On February 20, 2020, Solar Frontier Kyushu Branch held an energy class for about 30 six graders in Kagoshima City. The branch has been participating in environmental education at elementary schools, which Kagoshima City is working on, with its business partners for three years. Many students at the school were very interested in the environmental issues. They asked a lot of questions while discussing global warming and learning about the benefits of solar cells.
In Japanese tradition, the age of 20 is considered very special as it is the turning point where a person enters adulthood. On January 21, 2020, Tokuyama Complex opened a class in an elementary school in Shunan City for fourth-graders who have reached "half adult" (age 10). The purpose is to assist the students in thinking about how to live for the next 10 years until the age of 20 celebrate coming-of-age ceremony. The class is an annual activity and has been conducted for 5 consecutive years. Three of our employees became the class instructors and looked back on their lives; unforgettable moments and experiences, challenges they would have always wanted to take when they were 10, and shared them all with the students as “older brother and sister in life”. The students gave positive responses. They commented that they became aware of the importance of having a dream and taking on a challenge. The school was full of sweet childhood memories that day, and we were glad to be able to deepen our bond with the local children.
For one week from October 7, 2019, upon the request of the Cambodian Ministry of Mines and Energy, Idemitsu Kosan hosted a technical seminar on oil and gas exploration and development in Cambodia. This seminar was organized for some 25 technical personnel from the Ministry’s General Department of Petroleum. Geological and drilling engineers dispatched by Idemitsu Kosan’s Exploration and Production Department to Phnom Penh served as lecturers. This dispatch project has been carried out as part of the project commissioned by the Information Center for Petroleum Exploration and Production (ICEP) over several years, and Idemitsu Kosan has regularly supported the project since the 1990s. The seminar, which consisted of lectures and practical exercises, focused on subjects such as oil and gas drilling technology, in-pit measurement of underground oil gas reservoirs and their assessment methods. At present, in Cambodia, the country’s first offshore oil fields are being developed to start production, and partly because of this project, the participants asked questions actively, making technical discussions lively.
Aichi Refinery (currently Aichi Complex) organized tours for a total of 842 fifth-graders from all of the ten municipal elementary schools in Chita City from September 13–25, 2019. These tours are organized jointly with JERA’s Chita Thermal Power Station every year so that they can be used as social studies materials at the elementary schools. At the refinery, the students learned how petroleum oil is formed and what roles petroleum products play in the society, and studied the colors and smell of crude oil and gasoline. The students also visited the oil tanks, refining equipment, and water spraying drill using water cannon trucks.
On July 29, 2019, as a part of the Chiba Prefecture Dream Challenge Experience School; an event sponsored by the Chiba Prefectural Board of Education, ten junior high school students visited the Advanced Technology Research Laboratories. This hands-on experience class is intended to allow children to experience advanced technology through professional work and encourage them to have dream for future job. The Laboratories supports this activity and this year is the 8th time it cooperated on the program. The students learned about Idemitsu’s products and research at the presentation site in the Chiba Complex, and in the afternoon, at the Environment & Energy Research Laboratory, they received a lecture on the sticky components of natto (fermented soybeans) and attempted to extract them. They succeeded in taking the sticky components out of natto. On that day, our researchers were also greatly excited by the reaction of the students that was full of curiosity.
On July 26, 2019, Science Show was held at Chiba Museum of Science and Industry. This show is intended to familiarize children with science and technology through experiments and experiences, and our Advanced Technology Research Laboratories takes part in the event each year. In this year’s show, researchers from the lab’s Advanced Materials Development Team presented the magic of light under the theme “primary colors of light and its polarization”. The children smiled with a look of delight as they attempted to create sparkling fish using refraction of light.
On July 25 and 26, 2019, Agri-Bio Business Department held a summer workshop at Odaiba Gakuen Koyo Elementary School in Minato Ward, with about 40 energetic children participating. The theme of this workshop is "Biopesticides". The students observed ladybirds that feed on their natural enemies, aphids; which are harmful insects, and bacteria (bacillus bacteria) that protect crops from diseases. Some children looked into the microscope with a serious look, while others were excited to touch insects, and all were very interested. Finally, the children were delighted to receive rice "Koshiibuki" grown with beetles and "Tough Blocks*" as a souvenir. It was a fun day full of smile.
The Exploration & Production Department offered classes under the title “An Introduction to the Frontline of Environmental Chemistry: Part 2” at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, School of Materials and Chemical Technology. Some 30 graduate students participated in the classes. A total of four classes spanning ten hours were conducted in July 2019. The sub-title for the classes was “Petroleum as a Time Capsule of the Global Environment,” referring to the ability to decipher the past changes in the global environment by analyzing petroleum in detail, in which Idemitsu uses the results of such decipherment to make its petroleum development business successful. One of the lecturers said, “In the Mesozoic era, when dinosaurs lived, the earth had a higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the air and a milder climate than today. This was also a period during which the continents were divided, leading to the formation of petroleum, which are indispensable to mankind. Indeed, the petroleum Idemitsu is producing in Norway also has its origin in this era.” The students listened attentively to the lecture, which connected the remote past to the present day.
On June 20, 2019, 24 young engineers from the Japan Aromatic Industry visited the Pasir Gudang Plant for inspection and technical exchange. Established in 2009, Pasir Gudang Factory mainly produces styrene monomers and polystyrene. The engineers were briefed on the factory’s initiatives for safety and maintenance management and given a tour to the production site, offices, and other facilities. They actively asked questions about specific duties in the site, living environment in Malaysia, managers’ initiatives to maintain safety and stable operation and communicate with local staff members. This indicates the participants have high interest in overseas manufacturing sites. In the future, Pasir Gudang Plant will continue to provide opportunities for factory visit, training, and other programs for young engineers who will lead the next generation in the petrochemical industry.
Solar Frontier conducted campus visit to provide lectures for university students as part of an educational program promoted by the Yokohama City Global Warming Promotion Council. These lectures, entitled "Solar Power Generation Business Environment and Solar Frontier’s Initiatives" were given to over 40 students majoring in urban and human sciences at Kanagawa University on June 11, 2019, and Yokohama National University on the 17th. In the second half of the lecture, we exchanged opinions about what services should be provided by using solar power generation". Thinking outside the box, the students delivered their creative ideas.