THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, MARCH 2002

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1. Governmental Policy and Activity
2. Hydrogen Supply Station as NEDO Project
3. Market Development of PAFC
4. Development and Demonstration of SOFC
5. Development and Results of Verification Tests in PEFC
6. Development and Commercialization of PEFC Cogeneration for Domestic Application
7. The Front of FCV
8. Hydrogen and Fuel Related Technology
9. The Enterprise Activity

1. Governmental Policy and Activity
(1) Deputy Minister Meeting
    Japanese government has decided to establish "FC Project Team" in deputy minister meetings on January 31, 2002. The team consisted of 3 deputy ministers from Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation and Ministry of the Environment will hold meetings several times from February to May under the leader of Mr. Keiji Huruya, vice minister of METI and reflect the results to governmental policy in 2003 or later. FC for stationery and transportation uses are expected a big contribution to reduce CO2 in public welfare and transportation fields which energy consumptions have grown largely.
(The Chemical Daily February 21, 2002j
    The first meeting of FC Project Team was held on February 20, 2002 in METI, which consists of METI, MLIT and MOE and started concrete study for governmental policy on commercialization and the diffusion of FCV or stationery FC mainly in public welfare and transportation fields. There were several opinions to promote FC to the Japanese citizen, such as "PR(public relations) through demonstration tests of model house or FC bus", "to take FC into school education system under cooperation of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
(Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Denki Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun February 21, 2002)

(2) Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation
    MLIT has decided to start a research on new town making use of FC in Hokkaido from spring in 2002, focusing on a simple hydrogen store and transportation system proposed by professor Masaru Ichikawa, catalyst chemistry of Hokkaido University. They plan to establish study committee consisting of local governments and private industries in April under budget of 60 million yen assigned for 2002 and carry out demonstration test of FC toward commercialization at cities including Sapporo in Hokkaido.
    The system proposed by Professor Ichikawa is to transport dekalin(liquid state and includes hydrogen at high concentration) to home or other users installed FC by tank truck and to operate FC using the dekalin as professor Ichikawa has developed production technology of dekalin derived efficiently from natural gas. MLIT will study feasibility of the system to introduce FC into cold area where Hokkaido has local characteristics to be able to use efficiently both electric and heat produced from FC.
(Hokkaido Shimbun February 2, 2002)

(3) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
    METI has partly reexamined their strategy for PEFC development and raised target value of power generation efficiency by 5-15 %, at full commercial stage to be realized later than 2010. For example, efficiency of PEFC stack for FCV was revised from 50 % in conventional to 65 % and efficiency in total car to 51-60 % in case of hydrogen fueled car and to 45-48 % in case of gasoline reforming. Performance of FCV must be distinguished because energy efficiency of low emission car including hybrid car will be improved and the cost will be reduced remarkably at the stage. On the other hand, target of stack efficiency was revised from 50 to 55 % in stationery power units for domestic and commercial use and the system efficiency from 35 % to 40 %. Their purpose is to keep a dominant position in efficiency when it is combined with hot water generator and grid connection, in comparison with other distributed generator.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun February 5, 2002)
    Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of METI has decide policy to mitigate safety regulation on fuel cell to the same level as solar cell. FC power generation equipment is to decide a technical specialist in charge for each one unit to keep safety and serious duty for maintenance exists according to the current electric business law. They have intension to mitigate the duty by changing the classification of FC from utility level to general application in order to promote diffusion of FC.
(Yomiuri Shimbun February 23, 2002)
    METI has decided policy that FCV center(Mr. Shoji Tange, President of the Center) is in charge for large scale demonstration of FCV to be held from 2002, established in Japan Electric Vehicle Association and they reexamine the organization and person in charge and strengthen the organization.
(The Daily Automotive News February 25, 2002)

(4) Ministry of the Environment
    MOE has decided to start subsidy from 2002 which subsidize a half of business cost carried out by local government, using natural energy resources mainly focused on biomass. Operation of FC fueled methane gas produced from garbage or excrement of livestock is the object for the subsidy and they expect effect of this subsidy toward diffusion of FC to private industries.
(Denki Shimbun February 26, 2002)
 
