Major Research Topics in Laboratory

Global environmental issues as well as resource depletion problems, which are strongly related to the sustainability of our mother earth, are big issues for us to tackle in this century. We will challenge a variety of topics related to future energy technologies for sustainability.

1. Theoretical Study on Solid Oxide FUel Cell (SOFC)

SOFC is an ultimate energy conversion technology, which is expected to have such high efficiency of 60% by the combined system with turbines. For the market penetration of SOFC, we are conducting theoretical study on physics in complex porous electrode system for designing porous structure. Simultaneously, we aim at establishing porous system engineering by abstracting essential knowledge from the very specific phenomena in the system.

2. Theoretical Study on Lithium Ion Battery

We are conducting a multi-scale computational chemistry study on a mechanism of lithium ion flow within a porous electrode system collaborating with researchers in industry.

3. Novel Nano-alloy systems for H2 absorption and catalysis

To clarify the catalytic and hydrogen absorption propertirs of nano-alloys synthesized by Prof. Kitagawa of Kyoto University, we are conducting a fundamental theoretical study on the emergence of those properties in nano-alloy systems.

4. Challenge for developing practical multi-scale/multi-physics simulation systems

To clarify the complex multi-physics in porous material systems such as fuel cell electrodes, we are developing original simulation programs.

5. Grand design of future sustainable energy society

We are developing a vision and pathways toward the sustainable energy utilization in future Japanese society collaborating with researchers in different institutes.

Major Projects by Staffs in Frontier Energy Research Division

  • -Theoretical Design of Materials and Microstructure for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Electrodes (funded by JST-CREST) 2011.12-2017.3
  • -Theoretical Design of New Alloy Catalysts for Future Energy Devices funded by JST-CREST) 2011.10-2017.3
  • -Development of Large-scale Simulation Method for Reaction-coupled Flow Dynamics in Porous Materials (funded by MEXT Japan) 2009.04-2013.03
  • -Analyses of Chemical Degradation Mechanism of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell and Development of Accelerated Testing Procedures (funded by NEDO of Japan) 2008.7-2011.3
  • -Multi-Scale Computational Chemistry Study on Degradation Mechanism of Membrane Electrode Assembly of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells (funded by NEDO of Japan) 2007.4-2010.3
  • -Development of New in silico Method for Predicting Major Metabolic Enzyme of Newly Developed Drug Molecules (funded by MEXT Japan) 2006.7-2008.3
  • -Development of Higly Active Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Anode by Theoretical Optimization of Microstructure (funded by NEDO of Japan) 2006.1-2008.12
  • -Theoretical Design of Electrolyte Polymer with High Conductivity and Durability by Integrated Computational Chemistry based on Quantum Chemical Molecular Dynamics Method (funded by NEDO of Japan) 2005.12-2007.3
  • Computer Servers available in Frontier Energy Research Division

    To conduct "laboratory experiments" on computer, remote-accessible computer servers are available in our division.


    Past Press Release and Highlights in Newspapers


    Alloy Nanoparticle with Activity Exceeding Rhodium in Automobile Exhaust Catalysis
    - Modifying Electronic Structure by Inter-element Fusion, Leading to the Emergence of Excellent NOx Reduction Activity -

    Related Information

    Oita University Web Page
    JST Web Page
    Kyoto University Web Page
    Kyushu University Web Page
    "Nikkan Kogyo Newspaper" "Oita University has developed alternative exhaust catalyst of Rhodium" (27th June, 2016)
    "KAGAKU Newspaper" "Novel Alloy Nanoparticle Developed, Exceeding Exhaust Catalytic Activity of Rhodium" (8th July, 2016j
    "Oita Goudou Newspaper" "Elucidation of Exhaust Catalyst Activity: Alloy Developed by Oita University and Collaborators, "First Step toward Commercialization", published in Academic Journal" (8th July, 2016)
    Online Articles
    Alloy Nanoparticle with Activity Exceeding Rhodium in Automobile Exhaust Catalysis
    Japanese research team has developed an alternative material of Rhodium (Rh) that is rare but inevitable in exhaust catalysis.

