THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, MARCH 2001

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1. State Measures
2. Development and Proof Operation of the Stationary PEFC
3. Research and Development of DMFC
4. The Front Line of FCV
5. Public Road Examination of FCV
6. Production of Fuel for FC and FCV (Touhou Gas)
7. SOFC Activity of NKK

1.State Measures
   To diffuse the FCV, the Ministry of Economy (METI), Trade and Industry grapples with development of "Clean Gasoline" for FC engine. In the middle of March, they will inaugurate the cooperative organization (Fuel Cell Practical Propulsion Conference) with Toyota Motor Corporation to promote to make standardized quality standard and to investigate the assist of the development cost of budget for the fiscal year of 2002. FCV is also proceeded on the method to use methanol as a fuel, and the policy of METI to promote spread of gasoline method may cause bad feelings.
(Nihon-Keizai Shinbun Feb.21, 2001)
 
2.Development and Proof Operation of the Stationary PEFC
(1) Ebara Corporation
   On January 1, 2001, Ebara Corporation constructed the proof examination device for output 250kW PEFC generating system, which will use an outbreak digestion gas as a fuel, and gas will be made during the sludge treatment inside of the sewage treatment plant at Nishi-Town, Tomakomai-City. They announced that examination operation is planning to continue on from July in the year of 2001 to November in the year of 2002. There is no precedent, in this world, for the proof operation of PEFC Unit, which uses digestion gas as a fuel. This system is using the refining method to eliminate CO2 with di-ethanol amine as an absorption substance from digestion gas which is including 60% of methane and 40% of CO2 which outbreak from existing sewage institution. PEFC Unit is made by Ballad Generation Systems in Canada, and Tomakomai City will supply the digestion gas which will be necessary for the proof examination without compensation, and Tomakomai City will use the out- break electrical power without compensation.
(The Japan Industrial Journal, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun, Hokkaido Shimbun, Kagaku Kogyo Shimbun, February 1, 2001)

(2)Ebara Ballad
   On February 22, Ebara Ballad announced that they accomplished over 42% of DC power generation efficiency with the prototype machine of 1kW PEFC co-generation system for household, which was in the efficiency examination at the Fujisawa factory. Since the heat recovery efficiency went over 43%, they accomplished on both high power generation efficiency and high heat recovery efficiency as 1kW class co-generation unit for household. Hereafter, they will aim for on business machine marketing at the year of 2004 by planning improvement on efficiency and reliability and cut down the cost.
(Denki Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Japan Industrial Jounal, Nikkan Kogyo Shimubn, Kagaku Kogyo Shimbun, February 23, 2001)

(3)Nisseki Mitsubishi
   Nisseki Mitsubishi developed a small type PEFC co-generation system, which will use gasoline (nafsa) as a fuel, jointly with IHI, and they announced to start the proof examination at Nisseki Mitsubishi Refinery and Yokohama oil refinery from February 8th in the year of 2001. This system is said to be about the size of large-sized refrigerator, and it is constructed with the output 5kW PEFC stack made by IHI and the fuel processing subsystem, waste heat recovery equipment, and CO removal equipment developed by Nisseki Mitsubishi combined all together. This system has been developed in a part of researching theme of Petroleum Industrial Activation Center (PEC), therefore it is aimed to be used as small-sized package of disaster prevention correspondence type, and it is aimed to be used in the Service Station (SS) as for co-generation. The thermal efficiency is 36%, overall energy efficiency is 85%, NOx is below 10ppm, noise is 55db, and it is possible to be full automatic starting and operation. During a disaster, this system is able to grid-unconnected operation for 2 to 3 days. Based on the result of the proof examination, by fiscal year of 2001, they are planning to have a field examination at the Service Station. To aim its practicability by the year of 2004 to 2005, they established the plant unit price for five hundred thousand yen per kW.
(Asahi Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Japan Industrial Journal, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Kagaku Kogyo Nippo, February 1 and 9, 2001)

