Professor, Division of Environmental Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering
Optimization of holistic waste management
Prof. Matsuto, who conducts waste management research in the Faculty of Engineering’ s Division of Environmental Engineering, recently identified his role as a clinician in waste management. Medical specialists often treat patients with focus only on the affected areas, but they should in fact examine the whole body. In waste studies too, it is important to consider all related processes as a system. These include waste generation, separation, collection, recycling, intermediate processing and landfill. It is necessary to optimize waste management with a holistic approach. Based on this philosophy, Prof. Matsuto now looks at all related matters, such as financial aspects, environmental impacts and residents’ awareness. Waste, or garbage to use its common name, consists of house-hold and industrial types. Waste management methods include physical treatment (turning waste into solid fuels), biological treatment (composting and methane fermentation) and thermal treatment (incineration, carbonization and hydrothermal treatment). Regardless of the method used, waste management ultimately produces residues that require landfill treatment. Prof. Matsuto conducts research on waste management processes ranging from separation to final disposal in view of both hard infrastructure (e.g., experiments, examinations and chemical analysis) and soft infrastructure (e.g., questionnaires and data analysis) toward the establishment of a comprehensive waste management structure. Based on the results obtained, he points out that some waste management mechanisms have failed because the steps involved focused on actions to be taken after waste generation rather than before.
Field survey at a landfill site
The involvement of real application to society in practical learning
Waste management research is a typical area in which today’ s practical learning is needed, and is an appropriate theme for HU because practical learning is one of its basic philosophies of education and research. This style of learning is often associated with university-industry
collaboration, but Prof. Matsuto focuses on the societal applicability of research results. He also believes that HU should continue to produce human resources that meet the needs of society as it has done since its establishment. In this regard, Prof. Matsuto advises students aspiring to be researchers to view things with a sense of perspective and consider objectives. Research involves the processes of achieving objectives as well as methods and results, which in turn lead to further objectives. The best research involves looking at the issue and considering what the problem is. Researchers need to then determine whether the problem is structural or associated with awareness, and must then identify the needs of the situation.
Survey at a temporary storage site for debris from the Great East Japan Earthquake
Composition analysis of tsunami debris from the Great East Japan Earthquake
Optimizing the rest of your life
Prof. Matsuto’ s life view is centered on individuals’ optimization of their future. There is no point in wondering what might have been if you had chosen another option, for example, because you didn’t. People should consider the future based on the choices they made rather than harboring regrets. This also applies to research as well as to choices of jobs and marriage partners. Prof. Matsuto also believes that there are two sides to everything. In
addition to thinking about good things in life, it should be remembered that every gain has a
corresponding loss. Based on this thinking, he encourages students to observe individual fields and carefully consider what is important.