Environment – Electronic Systems Group
Business Overview and Environmental Issues for Which Risks and Opportunities Have Been Recognized and Evaluated
Safeguarding People's Lives and Contributing to Space Research and Cutting-Edge Technologies
The Electronic Systems Group manufactures communications, broadcast, and observation satellites, ground control systems required for satellite operations, and large telescopes such as the Subaru Telescope. In this way, we are safeguarding people's lives and contributing to space research and cutting-edge technologies. We also supply electronics equipment such as contact image sensors used in copiers and modules for millimeter-wave radar used in vehicle safety systems to communications companies and automotive manufacturers. Our main sites in Japan are the Kamakura Works and our Communication System Center in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture. At these sites, as well as reducing CO2 from production, we are involved in initiatives including preserving biodiversity, local cleanup activities, and visits to local elementary and junior high schools to teach children about the environment.
Environmental Issues for Which Risks and Opportunities Have Been Recognized and Evaluated
- Climate change
- Conservation of biodiversity in operating areas
Message from Electronic Systems Group
Working to Solve Environmental Problems and Develop Products for Next-Generation Energy Solutions
The products of the Electronic Systems Group play a vital role in solving humankind's shared environmental problems and in the development of next-generation energy solutions. For example, we are the primary contractor for manufacturing the "IBUKI" (GOSAT) launched in 2009 and GOSAT-2 scheduled for launch in fiscal 2018, which are designed to observe the concentration distribution of greenhouse gases and monitor the emission and absorption of these gases, thereby assisting in the prevention of global warming. Launched in 2014, the DAICHI-2 Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS-2) contributes to safeguarding people’s lives and solving global-scale environmental problems. Additionally, the geostationary meteorological satellites Himawari-8 (launched in 2014 and operating from July 7, 2015) and Himawari-9 (launched in November 2016 and in standby operation from March 10, 2017) provide even greater observation capabilities for monitoring global warming and weather phenomena. We are also researching space-based solar power generation, a method of generating electricity from sunlight in outer space and sending the electricity back to Earth via radio waves for a 24-hour-a-day stable supply of electricity.
Meanwhile, one of our ground-based solutions is Doppler Lidar, which can remotely measure the moving speed of dust and particulates in the atmosphere. Doppler Lidar can also monitor and forecast substances that have an environmental impact on the basis of automobile emissions or the heat-island effect. It is expected that this technology will contribute to the renewable energy domain through more efficient control of wind farms and extending the service life of wind turbines.
We are also working to reduce CO2 emissions from the production of these products and enhance the efficiency of energy utilization. More specifically, most precision electronic devices are manufactured in cleanrooms and require the use of testing equipment. As such, we are introducing initiatives to improve the operation of air conditioning and testing equipment so that energy is used more efficiently.
Initiatives Contributing to the Environment and Society
Contributing to World-Leading Global Environment Observation
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) selected Mitsubishi Electric as the primary contractor for GOSAT-2.*1 The satellite is scheduled for launch in fiscal 2018 as the successor to the "IBUKI" (GOSAT) (launched in January 2009), which was developed as the world’s first satellite dedicated to space observation of the concentration distribution of greenhouse gases.
GOSAT-2 is equipped with high-performance observation sensors that will enable more precise measurements of greenhouse gas concentration distribution. It will also estimate particulate matter (black carbon, PM2.5, etc.), a capability which assists in monitoring atmospheric pollution. This time, Mitsubishi Electric is in charge of the entire project, including development and production of the satellite system and observation sensors, constructing the ground-based facilities, and overseeing satellite control operations after launch.
Moreover, GOSAT-2 is expected to be a focal point in international coordination and cooperation, with several greenhouse gas observing satellites following in the footsteps of IBUKI, such as OCO-2 launched by the United States in 2014 and Europe’s CarbonSat, which is scheduled for launch in the future.
- GOSAT-2: Greenhouse Gases Observing SATellite-2
Contributing to Enhanced Monitoring Capabilities of Weather Phenomena and the Global Environment
The weather forecast is part of our daily lives. Following Himawari-7, which continues to operate smoothly, Mitsubishi Electric developed the Himawari-8 and Himawari-9. Himawari-8 was launched in 2014 and began operation on July 7, 2015. Himawari-9, which has the same performance as Himawari-8, was launched in 2016, and began standby operation (as a backup for Himawari-8) on March 10, 2017.
Equipped with world-leading next-generation meteorological observation sensors, Himawari-8 and Himawari-9 enable an advanced level of monitoring atmospheric phenomena (typhoons, torrential rain, etc.) and the global environment (sea ice, volcanic ash, yellow sand phenomena, etc.) thanks to enhanced resolution and more observation channels, with a significant reduction in imaging time.
Contributing to Understanding Disaster Situations and Monitoring of Oceans and Forests
Satellite applications such as disaster scene observation and monitoring of forests and agriculture are expanding and becoming common around the globe. Mitsubishi Electric's Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 "DAICHI-2" (ALOS-2) is a global observation satellite launched on May 24, 2014 with the objectives of safeguarding people's lives and solving global-scale environmental problems. As the main contractor for "DAICHI-2", the successor to "DAICHI", Mitsubishi Electric was in charge of manufacturing the satellite, the synthetic aperture radar, and ground-based control and processing systems.
