Major Research Fields

Field1 : Stable power system & cost reduction
Technologies for prolonging the life of power equipment
Environment and Chemistry Engineering Group
To prolong the life of power generation equipment, such as boilers and tanks, we must improve their resistance to rust and abrasion. We work to achieve this through our R&D by treating equipment surfaces using metallic or ceramic spraying. The scope of our research includes corrosion protection for steel transmission towers and distribution facilities.
 Composite cycle test system

Composite cycle test system

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Improving technology used for diagnosing aged power generation equipment
Mechanical and Metallurgical Engineering Group
The group is developing technology to be used for diagnosing the level of aging and deterioration of power generation equipment to prevent damage.
The equipment to be diagnosed includes boilers used with high-temperature steam at about 600℃ and turbines subject to rotation at high speeds. Although technology for diagnosing boilers is already in use, we work to enhance the efficiency of testing by carrying out the R&D of discharge sampling equipment and life assessment technology using a new method the Small Punch (SP) creep test.

The discharge sampling equipment shown on the right won the Technical Development Award of the Japan Institute of Energy and Promotion Award for Electrical Science and Engineering (OHM Technology Award).

Residual life assessment using the SP creep test won the Thermal and Nuclear Engineering Society Best Paper Award.

 Electric discharge sampling equipment Electric discharge sampling equipment

Electric discharge sampling equipment

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Simulation analysis for power systems
Power System Engineering Group
Because power systems include a complex network of power facilities and equipment that interact with one another, unexpected phenomena that interfere with the reliable supply of electricity can occur. To find effective countermeasures, we simulate and analyze electrical phenomena and conduct R&D to investigate their causes. Our R&D is also aimed at making possible simulation technologies that better reflect actual electrical phenomena so that the system analysis carried out in the development of facility and operational plans can be made more accurate.
 Electrical power system analysis simulator

Electrical power system analysis simulator

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Research to improve reliability of power supply
Transmission Facility Engineering Group
To implement measures against lightning (measures against momentary voltage drops) that are suitable for an area, we observe lightning current waveforms and electromagnetic waveforms from lightning strikes in order to better understand the properties of lightning. We also verify the lightning protection performance of power facilities using an impulse voltage generator.
 Lightning condition

Lightning condition

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Diagnosis for foundations and Structures
Civil Engineering Group
Before we can solve the geotechnical engineering issues that arise in the construction of dams and power plants, as well as facility maintenance, we must first grasp and evaluate the condition of foundations. We conduct R&D on foundation characteristics such as static strength, deformability and seismic behavior. Examples of our research are the integrity and aseismic stability examinations carried out for Hitotsuse Dam and Kamishiiba Dam (located in Miyazaki prefecture).

The large-sized triaxial compression test apparatus shown on the right can be used to test the strength of large-sized rock materials used in dam construction. It is the only apparatus of its kind in Kyushu.

 A large-sized triaxial compression test apparatus

A large-sized triaxial compression test apparatus

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Field2 : Environmental conservation
Development of Li-ion batteries for EVs
Lithium Battery and Electric Vehicle Technology Group
Basing our research on Li-ion batteries developed for electric energy storage, we launched the development of large Li-ion batteries for EVs. By enhancing their energy density and output density, we created novel Li-ion batteries that allow for increased travel distance and fast recharging, resolving some of the issues facing EV use. While we proceed with our R&D, we will seek ways to reduce costs by widening the battery's application range, which includes its use for storing electricity. We are pushing EVs to the next level so that they meet the expectations consumers have for them as eco-friendly, zero-emission vehicles.
 Li-ion batteries

Li-ion batteries

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Development of quick charging stations and other infrastructure
Lithium Battery and Electric Vehicle Technology Group
We started conducting research on quick charging stations for EVs in 2006, and developed stations with added functions for processing information. We are seeking other ways to enrich the contents of information and communication and further reduce their cost and size.
 Quick charging station

