The UN has adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed to promote a better and more sustainable future worldwide. The ninth of these goals is "Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure." By developing proprietary technologies that have a critical role in infrastructure supporting power plants and telecommunication, Mitsubishi Electric is helping to boost industrial productivity and realize a stable society.
An Environment that Encourages Innovation
Building resilient infrastructure that can withstand disasters and economic downturns, promoting technological innovation to contribute to economic development, and achieving a sustainable industrial transformation — these are the aims of the UN’s ninth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), "Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure."
The term "infrastructure" as defined here naturally includes conventional infrastructure related to power, water, gas, and transportation but also encompasses a wider definition to reflect today’s social and economic landscape. As such, SDG9 also addresses targets such as access to financial services and the Internet, as well as capital investment that advances innovation in industrial diversification, the creation of added value, and other benefits to society.
In fact, a recent UNICEF study highlights the harsh reality that failure to build infrastructure and pursue technological innovation that undergird production often results in negative impacts to business expansion and productivity growth. In turn, this makes it difficult to build business models that ensure sustainable growth.
Contributing to Global Infrastructure Development
Since the company’s founding, Mitsubishi Electric has been a leader in Japan and abroad in the development of safe, secure, and stable critical infrastructure and public facilities — the advanced social infrastructure that forms the foundation of our everyday lives.
The electric power industry is one such example. Mitsubishi Electric plays an important role in developing power infrastructure around the world that supports every phase of power generation, transmission, and distribution. Given the growing demand for clean energy, the company is also expanding into new energy businesses such as smart grids.
Mitsubishi Electric is also pursuing technological innovation in power infrastructure back ends, especially in terms of maintenance and inspection. A good example is GenSPIDER, a proprietary, spider-shaped robot that has revolutionized power generator inspection. The GenSPIDER moves freely through a generator thanks to its ultra-thin, 19.9-millimeter width and low-vibration movement, allowing electric power producers to reduce the time required for generator inspection from one to two months to just six days. The long duration of conventional inspections is also associated with high costs, so this groundbreaking invention provides both time- and cost-saving benefits.
Just as electricity is an essential aspect of infrastructure, so too is water. Being able to access clean water at any time just by turning on the tap may feel like a basic human right, but many countries are actually facing severe water problems due to factors such as global warming and population growth.
For example, Singapore relies on imports for much of the water it consumes. In an effort to secure water resources of its own, the government has introduced the revolutionary NEWater system, in which ordinary wastewater is passed through additional sterilization treatments and purified to the quality of drinking water. To meet Singapore’s growing need for recycled water, Mitsubishi Electric has been conducting a field test of its Ozone Backwashing Energy-Saving Membrane Bioreactor (Eco-MBR®) system, which uses ozone to treat water. The company has also been contributing to the production of high-quality tap water in Singapore by installing its ozone generators in a water treatment plant managed by Singapore’s Public Utilities Board.
Mitsubishi Electric also provides important infrastructure for telecommunication, especially in the much-discussed field of 5G. With high-capacity, reliable communication systems becoming indispensable not only for business but also in everyday life, the company is providing critical services for our modern society.
In addition, Mitsubishi Electric is continuing to research and develop infrastructure-related technologies that will contribute to a sustainable future. These include technologies for elevators, escalators, and other forms of vertical transportation in smart cities and buildings as well as operating systems for railroads, a form of transportation that is attracting renewed attention for its eco-friendly nature.
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