Since 1712 when the first piston steam engine was developed by Thomas Newcomen, the industrial revolution promoted modernization of society, but at the cost of utilizing vast fossil energy reserves. As a result, we are faced with issues such as energy resource depletion, international conflict, and global environmental issues. The need for a stable energy supply for ordinary people was dramatically re-confirmed in Japan after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
In 1911, Kyushu University was first established as Kyushu Imperial University. Coal was a major energy resource in Northern Kyushu at the time, and so the university pushed forward with a strong focus on education related to the steel industry. Kyushu University was the third Imperial university with a Faculty of Engineering in Japan. Our laboratory was initially established in 1911 as the 4th Laboratory in Mechanical Engineering Department to study steam engineering. Before Prof. Sasaki joined this Department, This Laboratory was headed by Prof. Nishikawa and Prof. Masuoka. Both professors led Kyushu University in teaching and research in the thermodynamics and thermal engineering fields.
After reorganization of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, our laboratory changed its name to the Hydrogen Utilization Processes Laboratory (HUP) in 2005. It was the first laboratory in Kyushu University to focus on hydrogen energy, now a major effort. We aim to contribute to a hydrogen economy in which energy is produced not by burning fuel, but by converting to electricity and heat using fuel cells. This will ultimately result in a highly efficient and environmentally benign society.
We aim to lead a new, second energy revolution, shifting from a combustion-driven society to a combustion-free society, in which burning is not the major way in energy technologies.
Here in the HUP along with our collaborators, we form one of the largest hydrogen research centers in the world, and intend to remain as one of the top research laboratories in the hydrogen energy field. We actively promote staff and student exchanges with world-leading universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), and Imperial College London. We also closely collaborate with many private companies. We hope that our researchers and students will become active leaders in various research fields and industries in the energy sector at the highest levels, by enhancing their potential in this international environment.
For those who wish to follow this path, our laboratory can provide the best research and education environment. We can provide support to be educated under excellent supervision by both Japanese and international researchers, and supply opportunities for funding, such as Super Research Assistant positions for doctoral students.
We welcome researchers from various fields, and students who have studied such subjects as mechanical engineering, electrochemistry, materials science, chemistry, energy science, physics, and systems engineering. We welcome Ph.D admissions for doctoral courses from overseas or from companies. You may understand the Japanese perspectives on fuel cells and hydrogen energy in our latest book published:
“Hydrogen Energy Engineering: A Japanese Perspective”
Editors: Sasaki, K., Li, H.-W., Hayashi, A., Yamabe, J., Ogura, T., Lyth, S.M. (Eds.)