The environment and business

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
  • Deforestation

Message from Electronic Systems Group

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

photo: Yoshihisa Hara

Yoshihisa Hara
Executive Officer
In Charge of Electronic Systems Group

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 "IBUKI-2" (GOSAT-2) scheduled for launch in fiscal 2019, 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

Climate change Contributing to World-Leading Global Environment Observation

photo: Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite IBUKI-2 (GOSAT-2)

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

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) selected Mitsubishi Electric as the primary contractor for the IBUKI-2 Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite 2 (GOSAT-2).*1 The satellite is scheduled for launch in fiscal 2019 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.

IBUKI-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, IBUKI-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.

  • *1 GOSAT-2: Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite-2

Deforestation Contributing to Understanding Disaster Situations and Monitoring of Oceans and Forests

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

Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2

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

photo: First quasi-zenith satellite "MICHIBIKI"

First quasi-zenith satellite "MICHIBIKI"

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 the front four to nine directions. Its purpose is to measure wind velocity and direction along the line of sight at a horizontal distance of 20 to 250 meters or more.*2 Measurement data is sent to the turbine in real time, enabling turbine control that optimizes power generation efficiency and prolongs turbine life.*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.

  1. *2 Observation distance varies depending on atmospheric conditions.
  2. *3 Wind turbine power curve can be measured.
diagram: Doppler Lidar Systems for Wind Resource Assessments
photo: Doppler Lidar for wind turbines

Doppler Lidar for wind turbines

Initiatives for Reducing Environmental Impact

Climate change 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.

Climate change 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 power consumption by lighting.

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 air carrier fans that circulate the 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 are of a sophisticated design and lightweight, offering excellent insulation performance, strength, fire resistance, durability, and installation ease.
  2. *2 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.