Ricoh promotes active "open innovation" by creating new businesses in the environment and energy fields with the aim of realizing a zero-carbon society and a circular economy. We are looking forward to working with companies and research institutes considering collaborative creation and businesses, as well as organizations interested in our products. Please feel free to contact us.
Ricoh has established the “Group’s Environmental Goals” for 2050 based on the Paris Agreement, international agreement adopted at COP 21 to address the issue of global warming, and conducts business activities to be able to achieve the goals. Also, Ricoh has joined RE100*, a global initiative network of companies committed to use 100% renewable electricity, marking a first for Japan. Aiming for a zero-carbon society, the Center operates experimental research projects on energy management that concurrently enable comfortable business spaces and energy saving.
* RE100:Companies collaborating in this global initiative seek to source 100% renewable electricity.
Control to optimize lighting and air-conditioning operations
using indoor environment sensors
The system manages information in the cloud obtained by sensors, such as the amount of light, occupancy, and ambient temperature. It then controls the lighting and air-conditioning systems to appropriate levels. This allows for improved energy efficiency while achieving energy conservation and optimal comfort, conveniently and effortlessly.
Optimal control of energy used in buildings and offices
In addition to eliminating wasteful power consumption, we control, create, and redistribute electricity in buildings and offices to operate at optimal levels. For example, energy generated from solar panels is stored and then used at night or used to shift the peak-time of power consumption, contributing to buildings and offices being “net-zero energy.”
Next-generation solar cells using material technology
for organic photoreceptors
Next-generation solar cells eliminate the need for power supplied from outlets and coin cell batteries, solving power problems in a variety of environments. “Solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells” have high power generation efficiency, even under indoor light. “Organic thin-film solar cells” are light and flexible. “Perovskite solar cells” can generate electricity, even in space. We support the transformation to an Internet of Things (IoT) society using a clean, smart, self-sustaining power supply.
Effective use of lithium-ion batteries for hybrid vehicles (HEVs)
Hybrid vehicle lithium-ion battery recycling and reuse methods have yet to be established, raising concerns about mass battery disposal in the future. Focusing on society’s shift to electric vehicles and decentralized energy sources, we work on the reuse of HEV lithium-ion batteries for use as assistive power sources at EV charging stations and for stationary power storage systems.
In order to achieve a sustainable society in the future without depleting the earth’s limited resources, it is necessary to realize a “recycling-oriented society” where the greatest effects are generated with the least amount of resources and energy. Ricoh supports the realization of a recycling-oriented society through our efforts to efficiently circulate resources at each of the three stages: when products are manufactured, when products and services are used by customers, and after products are used.
The Comet Circle is a conceptual representation of Ricoh’s approach to realize a sustainable society by attempting to reduce environmental impacts throughout the entire lifecycle of a product, not just within the Ricoh Group but also including both the upstream and downstream sections of the supply chain. As shown in the figure, the smaller the loop (closer to the user), the lower the environmental impact and higher economic efficiency. Ricoh’s development of reuse and recycling technology is seeking to make these loops as small and close to the user as possible.
New environmental materials to replace existing plastics
PLA Foam (polylactic acid) is an original technology developed by Ricoh. Unlike traditional petroleum-based plastics, PLA Foam helps reduce global warming and reduces marine pollution caused by the disposal of plastic waste. PLA Foam does not increase carbon dioxide in the atmosphere when incinerated, and even if the plastic ends up in landfills or the ocean, it decomposes into water and carbon dioxide.
Contribution to plastic recycling by sorting resin materials
Japan disposes of around 9 million tons of plastic waste every year. Most of the waste plastic that had previously been shipped overseas for processing is now building up in Japan due to importation restrictions in China and other countries. There is an urgent need to develop plastic waste treatment facilities in Japan. When varying types of plastics (resin) are mixed in the waste, recycling becomes more difficult. We identify the materials in the resin to sort the waste for proper recycling, thereby contributing to the creation of a circular economy.
Model for “local production for local consumption”
from deforestation to efficient use of energy
Working together with local governments and forestry stakeholders, we can simultaneously achieve forest conservation, CO2 reduction, and energy creation. Also, we developed the “Gotemba Model,” where unused thinned wood is used in the wood biomass energy cycle nationally. This leads to job creation and aids in regional revitalization.
Quality control of vegetables with light control
We gather environmental response data on how frill lettuce changes when grown under varying light conditions by measuring the substance, elemental content, and taste. We aim to develop light control solutions that allow for the cultivation of high-quality vegetables that meet various needs and offer it to businesses working to solve food-related social problems.