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Fukushima Prefecture and Fraunhofer ISE sign Memorandum of Understanding

(PresseBox) (Freiburg, ) The prefecture of Fukushima, which was struck by a severe nuclear accident three years ago, is aiming to become a new hub for renewable energy research. A new center, called the Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute, will open in April 2014. In order to promote close cooperation with Fraunhofer ISE, Europe's largest solar energy research institute, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the prefecture Fukushima and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg on February 12, 2014.

"Applied research is a key factor in the technological development of companies, especially in the field of renewable energy. It will assist in revitalizing and enhancing the industrial competitiveness in the Fukushima area," said Fukushima Vice Governor Fumio Murata. Prof. Eicke R. Weber, Director of Fraunhofer ISE, added: "We are delighted to intensify our cooperation with Japan. Solar technologies will be a main pillar of the future energy system which will be sustainable and carbon-free. To this end, we must cooperate in research at an international level." Two years ago, Fraunhofer ISE formed the Global Alliance of Solar Energy Research Institutes GA-SERI with the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology AIST and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory NREL.

Scientific exchanges as well as joint workshops and symposiums make up the core of this new international cooperation between Freiburg and Fukushima. The idea of a partnership arose at the German-Japanese Solar Day, which took place in Tokyo in November 2012 and was further developed at the Renewable Energy Industry Fair (REIF) in Fukushima in 2013.