The development of technologies that contribute to the creation of a sustainable society, such as those linked to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, is currently flourishing. But while many of these technologies can help improve the global environment, they tend to result in more production and consumption.
Yuta Nakayasu, an assistant professor at the Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Tohoku University, aims to create a truly sustainable society. To this end, Nakayasu works as a researcher and professor at the university while living in the low uplands of the mountainous region of Miyagi Prefecture, aiming to locally source 100% of the food, water, and energy he consumes. By achieving self-sufficiency of these resources, he believes, we can reduce greenhouse gases and secure the utilities we require. Nakayasu’s goal is the development of useful products, handcrafted and made from locally available resources, that last as long as possible and are easy to return to the earth. And instead of relying solely on cutting-edge technology, he aims to establish a lifestyle that incorporates traditional wisdom. For that reason, he uses a wood stove to warm up and spends his time working the fields.
Nakayasu co-founded Momo in July 2020 in order to help spread this lifestyle. He purchased a cedar forest, cut down the trees he needed himself, dried them naturally, and had the accommodations built through wood processing and the traditional construction methods of local carpenters. By combining solar heat, sunlight, underground thermal regulation, and firewood to obtain energy, this accommodation facility achieves local production of the energy it consumes. In addition, it serves as a base for lifestyle promotion through means such as providing locally produced meals to guests.
Nakayasu also gives great importance to the idea of local production for local consumption as a researcher. He develops carbon electrodes that can be used for storage batteries and fuel cells from oak trees that are cut down to prevent them from withering and decaying. He has been working on the development of higher performance electrodes by utilizing methods such as hydrothermal carbonization and supercritical impregnation when processing the materials, and has applied for patents and published academic papers on the subject. He also co-founded Satoyama Engineering and as their CTO is working on commercializing the research results. Through the development of carbon electrodes, Nakayasu aims to achieve not only the effective utilization of our energy resources but also the preservation of a healthy forest environment.