Renewable energy think tank launched in Koriyama, aiming for post-disaster contribution

The Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute, AIST (FREA), a unit of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), was inaugurated on April 1 at an industrial park in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture. Ahead of the start of work, FREA head Yoshiro Owadano urged institute staff to accomplish its two missions: promotion of R&D on renewable energy in a manner open to the world, and contribution to post-disaster reconstruction through the accumulation of new industrial clusters. The new think tank sits on a land lot of about 5.5 hectares. It comprises a main R&D building, an experiment annex, a demonstration field for testing new energy sources such as solar heat and wind power, and a facility for testing the use of geothermal energy. The complex was built at a total cost of 10.1 billion yen. As of April 1, the institute had 68 staff employees, including researchers. With outside researchers expected to use the complex in the future, FREA will have up to 120 people at work. Staffers conducted R&D and other work at the complex from the first day. FREA has six main themes of research, including the development and demonstration of a renewable energy network, and the evaluation of technologies for the manufacture and use of hydrogen-carrying containers as well as the development of technology for system optimization associated with the technologies. Photo: Staff members of the Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute, AIST, pose for a group photo, determined to help Fukushima Prefecture's post-disaster reconstruction through R&D. (Translated by Kyodo News)