(4)IHI
   On February 7th, 2001, IHI announced to have two million dollars fund participation to Mosaic, the U.S.A. PEFC maker located at Illinois. By November of 2000, IHI decided to develop PEFC system, which is involving an investment to Mosaic. However, because of the fund participation, IHI introduced the PEFC stack, which is self-developed and produced by Mosaic, and IHI will combined the reformer made by IHI to increase the speed of practicability of 5~20kW stationary type FC generating system. They are aiming to start marketing on spring of the year of 2002, and they will find a new market as a dispersed power source for domestic gasoline station, convenience store, and for households. In August 1999, Mosaic had been established as a stationary type PEFC maker, invested from U.S. Gas Technology Institute and U.S. ranked 2nd Gas Company of NiSource. At the present time, the company is enforcing the field examination by supplying test plant of 3kW to NiSource.
(Yomiuri Shimbun, The Japan Industrial Journal, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun, Kagaku Kogyo Nippo, February 8, 2001)

(5)Asahi Kasei
   By in middle of March 2001, Asahi Kasei planned to complete the construction of the pilot plant and operate to produce the separator for PEFC continuously. Asahi Kasei has been the big enterprise of ion exchange membrane for electricity analysis, and by using the production line of Ion exchange membrane practically, they supplied the separator for PEFC for sample. This time, by getting some support from NEDO, they will newly establish the pilot plant, which will be able to continuously produce the separator for fuel cells, and they will make this plan in earnest by correspond the trial manufacture needs of vehicle makers who grapples with commercializing FCV. Asahi Kasei is also discussing to newly establish the production equipment that can produce several tons in a year, which is made by Fluorine type Polymer by year of 2003.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, February 21, 2001)
 

3.Research and Development of DMFC
   At this time, the technology valuation report (plan) about "development research of DMFC", which was enforced as revised budget project of fiscal year of 1998 by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, was settled. From the researching development, they obtained the result that the generating ability of DMFC unit cell achieved over 0.1W/cm2. The written report evaluated that "by obtaining high generating ability, the possibility of DMFC as vehicle power source and removable portable power source can be thought." However, to make it practicable, there is large number of technological tasks to overcome, for example, the improvement of methanol permeability of Ion transmission membrane. This project has been enforced for about a year from December of 1998 by commissioning Japan Vehicle Laboratory from NEDO. The main research result which is pointed out is that prepared unit cell made by combining existing Ion transmission membrane and catalytic electrode achieved out put density as 0.114W/cm2. Also on electrical current density, it indicated higher numerical value than the PAFC and MCFC.
(Kagaku Kogyo Nippo, February 19, 2001)
 
4.The Front Line of FCV
(1)Nissan Motor
   On as of the 1st of February 2001, Nissan Motor enforced the organization revision, which is establishing the four departments post on FCV specialized development departments and technology/developmental departments. "FCV developmental department" is one of those. "FCV developmental department" has 60 staffs, and they will take part in development of the FCV. Nissan is agreed to joint development on FCV with French Renault, who is the fund cooperator, and here after 5 years, Nissan is planning to invest 85 billion yen.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Japan Industrial Journal, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News, February 2, 2001)

(2)Suzuki
   Suzuki will take charge as a leader in suitable technology research for small-sized vehicle in FCV development inside the GM Group. Presently, as GM as the nucleus of the group, they are promoting the FCV development inside the group, but from this year, Suzuki will participate in joint development earnestly, and they will take part in development of miniaturizing technology very aggressively. From now on, Suzuki is thinking to contribute on technology development for miniaturizing FC as a center of the group. For this reason, they will send several technology staffs to researching scene at GM, and they will promote the research development on suitability of Liter Cars and small sized vehicle mainly.
(The Daily Automotive News, Februay 21, 2001)
 

