THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, APRIL 2001

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1. Hydrogen Station Construction Project of NEDO
2. Fuel Cell Practicable Promoting Conference
3. The Establishment of Toshiba International Fuel Cells Company
4. Development Condition of MOLB type SOFC by Chubu Electric Power
5. Kurita Kogyo Cooperation on Water Disposal Technology with H Power, U.S.
6. Osaka Gas Cooperation on Reforming Technology with H Power, U.S.
7. Frontline of FCV

1. Hydrogen Station Construction Project of NEDO
   By fall of year of 2001, NEDO will begin the construction and operation of hydrogen station in two-way methods, which are natural gas reforming type and solid polymer electrolyte water electrolyte type. In earnest construction of hydrogen station making FCV as a hydrogen supplying target, this construction will be the first time within the country. Iwatani industry developed the natural gas reforming type, and it will be establish in Osaka City. Japan Oxygen developed and systemized water electrolyte type, and it will be establish in Takamatsu City in Ehime prefecture. Their hydrogen manufacturing ability is both about amount of 30 vehicle per day. However, they both are originally designed to supply amount of 300 vehicle per day as a presupposition, therefore, it is possible to make it practicable right after finishing the proof examination.
    This hydrogen station method has the hydrogen rapid filling ability to hydrogen storage alloy loading vehicle. NEDO, Iwatani Industry, and Nippon Sanso are planning to collect the data while doing the proof operation from the fall of 2001 to year of 2003. The Developing Group confirmed that is can supply 25m3 of hydrogen gas with in 10 minutes. They are expecting that the establishment of this hydrogen station will gain some momentum for diffusion of pure hydrogen fuel type FCV.
(The Chemical Daily, February 26, 2001, and Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, March 14, 2001)
 
2. Fuel Cell Practicable Promoting Conference
   On March 19th, the new organization in the industrial world called "Fuel Cell Practicable Promoting Conference", which promotes practicability and diffusion of Fuel Cell, had establishment general meeting and was inaugurated. In the report, which unified in the Fuel Cell Practicability Strategy Society for the Study in Resource Energy Department on January of 2001, there is the organization who stated the necessity of the establishment of the conference. For the president, Nishimura Taizo, who is the president of Toshiba, was elected. In the participated enterprise, there are 21 companies of board of directors, 44companies of general members, and 21 companies of supporting members. In total, there are 86 companies. They are including the each field of vehicles, electricity, raw material, oil, gas, electrical power, trading company, and construction. Also the activity period is 5 years.
    In the conference, "Marketing Environmental Preparation Plan Working Group" and "Technology Development Plan Working Group" will be establish. The Environmental Preparation Plan Working Group will investigate for the rules and systems, which might be an obstacle for Fuel Cell diffusion, and will discuss how the introduction promotion should be. The Technology Development Plan Working Group will put their view points on the basic technology, which are efficiency, reliability, durability, lowering the cost, and safeness, and will planning to discuss on the concrete working steps on technology development.
(Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, March 20, 2001, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News, The Chemical Daily, March 21, 2001, etc.)
 
