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A trip to Inawashiro Daini water plant, Japan 

Reskilling, upskilling and attracting a new generation of trailblazers to the innovative and exciting renewable energy industry in the UK will be essential to support the much-needed development of sustainable green energy projects like White Cross.  

Our White Cross project is committed to identifying opportunities within the local community to support the aspirations of young people in the development of renewable energy skills.

We were delighted to support the students of the University Centre for Northern Devon, located at Petroc College, on their visit to Japan earlier this year, with a trip facilitated by Flotation Energy’s parent company, TEPCO, to its Inawashiro Daini Hydroelectric plant.

During the visit, the students experienced first-hand how renewable energy works, generating power from water that flows from Lake Inawashiro, the fourth largest lake in Japan.

We are extremely grateful to Edward Armstrong, one of the students on the trip, for taking the time to write the blog that shares his experience. We hope you enjoy reading about all the fascinating things the students learned from their one-day trip!

Students at Hydro Plant

HNC Engineering student, Edward Armstrong – The University Centre for Northern Devon

During my recent visit to Japan, I had the privilege of visiting the Inawashiro Daini Hydro plant in Fukushima. Before we began touring the plant the workers provided our group with a briefing on the plant’s history and its continuous developments towards improving efficiencies while reducing running costs of the plant.

Additionally, we learned how the building had to be redesigned and restructured to withstand Japan’s devastating earthquakes. Learning about the plant and its developments helped me visualise the progress we have made in our journey towards a renewable and sustainable power source and the challenges that the environment can present along the way.

Although being constructed back in 1918, the hydro plant continues to produce a reliable and renewable power source for the Japanese population. This persisting success showcases not just the longevity of the hydroelectric power but also the durability of the equipment utilised in its operation.

It was fascinating seeing the integration of modern technology at the plant, allowing for remote control and monitoring of the facility and its equipment. Instead of overhauling the facilities, the implementation of live streaming cameras enables real time monitoring of all gauges and parameters without the need for a permanent crew on site. This development doesn’t just enhance efficiency but also reduces the operation cost of the plant.

One of the key takeaways from this visit and discussions is the concept of sense of place. The hydro plant is situated in Fukushima on the Nippashigawa river and harnesses the natural flow to produce a renewable source of power for the local area. The choice of using hydroelectric power here reflects on the knowledge of the surrounding area and the resourcefulness of the planners."

Analysing all of Fukushima’s fifteen hydroelectric centres across four separate water systems, it becomes clear that each location is carefully selected to efficiently harness the topography of the area and produce the maximum amount of power.

As a production support engineer at Perrigo Pharmaceuticals, my interests in sustainability were ignited during my Mechanical Engineering HNC at Petroc, The University Centre for Northern Devon. I applied to participate in this trip to Japan that focused on the country’s renewable energy efforts including, hydrogen, hydroelectric, wind and solar projects. Being able to witness initiatives like the Inawashiro Daini Hydro plant and NEDO Hydrogen Energy Research Field has been an incredible experience.

Many thanks to everyone working at the facilities for sharing their expertise and knowledge. A huge thank you also to The University Centre for Northern Devon, Flotation Energy, TEPCO and associated companies who helped organise the trip and provide a truly amazing educational experience.

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