Department of Energy and Environment

Promoting green innovation

To promote green innovation, AIST is developing technologies for increased use of alternative energy technologies, such as renewable energy sources that reduce greenhouse gas emissions (energy creation), high-density storage of energy (energy storage), highly efficient conversion and use of energy (energy saving), effective utilization of energy resources, and evaluation and reduction of environmental risks.


New Research Results

A New Method for Analysis of Water Treatment Membrane Fouling by Activated Sludge

AIST observed the fouling process of water treatment membranes non-destructively. Two types of model wastewater with different concentrations of organic substances (low load and high load) were treated using a membrane bioreactor to identify the substances and microorganisms that cause membrane fouling. Using a confocal reflection microscope, it was found that polysaccharides are the primary component under low loads while lipids are the primary component under high loads. It was also found using a next-generation sequencer that the microorganisms constituting the biofilm are different when the concentrations of organic substances differ. A new model for the fouling process under high loads was proposed.


Cell-derived macromolecules in biofilms causing membrane fouling

Development of an Evaluation Technique for Chemical Toxicity Capable of Rapidly Processing Many Samples

AIST has developed a technique to evaluate the toxicity of chemicals in an easy and rapid manner, utilizing the fact that the RNA degradation rate in human cells decreases when toxicity is present. The researchers designed and synthesized a fluorescent probe, with a fluorescent dye on one of double-stranded RNA chains and a quencher dye on the other chain. In a system with a toxic chemical, the rate of RNA degradation is low and fluorescence remains quenched. However, fluorescence is emitted in a system without a toxic chemical. It is possible to determine the toxicity of the added chemical in two hours.

Figure;The fluorescence intensity of the probe increases in response to RNA degradation.

The fluorescence intensity of the probe increases in response to RNA degradation.

Research Unit

Open Innovation Laboratory

Since FY 2016, as a part of the “Open Innovation Arena concept” promoted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), AIST has created the concept of “open innovation laboratories” (OILs), collaborative research bases located on university campuses, and has been engaged in their provision. We are planning to establish more than ten OILs by FY 2020.

AIST will merge the basic research carried out at universities, etc. with AISTʼs goal-oriented basic research and applied technology development, and will promote bridging research and evelopment and industry by the establishment of OILs.

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