THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, JUNE 2002

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1. Governmental Policy and Activity
2. New Application of PAFC
3. Development of SOFC
4. Development of PEFC
5. PEFC Cogeneration System for Domestic Application
6. The Front of FCV
7. Reforming Technology
8. Technology for Hydrogen Production, Storage and Supply Station
9. Company's Activity

1. Governmental Policy and Activity
(1)Ministerial Conference
    Prime minister Koizumi clarified a policy that government will introduce a large number of the first commercial FCV as the position to take the lead, to be put into market in 2003, at ministerial conference on April 26, 2002, succeeded to Cabinet council. Prime minister indicated that commercialization of FCV in Japan earlier than other countries is very important from viewpoint to strengthen industrial competitive power and government will take concrete measure for positive introduction of FCV in 2002 and ordered the reexamination of related regulation by 2005 to related ministers. Minister of METI Hiranuma announced that METI will introduce FCV and also hydrogen supply facility positively according to the policy indicated by prime minister. At the same time, he indicated the policy which METI will carry out reexamination of related regulation by 2005 in premise of security of safety. Hydrogen supply stations are necessary because the first FCV will be hydrogen fueled, put on market in 2003 by Toyota and Honda. And hydrogen is stored on car as high pressure gas and there are many regulations by the High Pressure Gas Safety Law even for current public road test and reexamination of these regulations are must for diffusion of FCV.
    (The Daily Automotive News April 27, 2002, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun April 30, 2002)
   
(2)METI
    Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced that they plan to hold FCV Grand Prix race. Their intension is to be realized the race in 2006 in the earliest case under cooperation with automotive industry and local government and to wake demand of FCV up through motor sports. "FC Project Team" consisted of deputy ministers such as METI, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) and Ministry of the Environment will take the policy into report to be arranged by the end of May 2002 as new policy and propose it to Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy (CEFP) and Council for Science and Technology Policy(CSTP) and reflect it to the budget in FY 2003.
    (Nihon Kogyo Shimbun April 30, 2002)
   
(3)MLIT
    MLIT has decided to carry out PEFC operation using hydrogen store and supply plant made use of organic hydride under cooperation with professor Ichikawa and the research group, Catalytic Chemistry Research Center of Hokkaido University. Electric power and heat generated by PEFC will be applied to illumination and air conditioning of building and the demonstration will be carried out at Sapporo Satoland (Azumaku, Sapporo City) from end of July to middle of August this year. They intend to appeal FC as promising toward future and open the experiment to students of elementary and middle school during their summer holidays and collect basic data such as system efficiency and durability at the same time.
    (Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kensetsu Kogyo Shimbun May 2, 2002)
   
(4)Deregulation and The Support Program
    Japanese government has positioned development of fuel cell as national subject and METI, MLIT and related ministries and agencies will establish a "communication meeting for commercialization of fuel cell"at the end of May 2002 and make report on deregulation and the support program within this year. The government has regulated hydrogen fueled fuel cell as dangerous object and has strictly regulated it when to store or use by the Building Standards Act and the Road Traffic Act. However, they will reexamine these regulations after they clarify the safety regulation for fuel cell.
    They intend to abolish regulations for hydrogen charge station to car, which could not install the station without industrial area and also for hydrogen loaded car which could not pass long tunnel through. And they also reexamine duty for safety inspection by the Road Transportation Vehicles Law which each car has to accept the check and improve it to group inspection for the same type car. In the case private person use FC at his home, they will revise the Electricity Enterprises Act which requests "permanently stationed" by authorized technician at each power station , so that FC can be used with no qualified person.
    As support program besides deregulation, they will install 5 hydrogen station in metropolitan area and support public road test of FCV and then they will make use of hydrogen station as infrastructure and also adopt FCV for governmental official use. Further, they will study grant system for private procurement of FC. Domestic market for fuel cell is 1000 billion yen in 2010 and 8000 billion yen in 2020 according to the government estimation.
    (Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 10, 2002)
   
(5)FC Project Team(FCPT)
    FC Project Team consisted of deputy ministers such as Ministry of the Environment, METI, MLIT held the third meeting on May 13, 2002 and made skeleton(draft) of report taking historical study results into consideration. It includes (1) policy for technical development from now (2) demonstration and model projects (3) necessity of promotion for diffusion (4) improvement of base and back ground such as deregulation.
    (Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Denki Shimbnun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 14, 2002)
 
2. New Application of PAFC
(1)Yamagata Prefecture
    PAFC started operation on May 13, 2002, which make use of methane gas generated at sewage treatment center in Yamagata city. 40,000 m3/D of sewage water have been treated at the center and methane gas generated at the treatment process has been used for fuel of gas engine so far which capacity is 178 kW. However, they installed two 100 kW PAFC units fabricated by Fuji Electric Co., Ltd. in order to use all generated gas although they could use only 68 % of generated methane by gas engine because the water to be treated has been increased. They can cover 40 % of power consumption at the center by in-house power generation using methane gas generated by sewage treatment.
    (Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily May 20, 2002)
   
