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Sharp visions to grow in eco-positive way

Building on its success in 2012, the Zayed Future Energy Prize, launched in 2008 and managed by Masdar, will award five distinct categories during its 2013 awards ceremony.

The initiative represents the vision of the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the UAE, who championed environmental stewardship and sustainability as a fundamental aspect of the UAE’s heritage. The annual award celebrates achievements that reflect impact, innovation, long-term vision and leadership in renewable energy and sustainability.

The Zayed Future Energy Prize has recognised some of the most innovative, visionary leaders in global sustainability. Winners, finalists, and other entrants have made a significant positive impact on the world’s environment with their path-breaking solutions.

In a six-part series we profile companies that have shown leadership and long-term vision in championing the cause of renewable energy and sustainability. The third company we profile is Sharp Corporation, which has been nominated in the Large Corporation category.

For more than 50 years, Sharp Corporation’s efforts in research and development have led to ground breaking solar solutions — from lighthouses and space satellites to mega solar power plants. The company has defined its vision for the future to grow as an eco-positive company. Notably, nine per cent of the company’s revenues come from renewable energy.

Sharp Corporation has recently achieved the world’s highest solar cell conversion efficiencies (36.9 per cent) using its proprietary technology for new triple-junction compound solar cells. On it’s way to realising over 45 per cent under concentrated light, the company has achieved 43.5 per cent efficiency for concentrated cells, another world-record, and aims to reach 45 per cent efficiency soon.  

In an interview, Dr Tatsuya Takamoto, Department General Manager, Solar Systems Group, talks about participating in the prize and the biggest challenges in the implementation of renewable energy and/or sustainable energy solutions.

How did you hear about the Zayed Future Energy Prize?

Dr. Nawal Al Hosany, Director of Zayed Future Energy Prize, mentioned the Prize during a seminar held by the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ). Mr Masakazu Toyada, chairman and CEO of IEEJ, recommended that we participate.

What motivated Sharp to do what it does?

In addition to offering environment-friendly energy solutions as part of our business, we seek to address this concern through our corporate social responsibility initiatives.

How do the current market conditions affect you or your conviction in finding relevant solutions?

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan during 2011 raised challenges in the nation’s energy market, with energy security issues emerging as the most important factor to take into consideration. Towards this end, our company has the wherewithal to not only provide solutions in energy technology but also help safeguard such technology. These solutions are applicable to the world markets.

What would you say are the biggest areas of expansion and / or growth markets for your organisation?

  • Technologies for saving energy and managing energy
  • Solar power generation system
  • High capacity electricity storage technology

 

What do you see as the biggest challenges in the implementation of renewable energy and/or sustainable energy solutions?

Energy conversion efficiency is very important for the solar power generation system. In order to resolve the issues that rise from the instability of solar power generation, we urgently need innovation in the following technologies: electricity storage, fuel cell, as well as transmission including superconductivity, and energy management.

Do you believe this Prize can serve as a catalyst for the development and adoption of renewable energy and clean technologies? How?

There is no room for debate or doubt that renewable energy must be implemented worldwide. However, it’s unfortunate that the concept has not been adopted enough even in regions such as Asia, Africa and South America where solar radiation is abundant enough for solar power generation. This is partly due to the lack of financial resources. In this regard, the Prize can play a key role in supporting the development of renewable energy technologies such as solar power generation.

What would you say should you win the Prize?

Last year, Sharp Corporation marked its 100th anniversary. We have been working on solar power generation for more than 50 years. A lot has been achieved during this period. As recipients of the Prize, we will take on the responsibility to accelerate the development of energy-generation and energy-saving technologies over the next 100 years. We firmly believe that the community can solve environmental issues faced by our planet as long as we work together towards our common goal.

How has applying for the Prize incentivised you to learn more about the UAE and Shaikh Zayed?

Earlier, we had strong conceptual images of the UAE as an oil economy. Learning about this Prize has changed our perspective, underlining the fact that the UAE guided by the vision of its founding father, the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, holds a sustainable blueprint for the future. The Zayed Future Energy Prize has in itself opened avenues for cooperation between the UAE and Japan to realize this vision.

What do you think of the newly launched Global High Schools’ Prize category?

It is essential to create platforms that offer opportunities to high school students, who will be our future leaders.

The award will boost their confidence to contribute to the society and inculcate a culture of taking on challenges.

Categories for the prize

Five distinct categories during the 2013 awards ceremony: Large Corporation: recognition award Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME): US$1.5 million; Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO): US$1.5 million; Lifetime Achievement Award: US $500,000, and the Global High Schools Prize: US$500,000 divided among five regions with each school awarded up to US$100,000 (Africa, Asia, the Americas, Oceania, and Europe).

All categories are assessed on the basis of four key criteria: impact, innovation, leadership and long-term vision.

The award ceremony will take place on January 15, 2013, as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

KHALEEJ TIMES

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