO2 emissions. The academy’s five-year integrated doctoral program was selected by MEXT as a Doctoral Program for World-leading Innovation and Smart Education (WISE) in academic year 2020. Created in collaboration with universities, research institutes, and businesses at home and abroad, this is the third WISE program to emerge from Tokyo Tech. Program participants have the opportunity to grow into masters of multidisciplinary energy science who transform and design a new energy society using big data science and social design skills.
InfoSyEnergy Research and Education Consortium
The InfoSyEnergy Research and Education Consortium aims to design a sustainable energy society by combining AI and data science with various technologies, systems, and energy scenarios. It consists of dozens of collaborating universities, companies, public institutions, and local governments that work together to promote sustainability in the field of energy. This academia-industry collaboration platform also includes over 70 faculty members from across Tokyo Tech who strive to connect students, academics, and industry players around the world and train the next generation of scientists to lead a sustainable energy society of the future.