Renewable Energy, ICT Used to Realize 'Smart Agriculture'

2017/10/27 21:53
Sousuke Kudou, technical writer
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Kyoto University and NTT Data Institute of Management Consulting Inc (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) are engaged in the practical use and diffusion of "Energy Creation/utilization-type Agriculture," which advances agriculture by using renewable energy, ICT (information and communication technology), etc.

They jointly established "Green Energy Farm (GEF) Industry-university Joint Creation Partnership" and had the initial meeting and the first research meeting Oct 25, 2017.

The agriculture in Japan is in a severe situation because of the aging of farmers, serious decrease in the number of farming population and competition with low-priced imported agricultural products. To make agriculture sustainable, it is necessary to use advanced technologies such as ICT, IoT and AI to advance agriculture and make it a knowledge industry (smart agriculture).

Also, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) proposes a shift to "energy smart" by improving energy use efficiency and promoting the introduction of renewable energy because the rate of dependence on fossil fuel is high in the field of food.

The GEF Industry-university Joint Creation Partnership will realize "agriculture/energy co-production" and "smart agriculture" by introducing advanced technologies such as renewable energy and ICT to agriculture. Also, generated renewable energy-derived electricity is used not only for agriculture but also for surrounding local communities in the aim of realizing (1) agriculture whose degree of dependence on fossil fuel is low and (2) energy self-supply in local communities.

By using a farmland owned by Kyoto University, the university and NTT Data Institute of Management Consulting design systems and propose policies based on scientific data from a neutral standpoint. To create new industries and business models based on agriculture/energy co-production and recycling-oriented/decentralized energy value chain, they provide a platform that covers four fields: (1) agriculture/energy co-production technology, (2) energy storage technology, (3) energy management technology and (4) locally-decentralized energy society/economic system.

At first, 23 business operators including companies and research institutes participate as regular members. Kyoto University and NTT Data Institute of Management Consulting plan to ask many companies and research institutes to actively participate in the project in the aim of spreading the effort.