Quick charging station

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Research for the practical restoration of marine environments
Environment and Chemistry Engineering Group
In recent years, “rocky-shore denudation”, or decreases in algae communities, has become an issue of grave concern because of global warming and other reasons. Algae communities offer marine animals habitats in which to live and also help to purify water. We study possible ways of restoring algae communities by creating a habitat for them. So far, we have observed satisfactory algae growth and colonies of marine animals in the habitat we created, and have confirmed the germination of algae producing spores in the surrounding rocky areas.
 Algae test bed

Algae test bed

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Photovoltaic power generation
New Power Generation System Technology Group & Transmission Facility Engineering Group
Photovoltaic, a clean and sustainable method to produce electricity without CO2 emission, is suitable to both humans and the environment. Therefore, Kyushu Electric Power has been doing examinations for efficient utilization of its output energy and stable operation connected to the power grid, in order to overcome its defects such as low density of the input energy and instability of the output. The laboratory has been evaluating for more than twenty years the long term reliability of photovoltaic generation facilities through the data collected from actual operations.
 Sakito Photovoltaic Power Plant

Sakito Photovoltaic Power Plant

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Wind power generation
Power System Engineering Group
Wind power generation harnesses natural energy and, as a result, has a variable output. Our Kyushu service area is suitable for the practicing of this method of generation because many wind power facilities have already been installed in the area, and their number is increasing. Fluctuation in output results in frequency and voltage variation and affects power quality. The laboratory has installed measuring instruments in wind power plants to better understand output fluctuation and analyze its effect on power systems.
 Cape Noma Wind Park

Cape Noma Wind Park

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Geothermal power generation
New Power Generation System Technology Group
Kyushu Electric Power operates 5 geothermal power stations with a total capacity of 209,500kW, about 40% of Japan's total. The laboratory lends its support to these power stations in the areas of operational stability and cost reduction, and is developing techniques for recovering silica and rare metals in geothermal groundwater.
 Hacchoubaru Geothermal Power Station

Hacchoubaru Geothermal Power Station

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Use of livestock waste
New Power Generation System Technology Group
To utilize livestock excrement effectively, the group has developed a biogas-generating system combined with a process to break down livestock excrement. The process raised the amount of generated gas by 33% and decreased the sludge resulting from the treatment of the system’s waste water by 57%.
 Pilot plant (methane fermentation facility)

Pilot plant
(methane fermentation facility)

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Recycling and reducing the volume of waste
Environment and Chemistry Engineering Group
We are moving from a mass-consumption, mass-disposal society to a recycling society. Keeping up with this societal trend, we are working to recycle and reduce the volume of waste generated in the carrying out of Kyushu Electric’s business. For example, one R&D project we are conducting involves the recycling of coal ash by using it to create non-fired tiles or by mixing it with liquid, turning it into slurry*, and using it in concrete.
* Slurry: a mixture of fine grains and liquid
 Slurry of coal ash

Slurry of coal ash

Unsintered tiles LIMIX

Unsintered tiles "LIMIX"

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Field3 : Demand creation
Power storage system
Lithium Battery and Electric Vehicle Technology Group
The group launched the full-fledged development of a power storage system in 2002 using large-scale Li-ion batteries featuring a large capacity and a long life. In 2003, the group started their demonstration by interconnecting a power storage system connected to the power grid. This was the first such attempt in Japan. The fiscal year 2005 saw the incorporation of power storage systems in all-electric homes for field testing to verify their functions for load leveling and as emergency power sources. The technology produces no exhaust gases and is applied in the development of battery technologies used to drive EVs, which are expected to become eco-friendly, next-generation vehicles that help alleviate global warming, air pollution and other global environmental issues.
 Power storage system

Power storage system

Li-ion batteries (right side: traditional lead battery)

Li-ion batteries
(right side: traditional lead battery)

