The New International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I²CNER) Building was completed at Kyushu University’s Ito Campus

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On January 29, 2013, the I2CNER New Building Completion Ceremony was held at Kyushu University’s Ito Campus. The ceremony was attended by more than 200 people, including many international guests .

Welcome addresses were given by Setsuo Arikawa, President of Kyushu University, and Professor Petros Sofronis, Director of I2CNER. In his remarks, Director Sofronis warmly welcomed all the participants to the I2CNER New Building Completion Ceremony and expressed his sincere gratitude for their support of the Institute. Congratulatory addresses were given by special guests Dr. Hiroo Imura, Chairperson of WPI Program Committee, Mr. Koichi Morimoto, Deputy Director-General of the Research Promotion Bureau, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Mr. Hiroshi OgawaGovernor of Fukuoka Prefecture, Dr. Toshio Kuroki, WPI Program Director, Dr. Monterey R. Gardiner, Technology Development Manager, Office of Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technologies, U.S. Department of Energy, and Dr. Peter Schiffer, Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


After the congratulatory remarks, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was performed at the entrance of the I2CNER building.




Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, all participants were led in a facility tour which was conducted by faculty and staff.


That afternoon, I2CNER hosted the Annual Symposium 2013 in I2CNER Hall. During his overview of I2CNER, Director Sofronis emphasized that the Institute is an international collaboration between Japan and the US, and that its mission is to contribute to the creation of a sustainable and environmentally-friendly society by conducting fundamental research for the advancement of low carbon emission and cost effective energy systems, and improvement of energy efficiency. He also stressed the high level of intellectual talent and rich resources that exist within I2CNER.


The first session of the Annual Symposium 2013 featured two keynote lectures, the first of which was given by Dr. Eiichi Harada, Associate Officer and Deputy General Manager of the Corporate Technology Planning Center of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, LTD. Dr. Harada pointed out the need to promote renewables and fossil fuels with efficient CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) in order to create an energy system with zero emissions. He acknowledged that hydrogen can be produced not only by renewable energy, via electrolysis, but also from fossil fuel. He also stated that hydrogen has considerable potential as a zero emission energy source. Dr. George Crabtree, Director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), Argonne National Laboratory, and recent winner of a US Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Innovation Hub, emphasized the roles of electricity, chemical fuels, and photons as sustainable and fungible energy carriers. He proposed that energy is undergoing a historic transition, and thus the agendas for scientific discovery and technology innovation needed to achieve a vibrant, interactive, and rapidly advancing global society over the next fifty years will be examined from the perspectives of societal needs, international relationships, and relevant research directions.


The second session included four topical lectures by I2CNER researchers. Dr. Tatsumi Ishihara, Associate Director of I2CNER, introduced recent progress in his approach to solar hydrogen production. He explained that solar power is by far the most abundant source. However, energy density from solar power is low. Therefore, from accumulating and leveling, production of hydrogen using solar energy is highly important and effective for achieving a carbon-neutral energy society. Dr. Brian Somerday, Lead Principal Investigator of I2CNER and Materials Scientist at Sandia National Laboratories, showed that the I2CNER Structural Materials Division focuses on providing cost-effective, science-based solutions to hydrogen embrittlement by improving measurement methods, developing next-generation materials, and establishing predictive models. He also explained a recent discovery whereby small concentrations of oxygen, a potential impurity, dramatically affect hydrogen-enhanced fatigue crack growth, and that two fundamental characteristics of oxygen were identified that could contribute to the observed fatigue behavior. Dr. Naotoshi Nakashima, Principal Investigator of I2CNER, gave a talk with a theme of “Nanocarbon-based Novel Fuel Cell Catalysts with Very High Performance.” Dr. Nakashima demonstrated that the polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) is one of the most promising power sources for transportation and houses due to its high-energy conversion efficiency. Increasing effort has been made to find a higher temperature operation of PEFCs in order to enhance cell performance, accompanied by high durability. Dr. Kenneth Christensen, I2CNER Satellite Associate Director and professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, highlighted the significant carbon dioxide sequestration research which is presently being carried out in I2CNER. He asserted that achieving safe, long-term sequestration of carbon dioxide (CCS) in the geosphere is a crucial aspect of I2CNER’s overall research mission.

Following these sessions, Dr. Nobuhide Kasagi, WPI Program Officer, gave concluding remarks.





I²CNER New Building Completion Ceremony

– Greetings:

President of Kyushu University, Setsuo Arikawa

Director of I²CNER, Petros Sofronis

– Congratulatory Addresses:

Chairperson of WPI Program Committee, Hiroo Imura

Deputy Director-General of the Research Promotion Bureau, MEXT, Koichi Morimoto

Governor of Fukuoka Prefecture, Hiroshi Ogawa

Program Director of WPI Program, Toshio Kuroki

Technology Development Manager, Office of Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technologies, U.S., DOE,

Monterey R. Gardiner

Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Peter Schiffer

– Ribbon-Cutting


I²CNER Annual Symposium 2013 Session 1 (YouTube)

– Outline of I²CNER: Director of I²CNER, Petros Sofronis

– Keynote Lectures

“Role of hydrogen as zero emission energy (CO₂free hydrogen)”

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd: Dr. Eiichi Harada

“Energy: the Next Fifty Years”

Argonne National laboratory: Dr. George Crabtree


I²CNER Annual Symposium 2013 Session 2 (YouTube)

– Topical lectures

“Hydrogen Production by using Solar Energy”

I²CNER of Associate Director: Tatsumi Ishihara

 “A Mechanistic and Modeling Study of H₂-Accelerated Fatigue in Low-Strength Steels”

I²CNER of Lead Principal Investigator: Brian Somerday

 “Nanocarbon-based Novel Fuel Cell Catalysts with Very High Performance”

I²CNER of Principal Investigator: Naotoshi Nakashima

“Carbon Diozide Sequestration Research for Risk Assessment and Mitigation”

I²CNER of Satellite Associate Director: Kenneth Christensen

– General Comments: Program Officer of WPI Program, Nobuhide Kasagi