2. Hydrogen Supply Station as NEDO Project
    The first hydrogen supply station for all weather in Japan has been completed February 7, 2002 at Torishima Technical Center of Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. in Konohana-ku, Osaka city and started the demonstration operation toward commercialization. This is a project leaded by Engineering Advancement Association of Japan, entrusted by METI and NEDO in a link of WE-NET project and private industry group participated for the construction, including Iwatani International Corporation, Osaka Gas etc. This station can supply high pressure hydrogen to FCV, which 4N(nine) pure hydrogen is produced by steam reforming of town gas and stored. FCV of Toyota Motor Corporation, Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Daihatsu Motor Corporation were in a line in front of the station and charged 25 MPa hydrogen at the completion ceremony held on February 7, 2002.
(Asahi Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News February 8, 2002)
    NEDO has completed the second hydrogen supply station for FCV in Takamatsu city. The completion ceremony will be held at Sikoku Research Institute Inc. on February 28, 2002. Nippon Sanso Corporation was in charge to construct this facility entrusted from Engineering Advancement Association of Japan. This is by water electrolysis using PEM and electric power from Sikoku Research is used to produce 4N pure hydrogen. 25 and 35 MPa high pressure hydrogen can be supplied to FCV and this facility has also 1 MPa supply line for FCV with hydrogen storing alloy tank. The hydrogen production capacity is one car per hour and the charge time is within 10 minutes. Continuous operation performance will be confirmed by continuing the operation until 2003 and energy efficiency of the system will be also evaluated which is necessary performance for commercialization and also selection of optimum conditions at hydrogen charge and confirmation of safety system will be carried out.
(Denki Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily February 21, 2002)
 
3. Market Development of PAFC
    Fuji Electric Co., Ltd. received an order of PAFC power generation system fueled digester gas at sewage treatment center in Yamagata city. The digester gas is organic gas produced from sewage and fuel consumption is 90 m3/hr and generated electricity by two unit of 100 kW is used in the center. And the heat recovered from PAFC and digester reactor is used for air conditioning in the center. It is said that to bring the plant to stable power generation operation in a short time is usually difficult because gas composition is not the same for each sewage treatment facility, however, Fuji said that commercial operation is possible this time in a short time because Yamagata city has a lot of data on gas composition.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun February 18, 2002)
 
4. Development and Demonstration of SOFC
(1) Toho Gas Co., Ltd.
    Toho Gas has decided to start commercialization of SOFC using high performance electrolyte of ScSZ (Scandia Stabilized Zirconia) they developed. They developed ScSZ electrolyte in 1999 under cooperation with The First Rare Element Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.(Osaka City). They can expect cost reduction of this SOFC because size per output becomes a half as this electrolyte has oxygen ion conductivity 2 times higher than conventional YSZ and operating temperature is lower than 800 Ž. They intent to commercialize the SOFC and sell it to fabricator in 2003.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun February 21, 2002)

(2) Electric Power Development Co., Ltd.
    EPDC announced on February 22, 2002 that they have started operation of coal gasification pilot plant for fuel cell (EAGLE) installed in their Wakamatsu Works. Test term is 5 years ending at 2006 and the total budget is 25 billion yen. They will pay one third of the budget, which is the remain excluded subsidy from NEDO. They have a plan to operate SOFC for 2 years starting from 2007, using coal gasified gas, which SOFC have been developed at the center. EAGLE project is technical development for Integrated coal Gasification with Fuel Cell (IGFC) and the fuel cell is operated by hydrogen and carbon monoxide produced from coal gasification and gas turbine and steam turbine are also operated by recovered heat from the plant. Development targets are to establish oxygen blown coal gasification and gas clean up technology applicable to fuel cell.
(Denki Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun February 25, 2002)

(3) TOTO Ltd.
    TOTO decided their policy to develop module toward commercialization of SOFC. Their plan is to fabricate prototype unit by 2003 and to carry out field test in 2004.
(Nikkan Kensetsu Kogyo Shimbun February 26, 2002)
 
5. Development and Results of Verification Tests in PEFC
(1) Nippon Mitsubishi Oil Corporation
    Nippon Mitsubishi attained 5000 hr operation of 5 kW PEFC fueled light naphtha, installed at Negishi service station which is operated by Nippon Mitsubishi Trading Co. and they confirmed that they can reduce CO in hydrogen down to almost zero. CO removal unit will be reduced 40% in size in newly developed fuel treatment system to be introduced in 2002. The fuel treatment system is compact in size which is steam reformer integrated with desulfurization and CO removal and hydrogen concentration of the product gas is 74 % as target. Next operation target is 10000 hr.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun February 6, 2002)

(2) Electric Power Development Co., Ltd.
    EPDC has decided to develop stationery PEFC fueled DME(Dimethyl Ether). They will do basic research until 2003 as entrusted project from NEDO and then they will go to product development stage. Trading house, chemical industries and oil companies have a plan to start commercial production of DME until 2006.
(Yomiuri Shimbun February 13, 2002)

(3) Osaka Prefecture University
    Professor Masahiro Tatsumi and their research group of graduates school of Osaka Prefecture University have developed a electrolyte of PEFC which has durability for high temperature. This new material is organic and inorganic compound and the electrolyte is not degraded even under 130 Ž or higher. This is called GPTMS(ƒΑ-Glysidxy Propyl Trimethoxy Silane) which is organic compound added hydrophile characteristics.
(Nihon Kogyo Shimbun February 14, 2002)
 