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Application of heat pumps in agriculture
Agricultural Product Cultivation Group
Triggered by global environmental concerns and a rise in fuel oil prices, demand for greenhouse heat pumps has increased. To prompt the widespread use of heat pumps in agriculture, we are conducting experiments jointly with universities and public research labs on the growing of fruit trees, flowering plants and foreign species of orchids in test facilities. Another service we provide is consultation, which is based on optimal operation methods, technical data and our accumulated know-how on heat pumps.
 Growing fruit trees at test station in Saga Prefecture

Growing fruit trees at test station in Saga Prefecture

Cultivation testing of flowering plants with air conditioning at night

Cultivation testing of flowering plants with air conditioning at night

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Electric heating technology
Electricity Utilization Technology Group
The group developed Takumi Hachirin, a “clean” cookware for commercial use. The flavor of charcoal grilling is achieved while most of the smoke and fumes are removed. The group also works to take advantage of electricity's unique properties in their development of efficient, advanced electric cookers and heating technologies for home and commercial use.
 No-smoke commercial cookware Takumi Hachirin

No-smoke commercial cookware
Takumi Hachirin

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Field4 : New businesses
Development of coating technology for 100 years of anti-rust protection (Plaswire Method®)
Environment and Chemistry Engineering Group
The Plaswire Method® was developed as an anti-rust technology for our own steel structures, such as steel towers and piping, as well as for bridges, buildings and highways outside the company. An anti-rust effect lasting 100 years or longer can be expected with this technology, and the thermal stress imposed on members is small. The technology is highly regarded in and outside of the company. Aiming to increase orders for the product, we are working to improve its application on flat plates through automation and to develop application technology for bends using a robot.
Concept of Plaswire thermal spraying method

Concept of Plaswire thermal spraying method

 Fukuoka Expressway No.5

Fukuoka Expressway No.5

Wind power generation tower in Itsuwa Town

Wind power generation tower in Itsuwa Town

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OLED technology
Electricity Utilization Technology Group
OLED is a luminescent device that has a high luminous efficiency and can be made into a flat form. OLEDs are employed to display moving images and are expected to be used in the making of an ultra-thin flat panel display that will take the place of liquid crystal or plasma displays. OLEDs are also expected to be adopted as a next-generation lighting source that may be installed on curved surfaces. We are undertaking R&D on organic semiconducting materials to make practical use of this technology.
 

OLED technology

 OLEDs

OLEDs

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Field5 : New technology
Fuel cells
Distributed Resources Technology Group
There are various types of fuel cells including the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC), the Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell (PEFC), the Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell (MCFC) and the Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell (PAFC), which is commercially available. The SOFC is expected to become a high-efficiency, combined-cycle power generation system as it has the highest generation efficiency and can use hydrogen and carbon monoxide as fuel. We are promoting research for its commercialization through SOFC single cell performance evaluation tests and national research projects. The PEFC is compact and can be operated at low temperatures. It is expected to be used for stationary purposes as well as for automobile applications.
We are evaluating the applicability of the PEFC co-generation system in homes using operation tests simulating household demand.
 SOFC single cell testing system

SOFC single cell testing system

PEFC cogeneration system for residential use

PEFC cogeneration system for residential use

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Hydrogen production technology using hydro-electrolysis
New Power Generation System Technology Group
The group is working on advanced technologies of hydro-electrolysis to produce hydrogen efficiently without CO2 emission. For example, together with Kyushu University and other organizations, the group has developed a device to produce hydrogen efficiently from steam with a temperature of about 600℃, which can be generated utilizing waste heat from factories. Moreover, the group joins research activities on hydrogen supply systems.
 Hydrogen generator with steam electrolysis

Hydrogen generation with steam electrolysis

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Development of Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage (SMES) System
Power Storage Engineering Group
SMES can meet the various needs of power systems as it stores electricity as magnetic energy very efficiently and can be controlled with a high degree of precision and speed. We take part in national projects for SMES development, including that for SMES with a storage capacity of 1kWh and an output of 1MW. We also tackle the development and demonstration testing of large-scale systems, as well as research on the effects of their introduction.

SMES won IEEJ Technical Development Award twice in 2001 and 2004

 Model coil test for SMES

Model coil test for SMES

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