Business Category : Environmental, medical and welfare
Created on 2011-11-18
Updated on 2015-3-19
Waseda Environmental Institute Co., Ltd. (Shinjuku City)
Waseda Environmental Institute Co., Ltd., is a venture company that originated at Waseda University. The company specializes in environmental business, including consulting for energy conservation and development/promotion of eco-mobility. The following is an excerpt of an interview with President Takafumi Nakajima.
Our company is an example of a venture company that originated at a university, specifically the Waseda University Nagata Katsuya Laboratory, School of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering. The mission of the Nagata Laboratory is to explore manufacturing and social systems that generate low-environmental impact at the time of end disposal of products. We carry out various projects based on research results. One of these is the project to develop and provide services for measuring the effectiveness of CO2 reduction as based on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) called the “Green Point System.” An LCA is a technique for assessing the environmental impacts generated by a product throughout its process stream, from securing raw materials, to production, distribution, use, and disposal. We offer this service for example to organizations which supply recycled bicycle parts, and help them to publicize the environmental contributions made by their businesses with the aim of helping them to improve their image.
Another major project is to develop and promote the ultimate eco-friendly car, an Ultra Lightweight Vehicle (ULV) with a body weight of 82 kilograms. This is a single passenger vehicle, which is now under development under the concept of “more than bicycle, and less than an automobile.” Under the Road Traffic Act, the ULV is treated as a “mini-car” and road-going vehicle. Weight reduction has enabled the ULV to run consuming almost the same amount of electricity as a domestic washing machine. Moreover, the power supply can be switched, for example, from lithium ion batteries to fuel cells so that the ULV can also be used in developing countries.
Further, even small factories in a town can manufacture the ULV because its production is relatively easy. Therefore, we aim to develop a business model for “local production for local use” in partnership with local industries. With regard to local use, we work with the Sumida Ecomobility Consortium, which is promoted jointly by Waseda University and Sumida City to implement projects for realizing an environmentally friendly sightseeing city for the next generation, by taking advantage of this ULV just in time for the completion of the Tokyo Sky Tree, the giant communications tower.
We develop and manufacture the ULV in cooperation with metal processing companies and prototype design firms, and this project is subsidized by the “Key Technology Industry Group Support Program" of the Bureau of Industrial Labor Offices of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. We find many benefits from our location of Tokyo, with its large budget scale and well-established systems. We believe Nishi-Waseda in Shinjuku City, where our headquarters is located, is the best place for us because our business is closely related with Waseda University. Further, Shinjuku City organizes the “Network of Environment-related Business Operators," which offers us an opportunity to deliver presentations about our business. Most of the decision makers, who are our customers, are here in Tokyo. Accordingly, I believe it is very advantageous to do business in Tokyo where many business operators are concentrated.
Address: 2-18-20 ECORICH Takada-no-Baba 8th floor, Nishi-Waseda, Shinjuku City, Tokyo