3.The Establishment of Toshiba International Fuel Cells Company
   Toshiba joined with IFC and on March 30th of 2001, they established the Fuel Cell Project Joint Company "Toshiba International Fuel Cells Company (TIFC)". The strategy of TIFC is to divide and transfer the Fuel Cell Project of Toshiba's Electrical Power System Company and fuse the technology and resource of Toshiba and IFC. By doing so, they will gain the position as the world leading company. The capital of TIFC is 1,500,000,000 yen, and the expense ratio are Toshiba holds 51% and IFC holds 49%, and they have 100 employees. The head office will be placed in the Toshiba head office, which is located in Shibaura, Tokyo. For the company president, Katoh Hisashi, who is the chief of Electrical Power System Company Project Promotion in Toshiba, will take part, and they are planning to develop, manufacture, marketing, maintenance service on the residential and on-sight PEFC and on-sight PAFC.
    For the present, about the original on-sight PAFC, they are aiming to sell amount of 20 vehicles per year. For the PEFC, they are aiming to promote the development of the commercial machine to put in the market for year of 2004. Also they are planning to enlarge the marketing for the residential machines. Hereafter, they will place the PEFC as the main spread power source, and they are stating that will aggressively invest for the management resources. On the other hand, for the vehicle PEFC, IFC is planning to establish a joint enterprise with Shell of England, and by doing so, Toshiba IFC Group will accelerate on the development of stationary FCV PEFC by tagging the world union.
    Furthermore, TIFC accelerate on developing the residential PEFC, and they presented that they are aiming to make the residential PEFC practicable in after 5years. For the cost, they are aiming about 500,000 yen/kW. At the Environmental exhibition, they displayed the residential 1kW PEFC co-generation proto-type, which will use the natural gas as a fuel. Its thermal efficiency is 25~30% and hot water efficiency is 40%. However, for the commercial machine, they are aiming for more than 35% on thermal efficiency and more than 40% on hot water efficiency.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun, March 19, 2001, and Dempa Shimbun, March 13, 2001, etc.)
 
4.Development Condition of MOLB type SOFC by Chubu Electric Power Company and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
   Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Chubu Electric Power Company jointly developed 15kW class T-MOLB type SOFC (flat type), and the operation test of the SOFC reached over 5,000 hours. The structure of the SOFC is simple and requires fewer numbers of parts. It is possible to lower the cost drastically by the wet method. In the future, they will accelerate the development aiming for the practical use of a several kW to several tens kW class small co-generation system (objective thermal efficiency 80%).
    Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has been developing the plane type and the tubular type. This plane type consists of piled up cells of 20 by 20 cm square (about 100W output), lantern nickel for the cathode, stabilized zirconium for the electrolyte, nickel yttrium stabilized zirconium for the anode, and lantern chromium for the inter-connector. As a result of the operation of 15kW class using these cells started in July 2000 at Kobe Dockyard of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the accumulated hours of the operation reached 5,000 hours. At the same time, the experiment of the high efficient internal reforming which reforms the natural gas inside the cell was conducted. This reforming method used the catalytic effect of nickel on the cathode. Though the thermal efficiency was about 30%, they assume that 40% of the efficiency can be secured at the time of the practicality. From now on, they will work on the durability and reduce in cost, and they will aim for the practicality of the several tens kW class.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, March 1, 2001)
 
5. Kurita Kogyo Cooperation on Water Disposal Technology with H Power, U.S.
   On March 21, 2001, Kurita Kogyo announced that they enter the business on FC. By forming a strategic partnership with H Power, they supply maintenance-free pure hydrogen production device and the remote observation system for the PEFC system. Their target is PEFC with 4 to 7kW of generating ability. As starting the business in the U.S. market as their weapon, they are aiming for the 10 billion yens of sales within 5 years including Japanese market. On the other hand, H Power is expecting that by changing the distillation apparatus from original to that of Kurita Kogyo, the thermal efficiency will be improved 2 to 3 %.
    H Power is dealing with the commercial manufacture of 35kW PEFC. At the same time, they are promoting the business on 3 to 4.5kW PEFC for households, and they are going to sell 12,300 machines within 3 years to the All America Electric Power Cooperative Organization (ECO) which is organized by small and medium size electric power companies and gas companies in the U.S. Kurita Kogyo exclusively supply the water disposal system for FC for ECO.
(Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily, March 22, 2001)
 