"DAICHI-2" is continuing and developing the missions of mapping, regional observation, understanding disaster status, and resource exploration. It is useful for understanding the growth status of grains and other crops, and is supporting the smooth supply of resources and energy, as well as international initiatives to tackle global environmental problems. In addition, "DAICHI-2" can assist in monitoring the illegal logging of forests and observation of forest deterioration in tropical rainforest zones such as Southeast Asia and Brazil.
Ecological Contributions through Various Uses of Highly Precise Positioning Data
The Quasi-Zenith Satellite System, a system of positioning satellites especially for use by Japan, has an orbit with a large period of time spent near the zenith above Japan. As a result, positioning signals can be sent to spots where positioning was previously difficult, such as places blocked by buildings or mountains. As a supplement to GPS, it has enabled a dramatic improvement in positioning precision: from approximately 10m to the centimeter-level. It is expected that this highly precise positioning data will be used to develop solutions contributing to the environment in diverse fields; for example, eco-drive control and automatic driving using road elevation and positioning data in the automotive sector, more efficient railcar operation and management in the railway sector, and automatic operation of agricultural and construction machinery in the agricultural, construction, and civil engineering sectors.
Doppler Lidar Systems for Wind Resource Assessments
The purpose of Doppler Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) systems is to measure wind velocity and direction by detecting aerosols and their movement in the atmosphere. By conducting remote research of wind conditions, Doppler Lidar now enables real-time measurement of the wind that conventional anemometers are incapable of, such as monitoring and forecasting wind direction in cities (e.g., heat-island phenomenon, environmental impact of substances from automobile emissions, and air pollution), and applications for larger wind generation plants and expanding wind farms. Based on the data obtained, optimum control can be achieved.
One type of Doppler Lidar for wind farms is installed on the nacelle of the wind turbine and measures wind velocity and direction in five to nine directions. Its purpose is to measure wind velocity and direction along the line of sight at a horizontal distance of 40 to 250 meters or more.*2 Measurement data is sent to the turbine in real time, enabling turbine control that optimizes power generation efficiency, protects the wind turbine, and reduces maintenance cost.*3 It is also possible to install Doppler Lidars on offshore wind turbines, or existing wind turbines, and they can be used to monitor and extract observation data from a remote location using wireless monitoring and control functions. Eye-safe wavelength (near-infrared, invisible) Class 1M lasers are used to ensure eye safety.
- Observation distance varies depending on atmospheric conditions.
- Wind turbine power curve can be measured.
Initiatives for Reducing Environmental Impact
Initiatives for Reducing CO2 Emissions in Production
Precision electronic devices are mainly manufactured, assembled, and tested in cleanrooms to maintain quality. In addition, because of the variety of test equipment used, we are striving to reduce CO2 emissions from production by improving productivity and reducing the use of electricity. To achieve this, we adjust the air conditioning of the cleanroom based on whether or not testing equipment is being used. We also analyze the heat in computer server rooms so that hotspots can be eliminated, separate the cold- and hot-air duct work for air conditioners and servers, and optimize air conditioner control.
New Production Building at Kamakura Works – CO2 Emissions Cut by Approx. 23%
The design building of Kamakura Works, which was completed in January 2015, has successfully cut CO2 emissions by implementing the following measures.
Energy Consumption Control
Not only are we controlling and monitoring when lights are turned on and off, and the adjustment of each lighting fixture through the introduction of LED lighting and a layout-free lighting control system, but we are also reducing power used for lighting with automatic ON/OFF control triggered by motion sensors (introduced for common areas and offices). We have also cut the power consumption of air-conditioning systems through the adoption of LOSSNAY ventilation units equipped with a night purge function.*1
Utilization of Natural Ventilation and Natural Light
We installed an Eco-Void, an open-ceiling space in the center of the building spanning from the first floor to the roof. On each floor, windows are positioned to face the Eco-Void, generating an updraft from natural wind pressure and the chimney effect of the space, creating natural ventilation that reduces the need for air-conditioning. Furthermore, we installed a light collection system as the highest point of the Eco Void. It continuously collects natural light and uses a light-tracking sensor to capture the sunlight at its highest intensity, a factor that varies throughout the seasons. Regardless of the season or time of day, natural light is collected from the first floor up, cutting down on electricity consumed for lighting.
Measures Related to Building Structure
By introducing heat insulating sandwich panels*2 and Low–E glass*3 for the exterior walls, we have alleviated the burden of heating and cooling.
- Night purge function: Draws low-temperature external air into the building at night and uses it to lower cooling load when starting air-conditioning equipment the following morning.
- Heat insulating sandwich panels: A building material made from two steel panels with heat insulating material sandwiched in-between. These panels are of a sophisticated design and lightweight, offering excellent insulation performance, strength, fire resistance, durability, and installation ease.
- Low–E (Low Emissivity) glass: A sheet of glass whose surface is coated with a special metallic membrane that consists of tin oxide or silver. The Low-E membrane increases the reflection rate of far-infrared rays. Multi-pane Low-E glass reduces heat transfer from atmospheric radiation, achieving greater insulating performance.