Electric Power Technology Innovation
Electric power infrastructure development in developing countries and around the world is progressing at an accelerated pace. Innovation in electric power technology rivals that seen most recently in the fields of information and communication technology. Modern electric power systems attempt to accommodate a variety of ever-expanding renewable sources and at the same time form electric “smart grids” that enable load regulation, and demand and supply matching over wider areas. An unprecedented wave of innovation in electric power systems is upon us.
Expectations of Technical Innovation
Since the advent of power electronics in the early 1970s, traditional circuit technologies, as represented by inverter technology, have been continuously refined. However, the inherent limitations are widely recognized. Modern electric power systems require revolutionary electric power convertors, current and voltage control, current phase and power factor control technologies that are extremely versatile, highly efficient, low in cost, light and compact.
Discovery of a New Continent
In 1998, Dr. R. Shimada, a Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, came up with the concept of the MERS circuit. Over the next four years, numerous researchers collaborated in the research and development of MERS circuits and Nippon Steel Corporation carried out live field experiments. Through this process, it became clear that MERS is an unprecedented, revolutionary new circuit with the potential to become the platform technology for world-class innovations in electric power infrastructure.
The MERS circuit simply outclasses conventional inverter technology. The MERS circuit is a “duality” or binary circuit, and its significance was most aptly described by Prof. Shimada: “It is not invented by me, but I discovered it. A new continent has been discovered.”
Established of MERSTech, Inc.
MERS by its very nature is a “discontinuous, disruptive technology” – it is not an extension of traditional technology. As pointed out by Clayton Christensen, traditional business entities are not good at marketing disruptive and revolutionary technologies. Despite years of effort and the inexhaustible enthusiasm of Prof. Shimada and others, persuading industrialists to adopt MERS technology in their products ended in vain. As a result MERSTech Inc. was established in January 2007 with the mission of bringing MERS technology to market. MERSTech acquired 10 MERS patents from the Tokyo Institute of Technology when the revised national university law of Japan made the institute became an independent corporation.
The World Technology Standard
During the next two years, MERSTech devoted itself to preparation of business plans, fortification of intellectual property rights, and conducting field experiments in the mills of Nippon Steel Corporation. MERSTech opened its business offices in 2008, and started marketing MERS technology with restricted clients such as Office of Naval Research of the USA.
Despite global economic woes and the devastating impact of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, MERSTech Inc. aggressively continues its marketing efforts domestically, and in the USA, India, China and Taiwan. MERSTech Inc. has a new mission: “To establish MERS Technology as the new World Standard Platform” for electric power systems.