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Waseda University and OMRON collaborate to build factory energy management system infrastructure — Resolving challenges facing the manufacturing industry


On July 20, Waseda University and OMRON (Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto) announced their collaboration on initiating R&D to build a foundation for a factory energy management system that will solve energy issues faced by manufacturing industry. This project (R&D leader: Professor Yoshiharu Amano of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Waseda University) was adopted on June 30 as the third phase of the Cabinet Office-led Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP) for 'Building a smart energy management system' with a five-year R&D period from FY2023 to FY2027.

The use of renewable energy and other efforts toward carbon neutrality are advancing around the world for the creation of a sustainable society. In Japan, the government announced in October 2020 that it would achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and there are demands for efforts for the decarbonization of society as a whole. To realize decarbonization, it is necessary to go beyond individual efforts, such as in-house power generation from renewable energy sources and more efficient use of energy resources at the corporate level, and to work toward optimal energy management that allows society as a whole to mutually utilize energy resources together. However, in the manufacturing industry, where energy consumption is high, there is no common data format or communication standard related to the energy management systems and electricity used in factories and other facilities. As a result, interfaces and rules for exchanging energy resource information have not been developed, which is a barrier that prevents companies from working together across corporate boundaries toward total energy optimization.

To solve these problems, this project will combine OMRON's sensing and data analysis/control technology for the visualization and management of energy-related data at the factory production sites, as well as management know-how, with Waseda University's energy system optimization technology using industrial open networks for control systems to build the foundation for a new factory energy management system. Specifically, OMRON will continue to design and demonstrate energy management systems at its own factories. At Waseda University, the Research Institute for Power and Energy Systems (Director, Yoshiharu Amano) of the Advanced Collaborative Research Organization for Smart Society (ACROSS) will play a central role in optimizing and verifying specifications for creating a common model that can be introduced to various companies.

By combining the knowledge of industry and academia in this way, the two parties will build the foundation for a socially implementable factory energy management system originating in Japan and contribute to strengthening the international competitiveness of the energy solution business in the Japanese industry and achieving decarbonization.

This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd. ( Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.

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