The built environment, and more specifically the automation of sustainable building technology, is one sector that is forecast to grow at a rapid pace in Japan, and Cambridge Cleantech has been at the centre of those discussions.
The organisation recently participated at the sustainability conference City-Tech.Tokyo to showcase its International Tech Scouting programme, which provides market intelligence on climate innovation progress from international cleantech clusters. The programme finds technologies that support collaborations between global enterprises and climate tech innovators.
“Japan is super committed to decarbonisation,” said Sam Goodall, Cambridge Cleantech International Projects Manager. “The interest towards increasing innovation in the areas of carbon capture, clean energy, hydrogen, and sustainable building technology is really exciting.”
“There is a big demand for emerging climate tech solutions and Japanese corporates are increasingly turning to organisations like ours for help in researching and accessing UK and European innovation ecosystems.”
At City-Tech.Tokyo, Cambridge Cleantech was invited to talk about the emerging role of North-West Europe as a hub for energy storage innovation. Financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Storage of Energy and Power Systems (STEPS) project is an integral part of the European Cohesion Policy.
The presentation at City-Tech.Tokyo introduced the collaboration between Cambridge Cleantech member OXTO Energy and Shimizu Corporation. Under the SHIMZ NEXT accelerator programme OXTO Energy, with the support the University of Twente, is developing an energy storage pilot for their flywheel technology with the Japanese architectural, civil engineering and general contracting conglomerate.
Shimizu is widely regarded as being ahead of its time and in 2012 completed work on its new headquarters located in Kyobashi, Chuo-ward, Tokyo. At the time, the building was recognised as emitting the least amount of CO2 in the world.
“Shimizu is a role model in low carbon construction and Japan has a big appetite for building tech automation,” explained Sam. “With an aging population, a third of the population are over the age of 60, Japan is looking at automated technology to substitute the lack of skilled labour in industries such as construction and farming.”
“We met with the British Embassy in Tokyo to explore climate tech innovation exchange between Japan and the UK. There is a great opportunity to import building automation technology from Japan, and we have a range of clean technologies that can go in the other direction. Japan is a highly a receptive market for climate action and innovation.”
The delegation from Cambridge Cleantech also held innovation workshops with Deloitte Tohmatsu and Shimizu Corporation, and met with Impulse Partners to introduce EU startups developing low carbon solutions for the Built Environment; Real Tech Fund and Global Innovation Technology Ventures (GITV) to explore EU climate tech investment opportunities for Japanese corporates; ReGACY Innovation Group to debate the digital transformation of technology and industry; and the Cambridge Innovation Center (Massachusetts) Energy and Environment Group to examine network partnerships.