6. Demonstration and Commercialization of PEFC Cogeneration for Domestic Application
(1) The Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc.
    Tohoku Electric announced on February 4, 2002 that they started demonstration test of PEFC cogeneration system for domestic application in their research and development center. 1 kW PEFC system fueled town gas 13A, made by Toshiba has been installed in the center and produced electricity is used in the center through grid connection and recovered heat is used as hot water(60 Ž) supply.
(Denki Shimbun February 5, 2002, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun February 6, 2002)

(2) The Japan Gas Association
    Mitsubishi Electric Corporation in Japan, UTCFC and Plug Power Fuel Cell Systems in USA, 3 companies are to participate demonstration program for home use PEFC promoted by the Japan Gas Association. 7 companies including Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd., Matsushita Electric Works already have been participating by supplying 11 units and participants become 10 companies in total. New participants will install 1 kW unit by Mitsubishi, 6 kW unit by UTCFC and 5 kW unit by Plug Power at Millennium PEFC Plaza of the association. Ebara-Ballard announced at the beginning of January 2002 that they attained power generation efficiency of 34 %, who has participated from the first.
(The Chemical Daily February 15, 2002)

(3) H Power Corporation (H Power)
    H Power Japan Corporation, jointly established by H Power Corporation and MITSUI & Co., Ltd, and MITSUI & Co., Ltd will start marketing 500 W class home use PEFC fueled natural gas reformed. H Power developed the fuel cell and Osaka Gas Co., Ltd developed the reformer. The market development is planed with 3 type units, i.e. 5 kW units fueled natural gas or propane gas reformed, which are marketing for trial use and 500 W class unit fueled pure hydrogen. The 5 kW unit is still in development stage for commercialization and will be put on a full scale production from 2003, establishing the mass production system in 2002. 500 W unit fueled natural gas reformed is now stage of manufacturing for trial, and a little less than 40 units of other 2 types have been sold to such as trial use by energy company use.
    The price have been reduced to less than 6 million yen per kW, but electricity generating efficiency is not enough, i.e. about 26 %. They plan to establish PEFC market in Japan, participating to national projects actively, but they will not participate to 2nd phase demonstration project which focus on mainly durability performance to be conducted by Japan Gas Association.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun February 21, 2002)

(4) Shikoku Electric Power Co., Ltd
    On February 22, 2002, Shikoku Electric Power Co., Ltd announced that they will conduct demonstration test for home use PEFC co-generation system at Shikoku Research Institute Inc. Gathering generating and operability performance data and assessing waste heat characteristic and environmental performance for 2 years ending at March 2004, they will verify the basic performance including reliability and durability.
(Denki Shimbun, February 25, 2002)
7. The Front of FCV
(1) Honda Motor Co., Ltd
    Honda decided to limit the marketing of hydrogen fueled FCV which will be put into practical in 2003, only to North America market. On the other hand, Toyota has policy to limit the marketing of hydrogen fueled FCV which will be put into practical in 2003 only to Japanese market and they starts the study for arrangement of their own hydrogen supply station.
    Hydrogen fuel for FCV, conducting public road test now by Honda, is supplied from Honda R & D Center in Tochigi prefecture and now they transport FCV in case of local region road test. Presently, hydrogen fuel station arrangement in Japan is not so established because of its strict regulation and therefor, they decided to limit marketing FCV which will be put into practical in 2003 to North America at where the arrangement of hydrogen fuel station is well established in accordance with such a CaFCP(California FC Partnership).
    On the other hand, Toyota plans to start to put FCV into practical in Japan with limiting user and target area will be arround their head office and R & D Center in East Fuji where presently there are hydrogen station. Also, they are planning to study the arrangement of hydrogen supply station under cooperation with oil refinery companies.
(The Daily Automotive News February 15, 2002)
    Honda decided to start to put next generation battery unit "Ultra Capacitor" into practical when they commercialize FCV. Being Ultra Capacitor which can discharge bigger current instantaneously than conventional battery, built in FCV, they plan to improve fuel consumption by utilizing regenerating energy efficiently.
(The Daily Automotive News February 15, 2002)

(2) Nissan Motor Co., Ltd
    Nissan Motor decided to proceed with full scale development of a environment acceptable new type unit "HCCI Engine". With this efficient internal combustion engine, having thermal efficiency of 40 %, low emission vehicle equivalent to FCV becomes feasible with lower cost. And they plan to put into practical for use such as prime mover of hybrid car.
(The Daily Automotive News February 9, 2002)

