Purpose of the Research

I²CNER’s mission is to contribute to the advancement of low-carbon emission and cost-effective energy systems and improvement of energy efficiency. The array of technologies that I²CNER’s research aims to enable includes solid oxide fuel cells, polymer membrane based fuel cells, biomimetic and other novel catalyst concepts, and production, storage, and utilization of hydrogen as a fuel. Our research also explores the underlying science of CO₂ capture and storage or the conversion of CO₂ to a useful product. Central to I²CNER’s mission is the establishment of an international academic environment that fosters innovation through collaboration and interdisciplinary research (fusion).

Message from the President

Toward the Realization of a Carbon-Neutral Energy Fueled World

Tatsuro Ishibashi, President

Green innovation that utilizes CO₂ emission free renewable energy sources is essential to ensure a sustainable supply of environmentally friendly energy for future generations. In his policy speech during the 203rd extraordinary Diet session convened on October 26, 2020, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared, “We aim to achieve a carbon-neutral, decarbonized green society in 2050, which will pledge a cut in overall greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.”

At Kyushu University, we have comprehensively promoted environmental and energy science research, which is our unique part of strengths, with the aim of realizing a carbon-neutral energy society. On December 1, 2010, International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I²CNER) was established under the World Premier International Research Initiative (WPI) program of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

Over the past ten years, I²CNER has conducted cutting-edge basic research on energy issues both in Japan and the world, and has established a worldwide network and international collaboration schemes with overseas principal investigators. After receiving a final evaluation from the WPI Program Committee stating that the institute had reached the WPI standards (“world premier” status), I²CNER was nominated as a WPI Academy Center on April 1, 2020. By fully making use of the international network we have established to date, we will be i) strengthening our ties with strategic partner universities (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Imperial College London, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and University of Edinburgh), ii) enriching our international network, iii) actively employing a diverse group of researchers, including young, foreign and female researchers, and iv) accelerating international brain circulation. Through these intensive measures, we aim to become a leading-edge basic research institute that contributes to the realization of a carbon-neutral society.

On August 26, 2019, I²CNER entered into a strategic partnership with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where Director Petros Sofronis works on a cross-appointment basis. Through the continuation of the University of Illinois Satellite and mutual collaboration, we will further extend our research activities as an international research center for the science of rapid energy conversion on carbon dioxide emissions reduction.

Kyushu University is committed to produce outstanding research accomplishments on energy science and foster world top-level researchers with I²CNER as a leader in achieving a carbon-neutral energy society. We highly appreciate your continued support and cooperation.

Message from the Director

Greetings and welcome to the website of the International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I²CNER).

Professor Petros Sofronis, PhD

The year 2020 marked the 10th anniversary of I²CNER. It was also the year in which we achieved “World Premier” status and were successfully inducted into the WPI Academy of Japan, an elite organization that ensures our continuation in advancing the mission and goals of the WPI program.

This recognition is a significant accomplishment and is the result of the culmination of 10 years of international collaborations and dedication to WPI standards in scientific accomplishments, technology transfer, interdisciplinary research, and academic systems reforms. Indeed, I²CNER has dedicated its first ten years to producing some of the world’s best research on the future of energy. As the newest center of the WPI Academy, we aim to continue to make disruptive advances in the 21st century international energy landscape, as well as strengthen the scientific advancements in Japan in collaboration with the United States and the world.

As a permanent Institute of Kyushu University, I²CNER has consolidated its research efforts into three thrusts: Advanced Energy Materials, Advanced Energy Conversion Systems, and Multiscale Science and Engineering for Energy and the Environment. These thrusts are directly linked to the “Platform for International Collaborations and Partnerships” that has been designed to maintain I²CNER’s international identity and the “Platform for Societal Implementation and Industrial Collaboration” whose purpose is to ensure technology transfer through the large and growing network of I²CNER’s industrial interactions. Our world-class researchers are working to bridge I²CNER and Japan to other countries’ top universities and institutes.

The partnership between Illinois and Kyushu University continues to expand through new interactions and collaborations, and will focus on multiple areas such as mathematics, agriculture, library sciences, medicine, and social sciences and economics in addition to energy research.

I²CNER is clearly an international effort, operating according to international standards for quality and excellence. We will continue to amplify the WPI mission and advance our carbon-neutral energy goals with our partners around the world.