THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, MAY 2001

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1. National Policy
2. Marketing Development of Stationary PEFC
3. Technology on Production and Storage of Fuel for FC
4. Frontline of FCV
5. New Turn of FC Business by Companies

1. National Policy
(1)Ministry of Economy, Trade and IndustryEJapan Industry Standard Investigative Society
   The Standard Sectional Society in Japan Industry Standard Investigative Society, which is the deliberative council of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, confirmed that they will investigate the FC, ITS, Recycle as the priority problem of standardization at the Vehicle Technology Profession Committee. At the Committee, they are planning to enforce the standardization investigation as the leading country. By establishing the standardization in early time, Japanese Vehicle Industry is planning to make sure to keep superiority position in national. Especially in FC, the selection of a fuel will have great affection to maintenance plan of fuel supplying infrastructure, there was a suggestion to discuss the civil standard plan based on correspondence policy. From now on, the committee stated that basic agreement formation on the process of selecting fuel will be the first consideration.
(The Daily Automotive News March 24, 2001)

(2) Ministry of Economy, Trade and IndustryESociety for the Study of 21st Century Oil Industrial
   Cooperating with oil industry, Agency of Natural Resources and Energy established "Society for the Study of 21st Century Oil Industrial", and in earnest, they started the discussion about investigating how is the oil industry in 21st century and to reinforce the competition level of the oil industry. The oil industry will put a vice president, an executive director, and a managing director class people in main enterprises as the member of this society. From the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy, sectional chief of middle class executive staff class people will join the society. About the social background and concrete investigative subject, they explained as below. "Presently, our national oil industry is in the stage of giving the finishing touch to easing the regulation. In addition, we can expect that the appearance of the new energies like FC and GTL will bring a great change to the oil industry environment. In these series of movement, reinforcement of the competition level of oil industry will be the urgent business, and this society will investigate the problem parallel to this theme. From April to August of year of 2001, they we will discuss on the future possibilities of the oil industry, correspondence to the new technology like FC and GTL, an impact and correspondence by enforcement of the measures of green house effect, the development possibility to the over all energy enterprise, and the competition level and our national oil refining industry as it ought to be here after."
(The Chemical Daily, April 18, 2001)
 

2. Marketing Development of Stationary PEFC
(1) Cosmo Oil
   On April 12th of 2001, Cosmo Oil developed Hydrogen Manufacturing Equipment, which will use butane gas as its fuel. With the equipment as a base, they announced that they developed output 1kW PEFC of residential co-generation package. They were planning to make the reforming process to be high efficient and developed a catalyst, and because of that, they succeed on developing the hydrogen creating catalyst from kerosene. With this development as the base, they received the commission research, and they worked to develop the reformer for the residential FC. As a result, with some help from Toshiba, they succeed on developing residential system package, which will use butane gas as its fuel. The package's maximum output is 1kW, its generating efficiency is 25% to 30%, and its heated water efficiency is 4%. They started the examination operation with on commercial electricity in close system teamwork to aim for marketing the package at year of the 2004. From now on, to diffuse the FC system to nationwide, they stated that they are promoting on development of oil type fuel using system, which is possible to use the fuel supply infrastructure.
(Asahi Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Denki Shimbun, The Chemical Daily, April 13, 2001)

(2) Gas Association
   Japan Gas Association started "The Stationary PEFC Millennium Project," which is the proof operation examination, by gathering stationary PEFC co-generation system for residence. It will take 2000 to 2004, which is the 5 years plan, and it is the commission project by NEDO. The purpose is to collect the data, which will be necessary for examination method, safety standard, and national standardization. The proof operation will be examine on 11 unit FC (Tokyo : 7, Osaka : 3, Nagoya : 1), which is developed by 7 companies from inside and outside of the country. The systems, which are introduced for the operation examination, are Ebara Ballard (output 1kW), Sanyo Denki (output 0.8kW), Toshiba (output 0.7kW), 2 units from Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (output 1.3kW), Toyota Motor Corporation (output 1kW), America H Power Corp (output 3kW), and Matsushita Electric Works removable type (output 0.2kW). They will establish the systems at JIA enterprise and inspection center at Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, and they are enforcing the start up and stopping examination and steady output examination. Japan Gas Association is stating that, as this project on a base, they will start the actual operation at residence from 2002, and they are planning to start the introducing diffusion from 2005.
(The Chemical Daily, April 12, 2001, Denki Shimbun, April 19, 2001)
 

