Initiatives that contribute to addressing social issues

Public Utility Systems Group

Message from the Group President

Contributing to Creation of a Sustainable, Safe, Secure, Comfortable and Affluent Society by Providing Safe and Stable Rail Transportation, as well as Products, Systems and Services that Contribute to Safety, Security, the Prevention and Mitigation of Disasters, and the Development of an IoT Society

photo: Hideki Fukushima

Hideki Fukushima
Executive Officer, Group President, Public Utility Systems

The Public Utility Systems Group manufactures a host of products, systems and services used in social infrastructure to support people’s lives. We contribute to sustainable progress in society by developing and supplying; energy-saving products, products that help prevent/reduce damage from disasters and treat drinking water and sewage, as well as network cameras and communication system products.

In terms of efficient use of energy, we are the first company in the world to successfully produce inverters equipped with all-SiC power modules*1 for use in rolling stock. The power modules are helping to increase energy savings in railway operations, both in Japan and overseas. Additionally, we contribute to advancements in energy-efficient societies by manufacturing equipment and systems that promote the construction of ZEBs.

Mitsubishi Electric develops and manufactures products and systems that help to prevent and mitigate natural disasters, which have been on the increase around the world in recent years. For example, by providing meteorological radar technologies and river information systems, we help municipalities supply their residents with information regarding localized heavy rainfall and flooding. Should a disaster occur, our Helicopter Direct Satellite Communication system ensures that information about the affected areas is collected, thus supporting the formulation of precise disaster measures.

Under current global circumstances, in which water shortage is an imminent problem in various regions, we are helping to purify water—a limited resource—by developing membrane treatment system (EcoMBR®)*2 that aims to reduce energy consumption by 25% and half the installation area by using ozonated water.

In addition to providing communication systems that support the recent growth in Internet capacity and the development of an IoT society, we contribute to creating safe, secure and comfortable cities in response to the growing need for crime prevention through the detection of suspicious objects, etc by offering network cameras and solutions that take full advantage of technologies such as image analysis and other such technology.

Throughout the production of our products, we continue to look for ways to further increase energy conservation in all processes of design, manufacturing and testing, as well as reduce the use of chemical substances.

Going forward, we will contribute to the realization of a sustainable, safe, secure, comfortable and affluent society by making full use of the wide-ranging technologies that we have developed over the years and continuing our ongoing technological development.

  • *1 As part of the project to develop this power module, research activities were outsourced to the New Energy and Industrial Development Organization (NEDO).
  • *2 Membrane Bioreactor cleans membrane filter with ozonated water that recycles municipal and industrial wastewater

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

icon: Focusing on the SDGs

Focusing on the SDGs

Major issues

  • Appropriate use of water
  • Optimal use of energy
  • Addressing climate change
  • Measures against air, water, and soil pollution
  • Waste reduction/management
  • Sustainable use and development of resources

Initiatives that Contribute to Addressing Social Issues

Providing Inverters Equipped with All-SiC Power Modules for Use in Rolling Stock

  • icons: SDGs #9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • icons: SDGs #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action
photo: Inverter for rolling stock

Inverter for rolling stock

We produced an inverter equipped with all-SiC power modules for use in rolling stock and launched it 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.

Smaller, Lighter Railcar Air Conditioner Units

  • icons: SDGs #9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • icons: SDGs #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action
photo: Railcar air-conditioner unit

Railcar air-conditioner unit

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, our aim is to reduce environmental impact by promoting the use of an alternate refrigerant with low GWP* as a replacement for greenhouse gases.

  • * GWP: Global warming potential

Supporting effective utilization of the regenerative electricity by Station Energy-Saving Inverter (S-EIV)

  • icons: SDGs #7 Affordable and Clean Energy
  • icons: SDGs #9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • icons: SDGs #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action
photo: Station Energy-Saving Inverter (S-EIV)

Station Energy-Saving Inverter (S-EIV)

We have produced and introduced to the market a station auxiliary power system that is capable of supplying the regenerative electricity 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 savings at station buildings. Furthermore, in 2016, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy Commissioner’s Prize of the New Energy Awards was presented for a hybrid version that is smaller than conventional models and combines a storage battery with the power system.

Understanding Disaster Situations Properly through Helicopter Direct Satellite Communication System and Supporting Swift Rescue Activities

  • icons: SDGs #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

In times of large-scale disasters, such as earthquakes and fires, Helicopter Direct Satellite Communication System transmits real-time aerial imagery of the affected areas from a helicopter to the authorities in charge of disaster response. By providing the people in charge of initial response, including emergency services, with accurate information on the affected areas, this system contributes to appropriate and prompt actions onsite.

Highly Efficient, More Compact Ozone Generator

  • icons: SDGs #6 Clean Water and Sanitation
photo: Ozone generator

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 developing a technology that places electrodes closer together in the generator's oxygen source and also applying it to the air source, we have achieved a more compact and more efficient design. As a result, overall system power consumption has been reduced 15%.

Development of Water Treatment Technology that Uses a Membrane Bioreactor

  • icons: SDGs #6 Clean Water and Sanitation

We have developed a membrane bioreactor(Eco MBR™) as water treatment technology 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.

Promotion of More Energy-Efficient and Compact Optical Access Systems

  • icons: SDGs #9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • icons: SDGs #12 Responsible Consumption and Production
  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action
photo: Subscriber equipment

Subscriber equipment

The next-generation GE-PON ONU subscriber equipment for optical access systems uses a passive optical network (PON) that enables optical fibers to be shared among many users and realizes wide-band communications. It also achieves a 96% reduction in power consumption per traffic and 96% reduction in material usage compared to conventional equipment as a result of using parts that consume less power and reducing the number of parts in the equipment.

Promoting the Development of Safe and Secure Cities through Network Cameras

  • icons: SDGs #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

The applications of network cameras are expanding from imagery recording and monitoring to crime prevention through the detection of suspicious objects and to the prevention and mitigation of disasters. We manufacture products such as MELOOK3, which meets diverse requirements, and the ROBOTY Series that are ideal for the surveillance of broad areas such as public facilities, and thereby promote the development of safe and secure cities.

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.

Continuous Improvement Activities

  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action

Initiatives to reduce environmental impact such as through activities to improve facilities, testing and distribution, and the enforcement of thorough waste separation, continue on a daily basis at the Kobe Works, Itami Works, and Nagasaki Works, which function as our product supply bases.

・Equipment Improvements

New lines built at the Kobe Works and Itami Works use 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.

・Testing Improvements

In the testing of large electric power devices such as VVVF* equipment for rolling stock, we are implementing initiatives to effectively utilize energy, including the use of electricity generated by power generators connected as artifical loads, thus achieving zero waste.

  • * VVVF: Variable-voltage, variable-frequency control, a control technology for AC motors.

・Distribution Improvements

We are promoting the reduction of CO2 and waste emissions by expanding the use of returnable packaging and making a modal shift in transportation, from using trucks and planes to using railways and ships.