Environment – Public Utility Systems Group
Business Overview and Environmental Issues for Which Risks and Opportunities Have Been Recognized and Evaluated
Providing a Wide Range of Key Products for Social Infrastructure, Including Water Treatment, Roadway, and Rolling Stock Applications
The Public Utility Systems Group offers an extensive range of products and services used in public utilities and transportation to governments, highway and railway operators, and a host of other companies involved in social infrastructure. These solutions include water treatment plant systems, intelligent transport systems, railway information systems, and electromagnetic products for rolling stock. Our aim is to manufacture products that are smaller, weigh less, provide better performance, and operate with higher efficiency, thereby reducing environmental impact by consuming fewer resources and using less electricity. In recent years, we have also placed a focus on next-generation infrastructure. Our efforts include introducing solutions to fully optimize the energy used by railways, energy-saving business related to water treatment processes, and initiatives for the smart community business. At the Kobe Works, Itami Works, Nagasaki Works, and overseas affiliates, where operations include designing and manufacturing products and systems, energy consumption has been reduced by introducing improvements in areas like facilities, testing, and distribution. Initiatives have also been implemented to prevent soil and water pollution and to reduce and control the waste products generated during manufacture, including carefully managing the toxic substances used in painting facilities.
Environmental Issues for Which Risks and Opportunities Have Been Recognized and Evaluated
- Climate change
- Air, water, and soil pollution due to operations and procurement
- Proper management of chemical substances in design and manufacturing
- Waste reduction and management
Message from the Public Utility Systems Group
Helping Build Next-Generation Social Infrastructure with a Broad Range of Technologies and Continuous R&D in Order to Realize the Vision of a Low-Carbon Society
The Public Utility Systems Group provides a host of products that serve a vital, long-term role in social infrastructure, including water treatment facilities, roadways, and rolling stock. As part of this, while ensuring high quality and functionality in design/manufacturing, we are continuing to promote the use of fewer resources and less power with smaller size, greater efficiency, and higher performance as the basis for our aim to realize a low-carbon society.
In recent years, we have seen heightened expectations toward the development of next-generation social infrastructure that makes full use of renewable energies and information and communication technologies (ICT), which supports greater power supply efficiency and optimization. In response, we are working on total energy and environmental solutions for railways. This involves not only the train itself, which consumes the most energy, but also involves the use of IoT*1 and new energy management technologies allowing energy creation and storage at stations, vehicle bases, and across the whole network, with the goal of "total optimization of energy used by railways".
Among these activities, an inverter for rolling stock equipped with a large-capacity, full-SiC power module won the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Minister's Award, the top prize of Excellence in Energy-Conservation Equipment Awards in fiscal 2016, as well as the Excellence Award of the Eco Products Awards and the Ichimura Industrial Award. In addition, the application of SiC power modules in our Station Energy Saving Inverter (S-EIV), which uses surplus regenerative electric power generated when rolling stock is braking as a power source for station lighting and air conditioning, won the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy Director-General's Award in the New Energy Award fiscal 2017. Moving forward, we will continue to work towards saving energy by expanding the applications of SiC power modules.
We have also been focusing on "energy conservation in water treatment processes" which involves wastewater treatment and the purification of plant wastewater. We are developing technologies to efficiently generate OH radicals*2 which can remove persistent organic substances from wastewater, something that is difficult to achieve with conventional technology, to enable efficient water treatment through a simple system. We have also developed a water processing technique using the membrane separation bioreactor (Eco-MBR)*3 which uses ozonized water to clean the membrane filters for treating and recycling municipal and industrial wastewater, enabling it to treat twice as much water per membrane filter surface area as conventional methods. Furthermore, the Public Utility Systems Group is expanding its activities outside of Japan, conducting demonstrations and testing in China and Singapore.
Going forward, we will contribute to the realization of a safe, secure, and comfortable society by making full use of the wide ranging technologies that we have developed over the years, as well as ongoing technological development.
- IoT: Internet of Things
- OH radical (Hydroxyl radical): An extremely strong oxidant.
- Immersion-type membrane separation bioreactor (Eco-MBR): A method of cleaning membrane filters used for processing and recycling municipal and industrial wastewater using ozonized water.
Initiatives Contributing to the Environment and Society
Total Energy and Environmental Solutions for Railways
With our commitment to the total optimization of energy used by railways, we are helping to realize the vision of a low-carbon society.