3. Technology on Production and Storage of Fuel for FC
(1) Chubu Electric Power Company and NGK Insulators (Nihon Gaishi)
   Chubu Electric Power Company and NGK Insulators succeeded in the development of the gas productive device for FC using garbage as a main raw material. They are considering it as one of promising disposal methods of garbage and to enter the Japan International Exposition (Aichi World Exposition) of 2005. Since November 1999, they install a small plant for the test in Taketoyo Thermal Power Plant, Taketoyo-Cho, Aichi, and they have collected the basic data. The plant adopted the "thermal alkali digestion" method which was developed for sewage disposal by NGK. This method improves the digestive rate of organic matter from 75% to 81%, and the amount of methane gas, the main element of generated gas, is increased for 30%. Also, the time it takes for the disposal shortened from 20 days to 10 days.
(Chunichi Shimbun, March 31, 2001)

(2) Chugoku Electric Power Company and Idemitsu Kosan
   In cooperated with Idemitsu Kosan, Chugoku Electric Power Company will establish a new company for supplying fuel such as LNG in September 2001. Using the storage base in Yanai Thermal Power Plant, they will retail LNG. In addition, they have an intention to enter earnestly in the field of sales of dispersed power sources such as micro gas turbine and FC and conservation of them.
(Chugoku Shimbun, April 12, 2001)
 

4. Frontline of FCV
(1) Toyota, VW
   Executive Director Watanabe of Toyota Automobile said, "We want to bring the time of mass production in 2010. We have confidence on the commercialization. We should clarify the direction of research and development by making the standard of fuel clear." His words intend that the international deliberation on the standardization of fuel should be carried out immediately. Also, he said, "It is wrong recognition that hybrid is just a filler until the spread of FCV. The concept of hybrid vehicle with low energy loss will be carried on to the FCV generation." He expressed the Toyota is considering the hybrid FCEV.
   On the other hand, President Piehi of VW in Germany said, "Practicality of FCV is not so easy as it said in public." VW will work on the super fuel efficient car called "3 Litter Car" which can drive 100km with only 3 lit. of fuel. Also, they will work on the environmental measure of the diesel engine.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, April 10, 2001, Chunichi Shimbun, April 11, 2001, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun April 12, 2001)

(2) Nissan
   Nissan Motor produced hybrid type FCV called "EterralFCV" experimentally. This trial FCV uses FC and lithium-ion battery as power source using high pressurized hydrogen as its fuel. It is based on "SUV", the sports multipurpose vehicle. PEFC loaded on it is made by Ballard, and neodymium magnet type synchronized motor is installed. The driving test has started on general road in California, US and collected and accumulated the basic data for the practicality. It is intended to improve the fuel utility efficiency by using hybrid. Nissan has carried out the development of FCV with Renault. Both companies will invest 85 billion yens and commit 300 engineers by 2005, and they are planning to establish the technology of FCV.
(Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimubn, Daily Automotive News, April 20, 2001)
 

5. New Turn of FC Business by Companies
   TIFC, the joint company of Toshiba and IFC, arranged a business plan at this time. According to the plan, they will concentrate the management resource on the research and development of PEFC and will bring it into business in three years. In addition to the traditional onsite, they aim the spread of business area to business and household uses. By this effort, they will secure 6 billion yens by 2005 and 10 billion yens by 2010 in the Asian market including Japan, China, India, and so on. President Katoh said, "We will do our best on the business of PEFC which is thought as a main force of dispersed power source from now on."
   To be concrete, they will commit 5 to 10kW class power source for business use to the market by 2004. The output power of 5 to 10 kW will not compete with other dispersed power sources such as micro gas turbine and diesel. They will actively find a market in convenience stores, family restaurants, gas stations, hotels, hospitals, and so on. Then they will work to bring 1kW class power source for household use into practical use and start selling by 2006 or 2007. This power source can supply both electricity and hot water. Toshiba develop and produce a stationary 30 kW class PEFC plant, 10 kW PEFC for business use which will generate electricity and heat, and 1kW class PEFC 4 units for the cogeneration used in the household in FY 2000. Based on these technologies, the commercialization of the PEFC will be accelerated. The cost will be 400 to 450 thousand yens/kW, as same as phosphorus oxide fuel cell, at the present. They said that the final goal will be 150 thousand yens/kW. To realize these goals, IFC and its group companies will take roles so the research and development will be done in the most effective way.
(Denki Shimbun, April 13, 2001)
 

-This edition is made up as of April 24, 2001.-