(2)Kobe City
    Ministry of the Environment will add bus stand to existing facility in summer 2002 which supply methane gas to bus as CNG(Compressed Natural Gas), generated from garbage and they already started the design, although ME has proceeded demonstration test of PAFC by biomass fuel at Port Island in Kobe city. Demonstration operation of PAFC by biomass fuel has been conducted by Fuji Electric and KAJIMA Coporation and the availability of the plant is 40 % and output power is 40 kW and the output power has been used for auxiliary power of the plant. 4 T/D garbage has been collected although initial plan was to collect 6 T/D from 6 hotels in Port Island area. The reason to be reduced is too much time for classification of garbage and difficulty to get the installation area for classification facility. ME requests Kobe city to supply garbage generated at Citizen Hospital and intends to increase output power up to 100 kW.
    (Denki Shimbun May 24, 2002)
 
3. Development of SOFC
    NKK Corporation has a plan to put cogeneration system with atmospheric SOFC on domestic market from 2004. Their plan is to establish experience of 250 kW unit as commercial proto type in the latter half of 2003 at foreign country under cooperation development with Siemens Westinghouse. And then NKK will put it on market in 2004, who has distribution right in Japan and Asia. The first unit will be shipped to facility of BP(British Petroleum), British company in state of Alaska. Efficiency of this 250 kW unit is 45 % at the first stage and NKK intends to improve it up to 50 % in the near future. Siemens Westinghouse is in charge of development, fabrication and sales all over the world and NKK is in charge of sales in Asia including Japan.
    (Denki Shimbun May 10, 2002)
 
4. Development of PEFC
    Ballard Power Systems (BPS) and Ebara concluded agreement for exclusive cooperative development concerning proton exchange membrane (BAM Grafted PEM) for PEFC on May 22, 2002, which is production technology and the facility in pilot scale. Both companies will fund for the development for 3 years. Ebara will install own production facility in pilot scale and verify the production capability. They will develop production technology and the facility toward commercialization at pilot scale under cooperation, based on technology of Ballard through the agreement. Development term is scheduled as 18 months. Ballard will be to verify performance of PEFC fabricated by Ballard, using membrane made by Ebara.
    (Denki Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 23, 2002)
 
5. PEFC Cogeneration System for Domestic Application
(1)The Japan Gas Association
    JGA has decided to accelerate to gather data on safety and reliability of PEFC cogeneration system. They collect data of basic performance and also safety and reliability data applied for actual operating conditions and intend to reflect them to establish test method and safety rule, having PEFC used at home as simply as electrical appliance or gas utensil. And they will make infrastructure or back ground for diffusion of PEFC through submission to international standardization and deregulation for installation standard. PEFC must keep necessary distance to adjacent facility or building because of strict regulation stipulated by the Electricity Enterprises Act or the Fire Services Act as PEFC is in a position of ordinary power generation facility. Strict regulation would be obstacle for diffusion of PEFC cogeneration system if it is not improved.
    (Denki Shimbun May 8, 2002)
   
(2) Hiroshima Gas Co., Ltd.
    Hiroshima Gas Company has introduced natural gas fueled PEFC test facility (output power: 4kw) in its laboratory, made by H Power Corporation. They set the target on the development of the cogeneration system for home use FC with natural gas and will collect the data on efficiency and heat recovery ratio by the end of 2002 and will find the economical usage and proper management of gas flow. They intend to put FC to practical use in 2005. They will also examine its durability, safety and effects on environment.
    ( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 09, 2002)
   
(3) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
    Tokyo Gas confirmed that home use cogeneration system can reduce the emission of carbon dioxide by 20 %. They had installed the test facilities each on a house in Yokohama city and Saitama city from March of 2002 and had investigated their effectiveness. They found that the fine control of the gas flow responding to hot water consumption could reduce the consumption of electricity and lead to reduction of CO2, even if gas consumption increased. The expense of light and fuel could be estimated 10 % reduction, that is 40,000 yen per year.
    ( Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 10, 2002)
   
(4) Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.
    Fuji Electric announced on May 22, 2002 that they achieved the reliability of practical level on home use PEFC. They had put their efforts on the improvement of cell decay rate, in order to increase the cell reliability. They have operated the PEFC(cell or stack) with reformate of natural gas more than 10,000 hours and confirmed that voltage decay rate of cell were 1/3 of that of existing one up to 4,000 hours operation and 2mV per 1,000 hours for range from 4,000 to 10,000 hours. It was the same level of that of PAFC which is now considered for commercial use. This seemed to show that the adequate moisture have been kept in the electrolyte due to the improvement of water management. On the other hand, 1 kW PEFC Stack with pure hydrogen have been operated more than 15,000 hours.
    ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 23, 2002)
 
