Initiatives that contribute to addressing social issues

Electronic Systems Group

Message from the Group President

Working to Solve Environmental Problems and Develop Products for Next-Generation Energy Solutions

photo: Yoshihisa Hara

Yoshihisa Hara
Executive Officer, Group President,
Electronic Systems

The products of the Electronic Systems Group play a vital role in solving humankind's shared environmental problems. This is achieved by further disseminating the use of renewable energies and contributing to the creation of cities that are more comfortable to live in.

For example, we were the primary contractor for manufacturing the "IBUKI" (GOSAT) and "IBUKI-2" (GOSAT-2), which are designed to observe the concentration and distribution of greenhouse gases and monitor the emission and absorption of these gases, thereby assisting in the prevention of global warming. 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 and Himawari-9 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 stable supply of electricity 24 hours a day. Furthermore, the Michibiki Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) composed of four satellites enables positioning information and communications even in built-up urban areas and mountainous regions. By reinforcing GPS, it helps improve positioning accuracy. Applications for various solutions including autonomous driving are expected.

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 is expected to contribute to optimal control of wind farms, thus leading to more efficient power generation and extended 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.

Social issues for which risks and opportunities have been recognized and evaluated

icon: Focusing on the SDGs

Focusing on the SDGs

Major issues

  • Optimal use of energy
  • Introduction of clean energy
  • Creating secure, safe and comfortable sustainable cities
  • Addressing climate change
  • Prevention of deforestation

Initiatives that Contribute to Addressing Social Issues

Contributing to World-Leading Global Environment Observation

  • icons: SDGs #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action
photo: ©JAXA Greenhouse Gases Observing
Satellite IBUKI-2 (GOSAT-2)

©JAXA
Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite IBUKI-2 (GOSAT-2)

The IBUKI-2 Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite 2 (GOSAT-2) was launched in 2018 with the aim of improving the precision of CO2 and methane observation. It is the successor of the "IBUKI" (GOSAT) (launched in January 2009), which was developed as the world's first satellite dedicated to observation of the concentration and distribution of greenhouse gases in space. As the primary contractor of the project, Mitsubishi Electric is in charge of the entire project, including the development and production of the satellite system and observation sensors, constructing the ground-based facilities, and overseeing satellite control operations after launch.

IBUKI-2 is equipped with high-performance observation sensors that enable more precise measurement of greenhouse gas concentration and distribution. It also estimates particulate matter (black carbon, PM2.5, etc.), a capability which assists in monitoring atmospheric pollution.

Additionally, Mitsubishi Electric was in charge of developing the geostationary meteorological satellites Himawari-8 (launched in 2014) and Himawari-9 (launched in 2016), equipped with the world’s first next-generation meteorological observation sensor. They provide even greater observation capabilities for monitoring global warming and weather phenomena. In addition, they achieve precise and prompt transmission of observation data thanks to reduced filming time. The data captured by the satellites are provided to countries and regions in Asia and Oceania, contributing to the formulation of more effective disaster prevention measures.

Contributing to Understanding Disaster Situations and Observing Oceans and Forests

  • icons: SDGs #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • icons: SDGs #15 Life on Land
photo: Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 "DAICHI-2" (ALOS-2)

Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 "DAICHI-2" (ALOS-2)

Satellite applications such as disaster scene observation and monitoring of forests and agriculture are expanding and becoming common around the globe. Mitsubishi Electric was in charge of the development of Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 "DAICHI-2" (ALOS-2), which is a global observation satellite launched in 2014 with the objectives of safeguarding people's lives and solving global-scale environmental problems. As the primary 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 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.

Contributing to Environmental Conservation and Development of Cities Comfortable to Live in through Various Uses of Highly Precise Positioning Data

  • icons: SDGs #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
photo: Quasi-Zenith Satellite System MICHIBIKI

Quasi-Zenith Satellite System MICHIBIKI

Mitsubishi Electric was in charge of the development of the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System, a system of positioning satellites especially for use by Japan. The first satellite of the system was launched in 2010, followed by three satellites all launched in 2017. As these satellites are constantly positioned near the zenith above Japan, positioning signals can be sent to spots where obtaining positioning information was previously difficult, such as built-up urban areas and mountainous regions. As a supplement to GPS, it has enabled a dramatic improvement in positioning precision: up to the centimeter-level. It is expected that this highly precise positioning data will be used to develop solutions contributing to environmental conservation and more comfortable urban lifestyles 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.

Contributing to Wider Use of Recycled Energy

  • icons: SDGs #7 Affordable and Clean Energy

The purpose of Doppler light detection and ranging (Lidar) systems is to measure wind velocity and direction by detecting aerosols (invisible dust and particles) 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.

Doppler Lidar installed on top of a wind turbine measures wind velocity and direction along the line of sight at a horizontal distance of 20 to 250 meters or more.*1 Measurement data is sent to the turbine in real time. By utilizing such data, more efficient turbine operation is expected, in addition to prolonged turbine life.*2 Eye-safe wavelength (near-infrared, invisible) Class 1M lasers are used to ensure eye safety.

We are also carrying out a study on outer space photovoltaic power generation, a system in which electric power generated in outer space using solar power is sent to Earth by radio waves for a stable supply of electricity 24 hours a day.

  1. *1 Observation distance varies depending on atmospheric conditions.
  2. *2 Wind turbine power curve can be measured.
diagram: Doppler Lidar for wind turbines
photo: Doppler Lidar for wind turbines

Doppler Lidar for wind turbines

Reducing Environmental Impact at Business Sites

In addition to contributing to society through our business operations, we are striving to reduce the negative environmental impact stemming from our business activities. Some of the initiatives we are implementing are as follows.

Initiatives for Reducing CO2 Emissions in Production

  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action

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.

CO2 Emissions Cut by Approx. 4% (61% in Power for Lighting) – New Production Building at Kamakura Works (Sagami Plant)

The production building at the Sagami Plant of Kamakura Works, which was completed in May 2017, has successfully cut CO2 emissions by implementing the following measures.

  • Introduction of LED Lighting
    We have introduced LED lighting with automatic ON/OFF control triggered by motion sensors in common areas such as hallways, toilets, and changing rooms. In particular, in the production area where the ceilings are 8-11 meters high, mercury lamps have been replaced with super-luminosity LED lighting, resulting in a significant reduction in the power consumed by lighting fixtures.
  • Utilization of Natural Light and Optimization of Air-Conditioning Environment
    By bringing natural light into the lobby, offices and large conference rooms through skylights, we have ensured a bright working environment during the daytime without using lighting fixtures. Furthermore, air conditioners with a motion sensor (i.e., Move Eye) are installed in the offices and conference rooms. Combined with fans that circulate air from the air conditioners, we have created an optimal environment with effective air-conditioning. 
  • Utilization of Heat-Insulating Exterior Walls and Glass
    By introducing heat-insulating sandwich panels*1 and Low-E glass*2 for the exterior walls of the building, we have alleviated the burden of heating and cooling.
  1. *1 Heat-insulating sandwich panels: A building material made from two steel panels with heat-insulating material sandwiched in-between. These panels have a sophisticated design and are lightweight, offering excellent insulation performance, strength, fire resistance, durability, and installation ease.
  2. *2 Low-emissivity glass: A sheet of glass with the surface coated using 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.