Thinking on receiving 2019 European Inventor Award
Dr. Akira Yoshino
Report of receiving 2019 European Inventor Award
I received 2019 European Inventor Award for the invention of lithium ion battery (LiB). I sincerely appreciate everybody for many messages celebrating award. This award is given to the inventor who made the invention which has been put to practical use and changed the world drastically, among the patents registered to European Patent Office. Six patents I invented concerning LiB are the objects of the award. I was very impressed to the comment by the President of European Patent Office at the award ceremony, saying gHis technology has transformed our society. His inventions can be found in the smartphones that connect people around the world and are enabling the emergence of electric vehicles too.h He also said gwe can learn the history of LiB by reading these 6 patents.h There are 5 categories in this award; industry, research, SMEs, non EPO countries and lifetime achievement. The 4 categories other than non-EPO are limited to the EPO citizens.
The technology area is not limited for these 5 categories, but I was surprised that the 3 of 5 awards were related to environment technology including LiB, and the others were life science. I strongly felt that the world wishes the progress in the technology on these two areas.
Scene of the Award Ceremony
June 20th , 2019 at Vienna
The Issue of the Global Environment
Here, Ifd like to explain what I am usually thinking on the issue of the global environment. The issue of the global environment, especially the increase in the CO2 concentration in atmosphere is nothing but a serious problem for the human beings. I am convinced that it leads to the climate change. However, when most people believe so, some people begin to claim gthere is no correlation between CO2 concentration and climate change, so that itfs a fake!h for a certain intention. Although the solution may be found spontaneously through pure scientific discussion, it is stupid to waste time for such kind of discussion. I think more straightforward discussion is necessary. It means the viewpoint of the upper limit of atmospheric CO2 concentration under which the human beings can live normally. One guideline of this value is 800-1,000 ppm. This is a value of regulation at the crowded space such as theaters, and some ventilation system is obliged to be equipped to lower CO2 concentration below prescribed level. Though the standard value depends on countries, it is 1,000 ppm in the case of Japan. Therefore, the gred zoneh can be considered 800-1,000 ppm. However, this standard allows us to stay somewhere only for several hours, not all the time, and is considered as the level to encourage us to go out and breathe fresh air spontaneously when we feel sleepy or give yawns even within several hours. How much ppm can be allowed all the time? I also searched, however, there seems to be no definite standard proven medically till now. I think it is reasonable to regard that 600-800 ppm is the gyellow zoneh judging from the conditions of gall the tomeh as well as the coverage from infants to the aged.
On the other hand, since when did the CO2 concentration start increasing? It is an undoubtable fact and universally agreed that the time was after the (first) industrial revolution lead by the invention of steam engine by James Watt in the 19th century. The present CO2 concentration is 405 ppm according to the latest data, while it was 280 ppm before the industrial revolution. It means that CO2 concentration increased by 125 ppm for ca. 200 years. It is thought as an extremely abnormal phenomenon occurring within very short time compared to the history of the earth.
The Image of the Word of the Industrial Revolution
I give a lecture once a week at Meijo University in Nagoya. In the lecture, I always ask the students gwhat images do you have about the word of the industrial revolution?h Most students reply negative images. They are thought to recognize the industrial revolution = environmental problem; the abnormal increase in CO2 concentration since the revolution. In fact, the society of mass production and mass consumption arose by second industrial revolution in the 20th century following the first industrial revolution said previously. These two revolutions brought rich and convenient society to the human beings, but on the other hand, it left a huge negative legacy of the environmental problems.
From the 3rd Industrial Revolution to the 4th Industrial Revolution
After those, the human beings proceed to the next industrial revolution, that is, the third industrial revolution, also called IT or ICT revolution, started in 1995. The present Mobile-IT society was born due to the revolution. Lithium ion battery which I have been engaged was born and grown up with the third industrial revolution. On the contrary that the object of the previous two revolutions was gthings,h the object of the third industrial revolution was ginformation.h To evolve new society combining the technologies of gthingsh and ginformationh is the fourth industrial revolution. It has already commenced. Maybe you know the flooding of the words such as AI, IoT and 5G technologies in the newspapers and magazines. Those are the fourth industrial revolution.
Many people may say gindustrial revolution again?h with negative impression. I really understand that people negatively recognize it. However, I think that the fourth industrial revolution is to overcome the negative legacy of the environmental problems left by the previous industrial revolutions. New technologies such as AI, IoT and 5G will greatly contribute to solve the environmental problems. From such consideration, we produce a movie entitled gEnergy changes - ET revolution bring a new society,h and up-loaded below. Please watch the movie.
I wish we shall surely realize the world described in the movie.
Energy changes - ET revolution bring a new society