5.Public Road Examination of FCV
(1) Mazda and Daimler Chrysler
   On the Mazda and Daimler Chrysler's request of traveling examination of methanol fueled FCV cars, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport did the cabinet authorization to permit the public road traveling examination based on the preservation standard of road carriage cars. This was the first time that the Cabinet authorizes the FCV to travel on the general public road. The Cabinet authorization based on the preservation standard of road carriage car is the system of easing the rule for undetermined vehicles on safeness and anti-pollution and trial vehicles to travel on public road. It is a special permission to let trial vehicles to travel on an actual general public road to decide and improve the rules. From February to August of the year of 2000, both companies will enforce the inside the city traveling examination, which is called "free test" at Tokyo, Yokohama, and Hiroshima. The Mazda's testing car will be "Premacy FC-EV", and Daimler Chrysler Japan's testing car will be "Mercedes Benz Nekker 5."
   By having public road examination, they will gather the data of safety, exhaust gas, and fuel consumption amount, and those data will be offered to the national land transportation department and will be utilize to make rules for fuel cell vehicles here after.
(Asahi Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Tokyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Japan Industrial Journal, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News, February 9, 2001)

(2)Honda
   Honda started the public road proof examination with the "FCX-V3" which is loading the Honda's self-developed PEFC at California, U.S.A. It was the first time to travel on the public road by developed FC by Japanese Vehicle maker itself. From November of 2000, Honda is participated the California FC partnership, and Honda has been working on traveling examination by using FCV which is loading PEFC made by Ballad Company. Compare to the Ballad's PEFC, PEFC made by Honda this time has 63kW to 70kW increased output, and the thickness is about 5cm thinner than Ballad's. Also it has the freezing counter measure and it is be able to collect the system's data under the below freezing temperature. In proof examination, Honda is planning to continue the experience with two kinds of cars. One loads the FC developed by Ballad, and another loads the FC developed by Honda. For the fuel, they will continuously uses the high-pressure hydrogen, and its maximum speed is 130 km/hour, and the vehicle's weight is 1,750 kg.
(The Daily Automotive News, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Japan Industrial Journal, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Tokyo Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, Kagaku Kogyo Nippo, February 14, 2001)
 

6.Production of Fuel for FC and FCV (Touhou Gas)
   Touhou gas announced the establishment of manufacturing plant, which produces hydrogen, the fuel for FCV, from a natural gas, inside of the overall technology laboratory at Tokai City, Aichi Prefecture. It produces 40m3/h amount of hydrogen, which is equivalent to 30 FCV's per day. In addition, they introduced 7m3 storage tank and 10m3 of hydrogen storage alloy made stand. The overall investment amount is 110 million yens. They are stating that if things goes well, they will establish the practicable technology of hydrogen station for FCV by the fiscal year of 2003~4. To establish these kinds of equipment for hydrogen station is the first trial in Japan.
(Chunichi Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Kagaku Kogyo Shimbun, February 21, 2001)
 
7.SOFC Activity of NKK
   At SOFC, NKK made public announcement to have a marketing cooperation with Siemens Westinghouse Power Company (S.W.P.C.), USA . The things the NKK gained this time is that marketing right of stationary type SOFC generation system, and also the enforcement right of system's packaging, marketing, and after service in Japan and Asia. The standard 3 machine types as a base, which has an output of 250, 300, 1000 kW, they are aiming to introduce them after year of 2003. NKK is also planning to promote a market by enforcing the processing type "1st machine" to NKK institution to do the proof experiment in the same year with SWPC forwarding of on business machine, which is year of 2003. SWPC already made the contracts to Canada with 250 kW co-generation system, to Germany with 300 kW hybrid-type, and to America and Europe with 1000 kW-type. Based on these standardize machine types, by year of 2003, SWPC will lower the cost to below half of million yen, which is the semi commercialized level, from present time cost, which is several million yens per 1kW.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, February 19, 2001, Tekko Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Japan Industrial Journal, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, February 20, 2001)
 

-This edition is made up as of February 23, 2001.-