(3) Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
    Mitsubishi Motors announced on February 18, 2002 that they have seceded from the cooperative development team for FC system which is fully organized and supported by Mitsubishi group including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Co., Ltd and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. As well as less practical progress of cooperative works for FC area with Daimler Chrysler, capital affiliated company, their plan to commercialize FCV by 2005 becomes difficult to realize practically.
(Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, February 19, 2002)

(4) Toyota Motor Corporation
    Toyota Motor decided the plan for commercialization of hydrogen fueled FCV in metropolitan area in advance by around in summer of 2003. Considering arrangement for hydrogen supply station, they limit marketing in metropolitan area. And reducing the price to less than 10 million yen, they plan to sell FCV to mainly government and municpal offices and major enterprises. Model to be on sale is modified FCHV-4 which is under the road test, and have a feature of cruising capability more than 250 km by one fuelling. Being not mass production , the number on sale will be limited to about 10. Though investment cost of development is said some hundred million yen per one car, they will forward this under deficit as this is the first step for market penetration.
    Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is proceeding with arrangement for hydrogen supply station in metropolitan area by entrusted private industries and the first station will open at Tsurumi Ward, Yokohama City in June 2002 and another 5 stations will follow by 2003.
(Chunichi Shimbun, Tokyo Shimbun February 24, 2002)
 
8. Hydrogen and Fuel Related Technology
(1) Japan Metal and Chemical Co., Ltd
    Cooperating with Air Products and Chemical, Inc. USA, the biggest hydrogen supplier in the world, Japan Metal and Chemical starts a development of hydrogen supply system for FC adopting hydrogen storing alloy. The main target is to establish safe and efficient FC hydrogen supply system which consists of production, storage and transportation, utilizing hydrogen storing alloy technology of Japan Metal and Chemical.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun February 4, 2002)
    Japan Metal and Chemical Co., Ltd. decided to operate again 1500 ton/year production plant for hydrogen storing alloy in North Carolina, USA which has been stopped. The decision was made by judgement which demand for hydrogen storing alloy into hydrogen fuel tank would be extended because construction of hydrogen supply station for FCV and stationery FC would be active in USA.
(The Chemical Daily February 8, 2002)
    Japan Metal and Chemical fallen into financial difficulties gave up reconstruction of the company by their own efforts and decided a policy to enter legal procedure.
(Tokyo Shimbun February 8, 2002)

(2) NKK
    NKK announced on February 5, 2002 that they established "DME Development LLC" under cooperation with 9 companies such as Nippon Sanso Corporation, @ @ Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Iwatani International Corporation, Idemitsu Kosan Co.,Ltd., LNG Japan Corporation, which installs and operates demonstration plant for DME production.
    The new company invests 20 billion yen for 5 years and installs the plant in Kushiro, Hokkaido and produces 100 T/D of DME by direct synthesis method. The purpose of this demonstration plant is to establish production technology at low cost. DME International established by the above 8 companies besides LNG Japan will complete the first commercial production plant in 2006 in Australia or Indonesia or Middle East Asia now under research, followed by the current demonstration project.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun February 6, 2002)

(3) Hokkaido University etc.
    Professor Masaru Ichikawa of Catalytic Chemistry Research Center, Hokkaido University and Sekisui Chemical Co.ALtd. and Densei Inc.(Sapporo City) started demonstration test of hydrogen storage and discharge system for stationery FC, using liquid organic hydride. They will install high speed hydrogen generation facility of injection method in Tsukuba Research Institute of Sekisui Chemical and evaluate stability through continuous operation, which will be applied for 1-3 kW home use power generation. This liquid organic hydride consists of saturated hydro-carbon such as cyclohexane or dekalin and they change them into benzene or naphthalene by discharging hydrogen of 3-5 molecules and they can storage hydrogen by using reverse process.
 
9. The Enterprise Activity
(1) TIFC and UTCFC(UTC Fuel Cells) in USA
    TIFC(Toshiba International Fuel Cells) and UTCFC have agreed to establish APFC(Asian Pacific Fuel Cells) as sales company of fuel cell at the end of February, 2002 in Singapore. The purpose of this company is to sell stationery PEFC(Output power: 1-100 kW) to develop Oceanian Market. They intend to establish a center for development and production in the future and respond to world market to be extended.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun February 7, 2002)

(2) Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and UT
    UT(United Technologies Company) announced on February 19, 2002 that they concluded an agreement with Nissan in fuel cell development. Renault will participate this development, who is in capital alliance with Nissan. UT will supply FC to Nissan, which is developed by UTCFC, subsidiary of UT and further 3 companies of UTCFC, Nissan and Renault will develop parts for FC.
(Nihon Keizai Shimbun February 20, 2002)
 

-This edition is made up as of March, 2002.-