Production of Inverter for Rolling Stock Incorporating Full-SiC Power ModuleClimate change
We produced an inverter equipped with a full-SiC power module for use in rolling stock, which was launched at the end of fiscal 2015. It enables energy savings of approximately 40% compared to conventional vehicles. This product is now being used by many customers.
Production of Station Energy Saving Inverter (S-EIV)Climate change
We have produced and introduced to the market a station auxiliary power system that is capable of supplying the regenerative electric power generated when rolling stock is braking directly to a station's electrical facilities (lights, air conditioners, elevators, etc.). Each station where the system is installed saves approximately 600 kWh per day (equivalent to the electricity used by 60 households). This is contributing to energy saving at station buildings. Furthermore, in order to further increase energy savings, we also plan to introduce to the market a hybrid version that combines a storage battery with the power system.
Smaller, Lighter Air-Conditioning System for Rolling Stock
In addition to introducing smaller-diameter piping and achieving a 20% reduction in heat exchanger size, we have readjusted materials to reduce the weight by 6%, thereby enabling the production of a more compact, lighter air-conditioning system. Additionally, to help prevent global warming caused by depletion of the ozone layer, our aim is to reduce environmental impact by promoting the use of an alternate refrigerant that has a zero ozone-layer depletion factor.
Highly Efficient, More Compact Ozone Generator
Ozone generators are used in advanced water treatment processes and paper pulp bleaching because of their superior oxidation and ability to eliminate bacteria, odors, and colors. By using technology developed to efficiently produce ozone from sources such as liquid oxygen, and applying it to the generation of ozone directly from the air, we have achieved a more compact and higher efficiency design, resulting in a 15% reduction in system power consumption.
Development of Water Treatment Technology Utilizing Gas-Liquid Interface Electrical Discharge
We have developed a water treatment technology that uses gas-liquid interface electrical discharge to generate OH radicals, which are used to treat persistent organic substances in wastewater, enabling water to be treated with a simplified system that is twice as efficient as the conventional technique and can reduce operating costs. By applying an electrical discharge process directly to wastewater flowing along an inclined surface, OH radicals are generated at the gas-liquid interface—the boundary between liquid and gas—and in the liquid itself, thus enabling efficient water treatment.
Development of Water Treatment Technology Utilizing a Membrane Separation Bioreactor
We have developed a water treatment technology using an immersion-type membrane separation bioreactor (Eco-MBR) which uses ozonized water to clean the membrane filters for treating and recycling municipal and industrial wastewater. The Eco-MBR system is compact and energy-efficient, and is capable of high-speed filtration, which enables the device to treat twice as much water per membrane filter surface area compared to conventional methods.
Development of an Energy Management System for Disaster Prevention Centers
We have developed a function that enables optimal energy supply by predicting power demand—based on factors such as past usage results and weather forecasts—and combining power sources like commercial power, solar power, wind power, and storage batteries, and we delivered such a system to Satsuma Sendai City, Kagoshima Prefecture in fiscal 2016. Moving forward, this system will be incorporated into building management systems and water treatment plant systems, and so on, with the goal of achieving an even more advanced energy management system.
Reducing Power Consumption and Weight of Diamond Vision
By increasing the efficiency of the power and drive circuit for the LED drive, optimizing the drive voltage, and introducing a high-efficiency LED, we have reduced power consumption per unit of area by 3%. In addition, by reviewing the housing structure, we have reduced the screen weight by 40%.
Initiatives for Reducing Environmental Impact
Continuous Improvement Activities
Initiatives to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions such as improving facilities, testing, and distribution and enforcing waste separation continue on a daily basis at sites such as Kobe Works, Itami Works, and Nagasaki Works.
Equipment ImprovementsClimate change
New lines built at the Kobe Works and Itami Works employ LED lighting, higher efficiency air conditioners, and solar power generation systems to achieve greater power savings. We are also making improvements that contribute to increasing facility efficiency, such as utilizing the exhaust from thermal-catalyst boilers (the heat source for drying ovens) to heat water to wash products.
Distribution ImprovementsAir, water, and soil pollution due to operations and procurement
We are promoting the reduction of CO2 emissions by utilizing returnable packaging and making a modal shift in transportation from using trucks and planes to using railways and ships.
Overseas Production and Maintenance Sites
In response to growing railway demand overseas, in addition to our overseas sites in countries such as North America, Mexico, and Italy, we started operations in India in fiscal 2016. We will continue to promote local production for local consumption in order to reduce CO2 produced during transportation.