KIMURA Masato Associate Professor

ThemeDevelopment of methods for efficeinet use of cold enegy from natural ice produced by winter cold air

My DreamEfficient use of winter cold in Hokkaido


Research Department/Department of Agro-environmental Science/Division of Environmental and Agricultural Engineering/Section of Environmental and Agricultural Engineering
Field Agricultural meteorology
Keyword Ice Shelter, cold energy from ice and snow, cold energy resources, meteorological resources


Snow, ice and frozen soil are all characterized by coldness to the touch. These materials can be used as sources of cold to keep things and spaces cold. Furthermore, since their cold comes from ice (water), it's possible to create low-temperature, high-humidity environments. Such environments are optimal for the long-term storage of agricultural crops, so if we can effectively use the cold of snow and ice in Hokkaido, where agriculture is a major industry, then the energy-saving storage of harvested crops will become possible.
Various methods have been devised to efficiently and effectively use the cold of snow and ice. I conduct research on a system called an “ice shelter,” which uses the cold of ice.
An ice shelter produces and stores ice, a source of cold energy, in an ice storage room. Since the system produces ice by using only the natural coldness of air, the vents are open in winter. In summer, the vents are closed and the ice gradually melts as heat flows in through the insulated walls and roof. In other words, water is repeatedly frozen and thawed in the ice storage room. When the ice melts in summer, it takes heat from the indoor air; when the water freezes in winter, it returns that heat to the air. The cycle is repeated, and this series of changes results in a low-temperature, high-humidity environment in the ice storage room. By blowing the air to an adjacent storage room, it's possible to create an ideal environment for storing agricultural products on a long-term basis without using much electricity.
However, there are some challenges. One is to produce the planned amount of ice from the natural cold. Generally, an ice shelter requires at least 100 tons of ice. Although it may seem easy to produce such large amounts of ice by using natural cold air, it's necessary for water and ice to coexist in the ice storage room, a condition under which it is difficult to make ice. To solve this problem, a variety of research is conducted to determine the environment inside the ice storage room during the ice-making period as basic data. Based on that data, we'll develop an ice-making model to estimate how much ice can be made. We aim to create design guidelines.
In addition, to effectively use the cold of snow and ice in Hokkaido, it's necessary to determine how much of such cold is available. We also examine methods for evaluating the amount of cold energy available from snow and ice. This requires that we consider the climatic environment and geographical and topographical factors related to cold in this area.

List of current research topics

  • Study on design guides for energy-saving farm storage using cold enegy form natural ice of 100 ton or more.
  • Study on evaluation methods for the amount of available cold energy from snow and ice.
  • Study on distribution characteristics of rainfall in Tokachi area, Hokkaido.
Affiliated academic society The Society of Agricultural Meteorology of Japan, The Japanese Society of Snow and Ice, The Japanese Society of Irrigation, Drainage and Rural Engineering, The Japanese Society of Revegetation Technology
Academic degree Ph.D.
Self introduction

Although I'm from Ibaraki, I've lived in Hokkaido since entering graduate school, after moving to Akita for elementary school, then Ibaraki for junior high and high school, and then Kagawa for university. Since coming to Hokkaido, I've researched how cold is distributed here and how to use cold energy for storage.

Room addressGeneral Research Building 1
Mail address masa-k atmark