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Climate change is a planet-wide crisis and resolving it will require a planet-wide solution — through cooperation among corporations, individuals and governments. And technology companies are uniquely positioned to lead the way. The future for this generation’s grandchildren and their children is at risk without immediate, effective action from the world’s technology innovators. The Hitachi Group, a principal partner of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), recognizes this need and has committed to collaborating with organizations in every sector to help them become climate change innovators. Along with our partners in this global effort, we’ve focused on three specific markets where we can make a difference — and identified areas where wider cooperation could spur greater change. They are mobility and transportation, the power grid, and a “basket of green solutions.”
In 2019, transportation contributed to 29 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.1 This sector represents one of the greatest opportunities for innovation in sustainability. And it is one of the lowest-hanging fruits for tackling change.
Hitachi Rail’s mission is to enable safe, sustainable and seamless journeys for passengers and freight, as part of a more connected, lower carbon transport system.
Rail emits only 0.06 tons of carbon dioxide per passenger kilometer compared to planes (0.08 tons) and cars (0.12 tons), so this is truly a significant lever to pull if we want to reduce emissions.2 In the U.S., the first step is to refresh rail so it has a competitive chance against carbon heavy modes of transport.
Hitachi Rail is investing in innovative green technologies from Hyperloop to hydrogen to biofuels and batteries - to transform the railways to net zero.
Hitachi’s mobility and transportation efforts support the massive growth potential for the electric vehicle (EV) industry. For the foreseeable future, until there is sufficient buildout of charging infrastructure and capacity in power grids, there will be a hybrid environment of EVs and non-EVs. However, every year that we innovate and inch forward toward greater adoption brings the promise of a fully carbon-neutral society. Of course, the challenge here is that the EV industry is still in its early stages and is fragmented. Adoption has been slow, and Hitachi believes our responsibility is to make the transition easier for end users. For example, a fleet operator that owns 100 vehicles may not view switching to EVs as a profitable venture because of the perceived high, initial cost of entry. At Hitachi, we’re working with our industry and government partners to make EVs more alluring to those operators, in part by emphasizing the benefits of EV operation in terms of total cost of ownership (TCO). That includes initiatives like bringing forth EVs as a service and creating programs to ease the transition and make the idea of, and business case for, an EV fleet more compelling.
A related effort, and our second main focus, is the evolution of the power grid. Integrating renewables and transmitting and distributing clean energy is one of Hitachi’s key decarbonization efforts. To this end, Hitachi Energy has developed the industry’s strongest portfolio of technologies designed to make grids more sustainable, flexible and secure, such as high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission systems that can deliver more power over greater distances and reducing losses, making energy systems more efficient. We’ve also added intelligence to the grid through automation and digital solutions.
The grid needs to evolve to provide stable framework to support an electrified world running on sustainable forms of energy. Hitachi Energy, together with customers and partners, is pioneering technologies and enabling the digital transformation required to accelerate the energy transition towards a carbon-neutral future.
To accelerate the adoption of EVs, Hitachi Energy has recently launched Grid-eMotion Fleet, a grid-to-plug EV charging system for large-scale public transportation and commercial fleets. A smart mobility solution, it uses direct current (DC) technology and can connect to any type of power network — removing the complexities of integrating AC/DC chargers into a system. It brings a 60 percent reduction in space required for large-scale EV fleet charging, and it’s expected to contribute to a sustainable society for millions living in urban areas.
Our third focus area is what we call “a basket of green solutions”, such as decarbonized buildings, factories, cities, data centers and more. Many companies and governments want to decarbonize by 2030 to 2050, so there is both opportunity and a sense of urgency across sectors. If these organizations are to succeed, they will need new business models to accommodate required innovation. Hitachi has identified several new models already emerging, such as those around energy trading, recycling and waste management. Many of our technologies are instrumental in bringing these models to fruition. For example, our big data and analytics solutions help manufacturers ensure that their assets are always available and that they are consuming the minimal amount of energy needed. These models and technologies together have the potential to create a circular economy that can support the kind of growth that will help us all realize a greener future.
At Hitachi, we know that by only coming together with other innovators can we help ease the transition of industry and citizens to achieve the green new world we need. Powering good in society and driving social innovation are the pillars of Hitachi’s foundation. Since its founding in 1910, Hitachi has supported the development of society and the improvement of people’s lives. Addressing climate change is the next frontier, and we join our climate change innovation partners to meet this challenge head-on.