    Elucidating Why Immiscible Elements Homogeneously Mix in Nanoparticle
    -Toward Creaction of Novel Functional Materials-

    Related Information

    Kyushu University Web Page
    "Kinzoku Jihyo" "Kyushu University, Elucidated Why Immiscible Elements Homogeneously Mix in Nanoparticle" (5th March 2016)
    Online Featured Articles
    Elucidating Why Immiscible Elements Homogeneously Mix in Nanoparticle (12th February 2016)
    USJI Universities Research Report Vol. 47 (29th February 2016)

    First Observation of Electronic Structure in Ag-Rh Alloy Nanoparticles Having Hydrogen Absorbing/Storage Property
    -Attempting to solve the mystery of why Ag-Rh alloy nanoparticles have a similar property to Pd-

    Related Information

    NIMS Web Page
    Kyoto Unviersity Web Page
    Kyushu University Web Page
    JST Web Page
    "NIKKAN KOGYO Newspaer" "NIMS and collaborating groups succeeded in predicting H2 absorption properties by computation - Starting to develope database" (20th October 2014)
    "Japan Metal Bulletin" "Observation of Pd Alternative Particle: Ag-Rh Alloy for Cheaper Materials Development" (17th October 2014)
    "Japan Metal Daily" "Ag-Rh Alloy Particle: Observation of H2 Absorption Properties" "17th October 2014)

    Summarize Present Satus and Points of Discussion for Future Energy System in Japan
    - Toward Objective Discussion based on Rationals -

    Related Information

    Kyushu University Web Page
    "Electricity Newspaper" "Analyze issue on energy systems from the neutral standpoint -Volunteer researchers from 3 universities", 30th June 2014

    Comment (NISHINIPPON Newspaper)

    • 15th Sept 2012 "Nuclear-free Society First Govermental Vision

    Comment (KUMAMOTO NICHINICHI Newspaper)

    • 4th July 2012 in "First Year of Renewable Energy (3)"

    Interview (NISHINIPPON Newspaper)

    • 6th May 2012 Interview: How to Consider "Restarting Nuclear"

    Comment (NISHINIPPON Newspaper)

    • 24th April 2012 in "Kyushu Power Corporation, Demand-Supply Balance This Summer"


    • 18th April 2012 "Issues on Feed-in Tarif in Japan"

    Series of Articles: Seminar "Energy and Technologies" (NIKKEI Newspaper) (Total 36 articles)

    • 13th Sept 2011 (14) A New Type of Fuel Cell: Higher Efficiency for Further Fuel Cell Penetration into Society
    • 9th Sept 2011 (13) Fuel Cell: Installation to Apartment Hourses Effective
    • 7th Sept 2011 (11) Future of Wind Power: Offshore Wind Trubine, a Key to Large-scale Penetration
    • 6th Sept 2011 (10) Wind Power: Facing A Land Area Issue for Large-scale Installation
    • 5th Sept 2011 (9) Power Demand and Supply: Smart Mangement Necessary after Large-scale Instllation of Photovoltaic Systems
    • 2nd Sept 2011 (8) Photovoltaic Cell: Active R&D for Higher Conversion Efficiency
    • 1st Sept 2011 (7) Photovoltaic Cell: Cost Reduction in Balance of Systems Necessary

    Urgent Proposal to Counter Power Crisis Caused by East Japan Great Earthquake

    • Prof. Koyama, as a main contributor, published a "Urgent Proposal to Counter Power Crisis Caused by East Japan Great Earthquake" from the Society of Chemical Engineers, Japan.

    Related Information

    Web page of the Society of Chemical Engineers, Japan

    "NIKKEI News Paper"(2011.6.11)
    "KANKYO Newspaper" (2011.4.6)
    "KAGAKU KOGYO NIPPOU" (2011.3.30)

    Electricity from Alcohol by Using Novel Porous Materials
    -Non-Pt Electrocatalyst Development and Mechanism Elucidation-

    • The results of collaborative research with Prof. Hiroshi Kitagawa has been accepted for the publication in Angewandte Chemie,
      International Edition.
      We realized an electrochemical oxidation of ethanol by a novel non-platinum material; R2dtoaCu compound.
      The result was highly evaluated by the Editor to be selected as a "Hot Paper" in the volume.
      Abstract of the Article in Angewandte Chemie International Edition

    MOF Electrocatalysts

    A Metal–Organic Framework as an Electrocatalyst for Ethanol Oxidation


    Lifen Yang, Shozo Kinoshita, Teppei Yamada, Seiichi Kanda, Hiroshi Kitagawa*, Makoto Tokunaga, Takayoshi Ishimoto, Teppei Ogura, Ryo Nagumo, Akira Miyamoto, Michihisa Koyama

    No need for nobles: The copper-based metal–organic framework material N,N'-bis(2-hydroxyethyl)dithiooxamidatocopper(II) (see picture, Cu pink, N blue, S yellow, O red, C gray, H white) is an active catalyst for ethanol electrooxidation. The performance of this noble-metal-free material is comparable to those of some reported Pt-based catalysts.