6. Osaka Gas Cooperation on Reforming Technology with H Power, U.S.
   On March 21, 2001, Osaka Gas announced that they supply fuel cell reforming technology of household PEFC to H Power Company of U.S. It is not monopolistic, and the supply will starts on April 1. Bt supplying a small, high efficient, and inexpensive fuel cell reforming technology to H Power who is aiming the entry to the Japan market for the household, Osaka Gas will hasten the commercialization of 500kW class household PEFC co-generation system. Then by that, they want to increase the gas demand. Originally, Osaka Gas was aiming for the practicality of the household PEFC co-generation system in 2005, however by supplying technology to H Power who is planning to commercialize in 2003, it is possible to realize the plan 2 years ahead.
    The fuel reforming system developed by Osaka Gas possesses 77% of the process thermal efficiency and CO concentration in the reformed gas is less than 1ppm. This reformer is a compact unified reformer containing steam producer. Also, this system does not require any maintenance for 90,000 hours and its coast will be under 50,000 yens at mass-production. Though the natural gas is its standard fuel, it can divert for propane gas with a minor change. Supplied this system, H Power makes 500W PEFC co-generation system for Japan market, and Osaka Gas will set 10 of them to general houses during the fiscal year 2001 to start the operation test. As a practical specification, Osaka Gas aims for 35% of net thermal efficiency, 30% of heat recovery efficiency (60 hot water storage), 10 years of durability, and under 600,000 yens of cost (including the setting fee). These objectives will be achieved.
(Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, March 22, 2001 etc.)
 
7. Frontline of FCV
(1) Toyota
   As developing FCV called "FCEV3", Toyota announced that they start the test on a public thoroughfare in Japan this summer. FCEV3 is the third FCV of Toyota and is adopted the hybrid method loading FC and side battery as the first and the second FCV's. This time it was based on Kluger V, SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle). Hydrogen, which is the fuel of the fuel cell, will be stored in the hydrogen absorbing alloy. This vehicle was demonstrated at the "Fuel Cell International Symposium which was held on March 1 and 2 by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Toyota is planning to bring it to the practical use in 2003.
    The fuel cell stack is PEFC which originally developed by Toyota, and its output power is 90kW combined with a nickel hydrogen battery. As a result, a braking energy can be recovered thus its mileage performance is improved. Also, it led to the solution to the starting performance. In addition, by making the FC system small, five people can ride on the vehicle as same as the usual gasoline vehicle. Its maximum speed is 150km/hr and its cruising range is more than 300km. The motor used is permanent magnet synchronized electric motor type, and its maximum output power is 90kW, maximum torque is 269Nm.
(Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Daily Automotive, February 28, 2001, March 2, 2001, etc.)

(2) First FCV Driving Test on Public Thoroughfare in Japan
   The first driving test on public thoroughfare of FCV in Japan was conducted on March 3, 2001 at Minato Mirai 21, Yokohama. It was driven for about 2km at 30km/hr. It was conducted as a part of the technological development joint project of the petroleum industry activation center. At the test, "NECAR5" provided by Daimler Chrysler Japan Holding Company and "PremacyFC-EV" provided by Mazda were used, and methanol, the fuel for the vehicles, were provided by Nisseki Mitsubishi. In this project, the driving test has been started on February 15, 2001 at Yokohama oil refinery, Nisseki Mitsubishi Refinery. They has been collecting data on a driving performance, a mileage, and an exhaust gas performance at several tests including this test on the public thoroughfare. They are planning to have driving tests in Yokohama, Tokyo, and Hiroshima by this summer.
(Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, March 3, 2001, Sankei Shimbun, March4, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, March5, The Chemical Daily, March 6)

(3) Selection of Fuel for FCV
   At the first Natural Gas Committee, Development Group, Petroleum Section, Total Resource and Energy Investigation Organization, Toyota announced an opinion on "Power source for vehicles and its fuel in the future" and clarified that they are paying attention to a combined fuel (GTL) made from natural gas for a reformed fuel of FCV. They said that low exhaustion of gas and high efficiency are required for the future power source for vehicles. As a result of the evaluation of GTL, they seem to confirm some great advantages of that fuel. For the FCV system, basically it is important to develop a clean gasoline (CHF, clean hydrocarbon fuel). They placed those fuels as the common fuel for the reformed FCV, the internal combustion engine, and the hybrid vehicle of the internal combustion engine and the battery.
(The Daily Automotive, March 5, 2001)