With the 8th Environmental Plan (fiscal 2016 to 2018), we continued to move forward with activities to reduce the emissions of "CO2 originating from energy" and "non-CO2 greenhouse gases (SF6, HFC, and PFC)". Our goal is to lower annual emissions of all types of greenhouse gases to the CO2 equivalent of 1.54 million tons or less by fiscal 2021.
In fiscal 2018, greenhouse gas emissions amounted to 1.27 million tons equivalent of CO2, and we surpassed our goal of 1.37 million tons or less. The major factors behind this achievement were replacing old devices with higher-efficiency devices and sharing control technologies to optimize compressor and air-conditioner operations among business sites in Japan. Meanwhile, outside of Japan, the adoption of best practices proven at Japanese factories had a positive impact. This was complimented by progress in facility renewal and operating improvements to production facilities overseas. The eradication and recovery of non-CO2 greenhouse gases is proceeding, and the plan continues to progress smoothly.
For reducing CO2 originating from energy, our activities focused on pushing forward with energy savings in utilities and production facilities. As a result, we reduced emissions by 24,000 tons in fiscal 2018.
The major achievements include a 13,000-ton reduction owing to capital investments in utilities and production facilities. There was also a 9,000-ton reduction resulting from improvements to utilities and production line operations and further initiatives for energy conservation.
In the classification system (SABC assessment) based on Japan’s Energy Savings Law, Mitsubishi Electric and 12 other Group companies in Japan have been recognized as excellent business operators (S Class) in terms of energy conservation.
Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc. (Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, USA) manufactures more than 1,500 gas circuit breakers (GCBs) annually for the North American market. The SF6 gas used in GCBs has an extremely high global warming potential (GWP) (i.e., approximately 20,000 times that of CO2). Based on this fact, in fiscal 2018, we strengthened measures to prevent SF6 from escaping into the atmosphere.
As a part of the initiatives, we identified various administrative issues, such as reviewing SF6 input/output management methods in manufacturing processes, controlling leakage at production facilities, assuring recovery, and making corrections in work procedures if found required. Based on our findings, two measures regarding facilities and four relating to work procedures were implemented for improvement. The results these efforts reduced SF6 emissions by 40% compared to the previous year.
We continue measures to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gases from production while developing and promoting the widespread use of products that do not use SF6, doing so while collaborating with mother factories in Japan.
Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc.
Gas circuit breakers (GCBs)
At Mitsubishi Electric, personnel responsible for energy conservation at each plant gather for the Environmental Managers' Meeting and on other occasions where each plant’s initiatives are shared. By spreading effective measures and technologies to other business sites, we are hoping that the benefits being achieved will spread throughout the Group. As part of such efforts, in fiscal 2018, we utilized our own inverters to save energy.
It is said that half of the electricity used in Japan is consumed by various motors. In particular, one-fourth of that power is thought to be attributable to operating pump motors. Furthermore, when introducing a pump for factory use, facility design generally allows for an additional 10-20% electric current flow rate.*1 In other words, for a normal pump, the motor is always operating at higher rounds per minute (i.e., rpm) than actually required, which means wasted use of electricity. Adjusting the rpm speed and optimizing the supply flow result in substantial energy-saving effects.*2
Mitsubishi Electric inverter
For this initiative, Mitsubishi Electric’s inverter designer gave technical training to personnel responsible for energy conservation at plants. In the course of training, the participants learned how to improve energy efficiency by using inverters and observed the effects using a pump in operation at a model factory. After the personnel in charge implemented what they had learned during the course at their respective plants, points for improvement were identified on 10 pumps and solutions introduced to rectify the problems. As a result, annual power consumption was successfully reduced by 67% on average, with the effect of CO2 reduction totaling 125t-CO2 per year. Activities to further reduce power use continue at this time.
Three types of non-CO2 greenhouse gases are emitted by the Mitsubishi Electric Group in its business activities: SF6 (sulfur hexafluoride), HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons), and PFCs (Perfluorocarbons). SF6 is used inside gas-insulated switchgear for electrical insulation, as well as in the etching process during semiconductor and liquid-crystal display production.
HFCs are used as refrigerants in air conditioners and refrigerators, while PFCs are used during the etching process in production of semiconductors and liquid-crystal displays.
In fiscal 2018, the switch to the use of refrigerants with a low GWP was accelerated in Japan, and more gas abatement equipment was introduced to the semiconductor etching process. Outside Japan, improvement in gas collection rates, refrigerant recovery during the course of verification tests, and the switch to low-GWP refrigerants gathered momentum. Owing to these measures, in total, emissions were reduced by a CO2-equivalent of 40,000 tons.
We have continued to raise our targets for reducing CO2 emissions from production every three years when drafting the Environmental Plan, doing so based on our progress towards the goal of reducing CO2 emissions from production by 30% compared to the base year,* which was set in Environmental Vision 2021 and published in October 2007.
The 9th Environmental Plan (fiscal 2019-2021) launched this fiscal year marks the last of the three-year plans to achieve Vision 21.
Under the 9th Environmental Plan, we plan to reduce the annual emission of all greenhouse gases to a CO2-equivalent of 1.47 million tons or less by fiscal 2021. The target has been revised downward from 1.54 million tons or less of the 8th Environmental Plan (fiscal 2016 to 2018). This is the result of steady progress in CO2 reductions originating from the implementation of various measures related to energy and non-CO2 greenhouse gases. This means a 45% reduction compared to the base figure in Vision 2021.
Mitsubishi Electric was named an A-List company in the CDP "Climate Change" program for two consecutive years, in fiscal 2017 and 2018. The CDP awarded us this highest evaluation in recognition of our actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. For the CDP Supply Chain Program, we also received A-List recognition in the CDP Supplier Climate category for two years running. We will continue to press forward with our efforts to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society.