(From left, Kohana, Dr. Osawa, Misaki)
Relatec is a “research and development -type venture company” from Kobe University. Many of the members are at the Graduate School of Maritime Science, Kobe University, and have a background in which the Meteorological Engineering specializes in research with Professor Teruo Osawa. Currently, Relatech is engaged in business activities, taking advantage of the experience and connections gained at the university, but Dr. Osawa, a supervisor at the time, also supports Relatech as a technical advisor.
Dr. Osawa, who has been conducting research from the time when offshore wind power is not yet realistic in Japan, look back on the history of offshore wind research so far, and with the representative of Relatech, the future of offshore wind power generation. We talked to the view of the style analysis and simulation staff.
10 years ago, it was not realistic, Japan's offshore wind power generation
――Please tell us how Dr. Osawa started researching offshore wind.
OsawaThe content of the research during the graduate school was completely different from now, and I was studying tropical rain and went to Bangladesh. After taking a doctorate, I studied the numerical simulation of the storm of typhoons, high waves, and wind calculations at Gifu University. I arrived at Kobe University in 2004, but I belonged to the Faculty of Maritime Sciences (currently the Faculty of Marine Policy Science), so I wanted to do research on the sea. One of the most fit the theme of meteorology and the sea was offshore wind power generation.
HaseWhen it comes to 2004, offshore wind power has not yet attracted attention in Japan.
Osawaexactly. When I started my research, it was a situation where everyone was shouting, "What is a research on offshore wind power generation?" It wasn't that the person who was studying was not in Japan at all, but it seemed to be a far away story to actually realize.
Japan has a deep sea, so it is difficult to build, and there are typhoons, tsunamis and earthquakes. Furthermore, the wind is weaker than in Europe, where offshore wind power is developed. It is "no shining". At that time, there were very few people who seriously thought that it could achieve offshore wind power generation in Japan.
HaseI was interested in renewable energy in 2007. There was a recruitment of sweepstakes on the theme of "what can be done for global warming", and I applied for it. I considered what the energy that can be used in Japan can be used in Japan, and at that time I wrote about geothermal, not offshore wind.
Since then, I have been interested in renewable energy, but since I stayed in Europe, I started to focus on offshore wind. In Europe, climate change issues were higher than in Japan. As I listened to various people, I realized the possibility of offshore wind that had not yet been noticed in Japan. I made it the theme of training.
OsawaIt was in 2010 that Konagaya wrote training at the University of Tsukuba. At that time, the awareness was still low.
Haseyes. Even researchers in the weather field seemed to have a low awareness of offshore wind power generation.
SeeingI was assigned to Osawa's lab in 2012. At that time, I was still a fourth year college student and had lack of insight, but I remember that even though I was told "research on offshore wind power," it was not pinched at all. Of course, I heard the word itself, but it didn't have a reality. Looking back in this way, I felt again that in the last decade, the public awareness of offshore wind has risen significantly.
OsawaI agree. Nowadays, the discussion of renewable energy has become popular in Japan, and the word offshore wind power has become common enough to appear in newspapers and online articles. I was too busy (laughs). I feel that the flow of the times and my researcher life overlap, and I was able to get on the waves.
―― Did you start research in anticipation of the rise in demand for offshore wind?
OsawaI did not start strategically strategically. It may happen that the environment happened. When I came to Kobe University, when I had three elements, the sea, wind, and weather, I wanted to do the offshore wind as my lifestyle.
The Kobe University Faculty of Marine Policy Science is a very rare faculty that has a port on the campus and owns a ship. The waves and colors of the sea change every day, but I think that being able to study the offshore wind while watching it is in a very crowded environment.
Academic work on issues unique to Japan
――Please tell us what Dr. Osawa feels about the current wind power generation industry.
OsawaNow there is a tailwind in the industry. Since the nuclear accident caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, it has been focusing on renewable energy. In addition, two years ago, Prime Minister Kan made a carbon native declaration, and I think the world has changed at a stretch.
Looking at Japan as a whole, I feel that the energy regime has changed dramatically. Automotive company focuses on electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles, and oil companies are also doing rehearsal commercials. I'm really happy that I think it's going to be an interesting era, and at the same time, I think it's going to be an interesting era, and at the same time everyone has begun to move in the direction of developing energy considering environmental consideration. I feel it.
However, it is certainly like a bubble in a sense. It's not good to be too floating. This is because the wind has begun to attract attention, which doesn't mean that the Japanese wind blows strongly, nor has the Japanese terrain changing and it has become easier to build a power plant.
To build a windmill on the deep sea of Japan, it is costly to build a windmill on the floating float, called a floating type. I think that "how far the cost can be reduced" will be the key to the development of Japanese offshore wind.
In addition, construction costs cannot be collected unless the windmill is introduced aiming for a strong wind. That is why Relatec's wind -up survey project is important. I think it is necessary to further develop the basic research of weather and proceed in cooperation between academic and industry.