Department of Technology and Ecology

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Environmentally-friendly Industries for Sustainable Development

ECHIGO Shinya, Professor
TANAKA Shuhei, Associate Professor

Japan overcame severe problems with environmental pollution in the 1960s and 70s and became one of the world’s most environmentally advanced countries. During this process, Japan accumulated vast amounts of knowledge, skills and experience in the practical solution of environmental problems. This includes environmental technologies, legal systems and environmental policies. On the other hand, most developing countries in Asia are still suffering from serious environmental problems and our experience has not yet been fully utilized by these countries. This is mainly due to the lack of international education systems suitable for transferring environmental technologies and the lack of practical training in solving real environmental problems in Japan. Industries should be environmentally friendly in order to achieve the sustainable development of a global civilization. Such industries should promote resource recycling and energy saving, and avoid the use of hazardous substances.

In this laboratory, we conduct basic and applied research contributing to real-world environmental policies, and foster environmental leaders who will have the ability to solve environmental problems. Conservation and management of aquatic environments, improvement of water infrastructure, promotion of resource recycling, development of energysaving industries, and analysis of solutions to water sanitation issues in Japan and abroad are all topics being studied using various tools, such as water quality analysis, micro-pollutant analysis, and water and micropollutant treatment technologies and mathematical modeling.

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Environmental Infrastructure Engineering

KATSUMI Takeshi, Professor
TAKAI Atsushi, Associate Professor
KATO Tomohiro, Assistant Professor

The Environmental Infrastructure Engineering group deals with construction and management of sustainable and environmentally-friendly infrastructures, and mainly focuses on the preservation and restoration of the geo-environment. With particular attention to the promotion of a recycling-based society, we make emphasis on the study of: 1) strategies and technologies for the appropriate reuse and disposal of waste materials, including contaminated soils, excavated rocks, and disaster debris, 2) the design, management, and post-closure applications of coastal and inland waste disposal landfill sites, with a particular interest on the performance of liner and cover systems and, 3) the development and assessment of remediation techniques for ground contamination, mainly focused on the behavior of heavy metals and non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) in soils. We perform both practical (on a laboratory setting) as well as theoretical work (using numerical models), and closely collaborate with national and private institutions that are responsible for the preservation of the geo-environment.

As members of a society that aims for a sustainable development, we hope that our work will help improve the frameworks and technologies that will allow us to safeguard the infrastructure and social systems for future generations, even under the straining effects of climate change.

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Global Environmental Architecture

KOBAYASHI Hirohide, Professor
OCHIAI Chiho, Associate Professor
SUGINAKA Mizuki, Assistant Professor

The research explores “sustainable human environment in modern societies” based on local culture and natural settings. Learning from sustainable urban and rural settings, seeks to understand the global environmental order in all forms. The findings and experiences are realized into planning and design, and implementation of practical applications for societies.

■ Locally-based building technology
We create the environmental/social design for practical applications in order to restructure/sustain the living environment in modern contexts.

■ Locally-based human settlement
We explore the knowledge and methods for preferred human environment by the field surveys in eco-friendly rural villages and old historic quarters.

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Biodiversity Conservation

ICHIOKA Takao, Professor
NISHIKAWA Kanto, Professor

Stable global environment is based on ecosystem that comprises a large number of biological species, abiotic environment and their complicated mutual interaction. Among them, biodiversity conservation is one of the essential points to keep the environment. “Biodiversity” denotes variation at the species level, the genetic level and the ecosystem level. We are interested in biodiversity of plant and animal species and contribute into training personnel who work to promote the conservation in domestic and/or international organizations and administrations.

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Landscape Ecology and Planning

IMANISHI Junichi, Professor
FUKAMACHI Katsue, Associate Professor
NUKINA Ryo, Assistant Professor

The goals of our laboratory can be summarized as:
1) Protecting natural areas, including endangered wildlife habitats.
2) Restoring degraded natural habitats.
3) Planning and managing sustainable landscapes.

The scope of our research covers a variety of areas, ranging from small gardens and urban parks to rural and mountain areas, and also includes regions undergoing desertification. We deal with the landscape ecology of both heavily populated areas as well as relatively unpopulated natural areas in order to propose better solutions to land use conflicts between man and nature.

Recognizing that we cannot stand apart from nature, and that ecological sustainability may not be achieved without corresponding cultural sustainability, our current areas of concern include landscape planning, design and management that takes wildlife habitats into consideration, and the development of suitable methods for ecological mitigation carried out as part of the environmental assessment process.

Laboratory Web Site

Elemental Materials Chemistry

TANAKA Kazuo, Professor
GON Masayuki, Assistant Professor
ITO Shunichiro, Assistant Professor

Polymer materials have a wide range of applications today, from everyday objects to automobiles and aircraft, and in optical, electron, and other cutting edge devices. Still, only a handful of elements, such as carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, are available to make up polymers. If we can understand the characteristics of many other elements and use them at will, we can expect not only to increase the functionality of existing materials but also to create novel properties and materials based on them. Also on the horizon is the possibility of designing materials from scratch— which will be truly momentous as new materials can only be made by chance now—discovering phenomena that cannot be explained by existing frameworks, and elucidating their principles. With this in mind, we set for ourselves the goal of discovering new “faces” of elements by using such tools as “element-blocks,” the minimum unit of functionality composed of various elements, “inorganic polymers” and “organic-inorganic polymer hybrids,” in which organic and inorganic components are dispersed at a scale of nanometers, and “composite materials,” which arrange inorganic components within polymers according to a given program to have functions present themselves. We are also working to create materials with new functions thus developed to bring them to market.

Selected research topics

  • New functionality created by stabilizing “instability”
  • Development of a “periodic table of excited elements”
  • “Biomimetics,” a novel concept of designing bioceramics
  • Establishment of a technique for designing luminescent chromism materials from scratch based on “complexes in the excited state”
  • Establishment of a technique for designing “minuscule” nearinfrared emitting dyes and development of tailor-made material

Laboratory Web Site