Japan: MHI Holds Class on Wind Power to Elementary School Students in Iwaki City
On September 3 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) conducted a science class by request at Yoshima Dai-ni (2nd) Elementary School in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
The class, offered to fifth graders, explained the concept behind wind power generation, including an experiment enabling easy understanding, in a fun way, of the principle of how wind turbines float in ocean waters. The city of Iwaki is host to a large-scale offshore wind farm demonstration research project, and this was the second time MHI provided the local children with an opportunity to learn about wind power generation, a phenomenon with close links to their lives; last year a similar class was conducted Iwaki’s Onahama Dai-ichi (1st) Elementary School.
The class was conducted in the school’s science classroom by an employee of MHI’s Power Systems business headquarters. The first half gave students an introduction to the principle behind wind power generation and the various types of wind turbine in existence, along with an overview of MHI’s onshore and offshore wind turbines and the wind farms the company is involved in both within Japan and overseas. In the second half the students were divided into groups and, using a water tank, plastic bottle, marbles, etc., they experienced first-hand how a floating offshore wind turbine maintains its balance and can stay afloat in ocean waters. In this way they received a general introduction to wind power generation and took up various related topics for consideration.
Among the students attending Yoshima Dai-ni Elementary School are children who had to evacuate from their hometowns after the Great East Japan Earthquake. They and many of their schoolmates have great interest in, and high hopes for, the floating offshore wind farm demonstration research project launched in 2011 in the waters off Iwaki toward recovery from that disaster. Their enthusiasm, together with the acclaim from the science class MHI conducted at the city’s Onahama Dai-ichi Elementary School in November 2012, led to the school’s request for MHI to hold a science class there this year.
The floating wind farm demonstration research project offshore from Iwaki was consigned by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to a consortium of academic and industrial members, including MHI. Under this project, plans call for MHI to assemble a floating wind turbine at Onahama port with an output capacity of 7 MW (megawatts). Through events such as holding local science classes, the company is concentrating its efforts on winning deeper understanding of the development of this next-generation energy under way near Iwaki.
One of the pillars of MHI’s CSR activities is to be “a bridge to the next generation,” and in line with this commitment since 2008 the company has been conducting science classes by request all around Japan, especially where its Head Office and works are located, aimed at cultivating children’s interest in science and technology. In addition, starting immediately after the earthquake disaster the company began supporting the affected region in various ways: transporting emergency relief supplies using its corporate helicopter and jet, providing monetary and material support, performing volunteer work, hosting charity musicals, etc. Last year MHI conducted four science classes by request in the disaster area, and this initiative will continue to be vigorously pursued in the years ahead.
Press release, September 03, 2013; Image: mhi