Daikin Research: Changed the Basic Principles of 120 Years

Daikin Industry, which ranks No. 1 in sales of air conditioners in the world, will usher in disruptive innovations in decarbonization. Due to climate change, the number of global air conditioners will increase to about three times the current number by 2050. If this continues, the global demand for electricity from air conditioners will increase to three times that in 2015, and the society’s energy-saving requirements for air conditioner manufacturers will increase accordingly. In order to maintain growth, Daikin will change its business model.

On October 28, 2020, Daikin’s president Masanori Toka and other executives were attracted by a survey report from the New York office. The content is the possibility of Tesla, the world’s largest pure electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, developing the air-conditioning business. “This is a big threat,” an executive lowered his head, staring at the information, and muttered softly.

“May start the home air-conditioning business.” In September 2020, Tesla’s CEO (CEO) Elon Musk suddenly revealed the idea of ​​developing the air-conditioning business at an event for shareholders. In fact, Tesla’s 2020 SUV models are equipped with heat pump air conditioners that are said to be more energy-efficient than general heaters. Tesla is likely to expand its business into the field of household air-conditioning with the help of higher technical strength.

Ninety percent of Daikin’s consolidated operating income of approximately 2.5 trillion yen comes from air conditioners, and it is not easy to sit back and relax. The energy saving of existing air conditioners is approaching the limit. Like driving the shift to electrification of cars that have used internal combustion engines for 100 years, Tesla is likely to bring innovation to air conditioning.

One year has passed since Musk’s speech. At the Daikin Research Institute in Settsu City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan, the development of next-generation technologies is advancing. It is the “magnetic freezing” that changes the temperature of the magnetic material by approaching and away from the magnet, and transmits the temperature change to the water for heating and cooling. This will change the basic principle of the air conditioner that has not changed since it was invented in the United States 120 years ago.

There is no need for refrigerants and compressors, which account for 80% of the air conditioner’s power consumption. Yuji Yoneda, the head of Daikin’s R&D department and executive director, said aggressively, “We will cause disruptive innovation.” However, the difficulty of realization is very high. Daikin will figure out whether magnetic freezing is feasible before 2025.

The world air-conditioning market, which is considered to have reached 10 trillion yen, will usher in a green revolution, and the industry’s framework will be subverted. Daikin, who is wary of Tesla, will also make the new automotive air-conditioning refrigerants practical before the 2025 fiscal year (as of March 2026), and set foot in the pure electric vehicle industry for the first time. This refrigerant can reduce power consumption and extend the range of pure electric vehicles by up to 50%.

Daikin president Masanori Toka, who has entered his 11th year in office, recently told people around him that “changes will definitely happen at the forefront of the battle.” In Asia, where the population continues to grow, the ideal state of air conditioning has begun to change.

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Daikin Industry, which ranks No. 1 in sales of air conditioners in the world, will usher in disruptive innovations in decarbonization

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