KYUSHU UNIVERSITY 先生の森KYUSHU UNIVERSITY 先生の森

combustion-free energyI want to change society with non-combustible energy Faculty of Engineering Distinguished Professor / Director Kazunari Sasaki

Next-Generation Fuel Cell Research Center International Research Center for Hydrogen Energy International Institute for Carbon Neutral Energy Research Faculty of Engineering Distinguished Professor / Director

Kazunari Sasaki

With an innate sense of curiosity, as well as a steady track record of accomplishments, Professor Sasaki has executed a variety of research projects and also works as the director of associated institutions. As a face of our university, which is driving hydrogen energy research, he is a key player realizing a vision for the future of Japan and the world.

With a natural uniqueness and sense of curiosity, as well as a steady track record of accomplishments, Professor Sasaki has executed various projects and also works as the director of an associated institution. As the face of our university, which is driving hydrogen energy research, he is a key player who bears the future of Japan and the world on his shoulders.

Profile Details

Born in Kyoto and raised in Yokohama. When Professor Sasaki was a student, he was in charge of planning for his tennis club, was known as someone who would soon become engrossed in new things, and was famously free spirited even in university. At the same time, Professor Sasaki held an interest in inorganic materials that could potentially lead to development of alternative energy, and after graduating from the Tokyo Institute of Technology Department of Inorganic Materials, he went on to study for a master's degree at the same university's Graduate School of Science and Engineering's Department of Nuclear Engineering, which he received in 1989. During his time studying abroad at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich campus, Professor Sasaki became attracted to working in an overseas research environment and transferred there without returning to Japan. He then got involved with national project research into fuel cells. In 1993 he acquired his PhD and was cordially invited to become a visiting researcher at Germany's Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science in 1995. In 1999 he took up a new position at Kyushu University's Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Engineering Sciences as an associate professor. Then in 2005 he was promoted to the position of professor at the Hydrogen Utilization Processes Laboratory, the first laboratory at Kyushu University to include the word "hydrogen" in its title. Most recently he became a distinguished professor in 2011.

What is your research about?What is your research about?

To put it simply, it's about re-examining energy from its roots and coming up with energy that's environmentally friendly. The history of energy starts from the time that mankind lit its first fire and since the industrial revolution in the 18th century has seen a period of the constant burning of enormous quantities of fossil fuel resources. As a result, we are seeing a scramble for energy resources, an outbreak of environmental issues, and through the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011, it has become even more clear how energy is intimately related to the fundamental wellbeing of Japan.

The concept of "Energy = fuel" represents combustible materials. Until now we've made electricity by burning chemical energy like fossil fuels and turning it into heat. Compared to that, fuel cells that rely on electrochemical reactions associated with hydrogen, and that don't burn chemical forms of energy, can reduce CO2 emissions and greatly cut down on energy wastage. Hydrogen energy centered around fuel cells, in other words, the practical application of highly efficient energy from combustion-free approaches and the creation of an environmentally friendly society, are the objectives and the missions of our research.

The Ito campus is fully equipped with some of the biggest facilities on fuel cells in the world and is home to researchers from top universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). Based on my experiences in Switzerland, I thought we needed an international research group consisting of many different nationalities in order to raise young people who are motivated, cooperative, and able to lead the world in the future. Now we've made an international team whose members grappling with various research topics in an international environment. Together with researchers and private companies, we are involved with many national projects, including a verification study of a large size fuel cell power generator, and our research and technology are also contributing to the birth of next-generation energy that will help to keep sustaining the country. We create cutting-edge environments where one can experience real fuel cell technology in the university, and we are making an effort to be the best in the world.

The key to this research course is here!!The key to this research course is here!!

We can lead energy revolution from the local levelWe can lead energy revolution from the local level

In Japan, many functions are concentrated in the capital city, whereas these tend to be more spread out in other countries. When you look at the rest of the world you might say that Japan is not the norm. Kyushu and Yamaguchi are the areas that instigated the Meiji Restoration. And as shown in the Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution, this area is also the region that brought about the first industrial revolution in Asia. People in this area have a fertile background for creativity, in which they can dare to have revolutionary ideas. Our projects today require exactly the same Mentality. It is also our duty to bring out potential of this region. The attraction of conducting research in the university is that you can pursue your research following your convictions. You can find the “first step” from zero by research at the university. This “first step” is then applied by companies and local society, and this finding becomes 10 times or 100 times more impactful. Kyushu has initiated a revolution that changed society and ushered in a new era. We also want to initiate a new energy revolution from "combustion energy" to "combustion-free energy" at Kyushu. We want to make a successful model in Kyushu and in the Fukuoka Area! Ito campus has a big potential to change our society. I am very happy that I can chase the dreams together with top-class researchers from around the world and young students who can build the society in future. Ito campus is a "time machine" that simulates our society in 10 or 20 years’ time, and it is a place where the students can see the dreams of our future by entering “the time machine”.

DAILY SCHEDULEDAILY SCHEDULE


Time-out Session

Professor Sasaki, who is often consumed by work even on his days off, is a dedicated member of the fitness club that he never goes to. If he had time he'd like to spend it on performing in musicals or doing jazz dance! He also longs to play tennis again.Professor Sasaki, who is often consumed by work even on his days off, is a dedicated member of the fitness club that he never goes to. If he had time he'd like to spend it on performing in musicals or doing jazz dance! He also longs to play tennis again.

The Teacher's Must-have Items!The Teacher's Must-have Items!

Left breast pocket set ①:
Smartphone

Here he has chosen something that completely fits in his shirt pocket and is essential if he wants to move around without baggage. "Smartphones are flat and don't take up much space".

Left breast pocket set ②:
6 pen set

Black is for writing papers, red is for corrections, blue is for additions. He always uses a uni-made 0.3mm. Previously, he had bought up large amounts of these pens. For the highlighters, green is for marking important text, and orange is for anything else. He hasn't used a mechanical pencil and eraser since he was in Switzerland. He is always equipped with 6 pens beside a correction pen. "Even if just one pen is missing, I get quite irritated (haha)."

Left breast pocket set ③:
Laser pointer

When he talks to visitors using a slide, he takes out a laser pointer from hispocket quickly. The laser pointer is very useful to describe his slide. "It's like my 7th pen".

Message to the StudentsMessage to the Students

A bad situation is a good opportunity!!

Japan is currently leading the energy research in the world. This is because we turned a crisis into an opportunity. "There are no natural resources in Japan!!" Based on this fact, we have to do our best, whether the economic condition is good or bad. In other words, we should maintain our high motivation constantly to do our best. We still have many topics that we need to work on, and there are many opportunities for students, companies, and society at Kyushu University. We always think that "we can't win if we only do the work for today or tomorrow. We can contribute to society if we do the work for the day after tomorrow. “Many people are working together every day with this thought. In order to prove the potential of the region as well, we have to "turn a crisis into an opportunity." Please keep sentence in your mind and work hard to make your goals a reality!

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