Fraunhofer to open new research facility in Fukushima



A renewable energy research facility will be built in the disaster-hit Japanese region of Fukushima, after the area’s local government and the Fraunhofer ISE research institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). In addition to establishing the Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute, Fraunhofer and the local government have agreed to co-operate on scientific exchanges, joint workshops and symposiums.

The MoU was signed on 12 February, at an event attended by Fukushima prefectural vice governor Fumio Murata and Fraunhofer ISE director Prof. Eicke R. Weber. Weber said that international co-operation was a necessity for solar technologies to be a “main pillar” of a sustainable and carbon-free future energy system.

According to Fraunhofer, the idea for the collaboration was originally conceived at a Tokyo event in November 2012. It was further developed at a Renewable Energy Fair held late last year in Fukushima.

In partnership with the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science, Fraunhofer ISE also formed the Global Alliance of Solar Energy Research Institutes (GA-SERI) a couple of years ago, in which the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory is also involved.

Fukushima Prefecture vice governor Fumio Murata said: “Applied research is a key factor in the technological development of companies, especially in the field of renewable energy. It will assist in revitalising and enhancing the industrial competitiveness in the Fukushima area.”

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