Professor Dr. Tsutomu Iida
Diversity of Species
According to a research paper by Dalhousie University, Canada, and Hawaii University, USA, published on 24th August 2011, there are more than 8.7 million biological species on earth(*). Of these, an incredible 100 species become extinct every day. Human beings, who are just one species of animal, damage the global environment on a large scale, rapidly destroying the ecological system and causing many living creatures to disappear in many parts of the world. If this trend were to continue, in 25 years, about a quarter of the biological species currently inhabiting the earth would become extinct.
Human beings may possess higher levels of intelligence compared with other creatures; however, human beings are just one kind of biological material that is part of an ecological chain. If, in the future, the chain is destroyed human beings cannot survive as a species. Therefore, we must protect the global environment on a worldwide basis.
Climate Change, Carbon Dioxide, and Responsibility
Every year, the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP) talk about reducing the amount of greenhouse gases (CO2) emitted. Greenhouse gases are a major cause of global climate change. However, whereas the industrialized nations demand that all nations should control CO2 emissions, the developing countries insist that the amount should depend on their level of economic development which differs greatly between nations. Meanwhile, detailed research has revealed that carbon dioxide levels clearly increased in the 1800s, the period of the Industrial Revolution, and after the 1950s, the period of postwar growth. This means the CO2 concentration in air we currently consider as a problem is due to emissions made in the past by industrial countries and this has caused the current global climate change. Our present affluence owes much to the already emitted carbon dioxide.
Recycling of Waste Heat
In our laboratories, we have been making efforts to reduce CO2 emissions in order to make amends for our past responsibilities and to promote future harmonious coexistence with nature and with the various peoples in the world. Fossil fuels, oil, coal and natural gases are easy to handle. However, as well as emitting carbon dioxide gases, 70% of fuel is wasted as waste heat. On a worldwide scale, an enormous number of industrial furnaces and internal combustion engines have been producing ‘waste heat’. Now, by combining scientific knowledge (physics and chemistry) with mathematics, our laboratories have been developing projects that promote the idea that wherever there is waste heat, it can be changed into a source of power.
Obtained Dr. degree in electrical engineering from Meiji University
The Japan Society for Promotion of Science, Research Fellow
Volkswagen Foundation, Germany, Invited Researcher
Tokyo University of Science, Research Associate
Tokyo University of Science, Lecturer
Tokyo University of Science, Associate Professor
Tokyo University of Science, Professor
Research contents :
Due to mass consumption of fossil fuels and also for prevention of global climate change, research and development of energy conversion materials are being conducted. Developments of solar fuel material, which can produce chemical fuel produced directly/indirectly from solar energy sunlight/solar heat, and thermoelectric material, which can be used for thermal-to-electric energy recovery for waste heat emitted from industrial/automotive heat sources, have been conducted. Due to the fact that many elemental devices which are used for energy conversion tending to contain toxic and less-abundant elements, development of environmentally benign semiconductor energy conversion material is our laboratory’s primary interest.
*Reference : PLOS Biology, August 23, 2011, “How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean?”, Camilo Mora mail, Derek P. Tittensor, Sina Adl, Alastair G. B. Simpson, Boris Worm.[DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001127]