Kenji Fukutomi, CEO of Thomas Technical Institute Co.,Ltd. was born and raised in Amami Oshima Island located north of Okinawa. Known as the Galapagos of the East due to its rich resources of endemic and endangered species of plants and animal, these remote islands are on the list awaiting designation as a natural property of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The common problem of island communities is waste management. In Okinawa, the residents have long protected virgin forests and coral reefs in the surrounding clear waters by not building landfills on the islands. However, they faced many challenges in trying to dispose their trash as they can’t afford the high cost of building an incinerator plant or transporting it off islands.
incinerator that doesn’t require sorting of the trash. His goal was to create a smokeless incinerator with co-generation of hot water and steam. After a series of trial and error, he succeeded in achieving a minimum emission of dioxin which is less than 1/50 of the regulation measure set by Japanese government. It is smoke-free even when it burns tires.
Hot water and hot air generated from incineration can supply for shower and heating in a building. Kenji gave an Okinawan name to the incinerator to honor the mother nature of the island. “Chirimeser”, meaning “a machine that burns various waste” is now serving over 70 remote and island communities in Japan.
In 2018, Iranian tanker wrecked in East China Sea and the spilled crude oil reached the coast of Amami Oshima Island. Thomas Technical Institute provided a Chirimeser to the community to clean up the debris and plastics covered in oil. The small incinerator set near the beach burn the mixed waste without pollutant smoke. It would have caused devastating damage to the soil if the oil covered waste was buried in landfill. Kenji who felt the special honor to serve his home island with his invention said “I understand the struggles we face in living in a remote community.