A company that has supplied hundreds of waste-to-energy facilities in Japan and overseas, MHIEC is embracing digital transformation and a greener future as it looks to expand its global reach.
Specializing in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of waste-to-energy (WtE) plants, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Environmental & Chemical Engineering (MHIEC) has delivered over 300 such facilities both in Japan and abroad. Since the 1980s, MHIEC has supplied more than 20 to China.
As Japan’s aging population decreases, MHIEC’s aim is to continue to grow its global presence, says President and CEO Takayuki Hishinuma. “The Japanese market is shrinking, so expanding our business overseas is very important,” he says, pointing to the Middle East as a particular target. “The waste volume is directly related to the population. If the population drops, waste drops, too.”
Japan’s demographic decline has also led MHIEC to embrace digital transformation to combat the shortfall in available workers. “Skilled operators’ know-how should be digitalized so that even unskilled laborers can operate a plant or it can be operated autonomously,” Mr. Hishinuma says. For example, MHIEC has developed MaiDAS™, an AI-based remote monitoring and operational support system utilized in the Tsuzuki Plant in Yokohama, among others.
MaiDAS™ helps to increase energy efficiency – a key benefit as Japan seeks carbon neutrality by 2050. In its commitment to cutting emissions, MHIEC has also developed systems such as its advanced exhaust gas recirculation and is collaborating with other MHI Group companies. For instance, it has launched a demonstration carbon capture and recycling project with MHI Engineering as part of a local government CCU campaign. “The captured CO2 from the flue gas of waste combustion will be sent to one of Japan’s biggest gas utility companies to be converted into methane,” Mr. Hishinuma explains.