6. The Front of FCV
(1) Saibu Gas Co., Ltd.
    Saibu Gas has introduced cart in Research Institute of the company, which were furnished the PEFC on.
    The cart have weight of 500 kg and is able to run at speed of 10 km/h in state of 4 persons on the cart. They think that visitors can make a trial ride on the cart from the middle of May.
    ( Nishi Nihon Shimbun May 5, 2002)
   
(2) Daihatsu Motor Corporation
    Daihatsu Motor Corp. announced on May 9, 2002 that they will begin the public road test on the light FCV this year. The fuel of the light FCV is compressed hydrogen and its body is based on the low emission car, Mobe. The FC and its fuel technology have been developed under cooperation with Toyota, Father Company and Daihatsu is to deal with the technical subjects on the control systems of light FCV. The driving test will be done in Shiga and Osaka prefecture, being basement of development. The beginning of test and its duration will be settled down from now on, they said.
    ( Yomiuri Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Sangyo Keizai Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 10, 2002)
   
(3) Japan Automobile Research Institute
    JARI found that voltage drop of the PEFC would not occur due to the catalyst poisoning, even if small amount of odorant was added in the hydrogen for detecting the leakage. The leak detector of hydrogen on the FCV is to require for safety. JARI intends to detect the leak by smell and have studied on PEFC about the effects of odorants which have been applied for town gas or LPG. As the results, JARI found the possibilities of practical use on some odorants which would not make any malfunctions on the catalyst. Some odorants of mercaptan(thiol) and sulfide had been evaluated and diethylsulfide (DES) was found less effective for catalyst and no voltage drop in case 2~20 ppm of odorant was added.
    ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 13, 2002)
   
(4) Mazda Motor Corporation
    Mazda will develop their recycle system of the parts and materials which will be used on future FCV. Mazda has been developing the methanol reforming FCV under cooperation with Ford Motor Company and others. Methanol reforming FCV requires lots of precious metals such as platinum for reformer and FC stack and it makes FCV cost pushed up. Therefore Mazda will try to increase recycle ratio of the parts of FCV and make the cost lower and moreover will show consideration to environmental protection.
    ( The daily Automotive News May 20, 2002)
7. Reforming Technology
(1) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
    Osaka Gas announced that they made inclusive agreement with Sued-Chemie group (Munich), catalyst manufacturer in Germany, about development, manufacturing, supplies and sales on the field of reforming technology of natural gas and petroleum. Osaka Gas has developed the smallest reformer in the world and Sued Chemie is said they have excellent technology on replacing catalyst of precious metal with nickel. The both company will jointly develop the next generation's catalyst which should be small, durable and low cost and will put it in mass production by 2004. Their target cost of new catalyst is 5,000yen/kW that is a half of that of the present one. The present cost of catalyst is 10,000 yen/kW. Osaka Gas has been developing FC system which capacity is 1kW and the cost is about 300,000 yen/kW and plans to put them on market in 2005. They expect the cost of FC could be reduced to the level of 200,000 yen/kW if new catalyst is available. The company also said that they aim to develop new generation's catalyst with double effect using technologies owned by both companies and establish world standard in FC.
    (Yomiuri Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 10, 2002)
   
(2) Tokyo Institute of Technology
    Professor Kiyoshi Otsuka, Tokyo Institute of Technology and his team have developed new catalyst which directly decomposes methane gas into hydrogen and carbon. The decomposed hydrogen and carbon are both in high purity and its decomposing ability is twice as much as existing ones. New catalyst has structure of thin carbon fiber with nickel particle attached on the surface and shaped in mesh. Methane gas is decomposed on the catalyst into hydrogen and carbon under 500 . The ability was the highest at the particle diameter of 20~80nm and it produced hydrogen at the speed of 2 l/min per 1g of catalyst. The professor said the purity of decomposed hydrogen is enough high to directly supply to FC.
    ( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 16, 2002)
 
8. Technology for Hydrogen Production, Storage and Supply Station
(1) Tokyo Institute of Technology
    Professor Kiyoshi Otsuka et al, Tokyo Institute of Technology, developed the technology to yield hydrogen by steaming iron. By adding vanadium, chromium, aluminum and gallium to iron, oxidation and reduction of iron happens under low temperature of 300@ and atmospheric pressure and hydrogen can be yielded. It is estimated by calculation that 4.8 kg hydrogen can be produced by oxidation and reduction of 100 kg iron. The results will be reported at "International Symposium of Hydrogen Energy" to be held in June at Montreal, Canada. Professor told that they will realize the technology within 1 or 2 years by demonstration R&D cooperating with parts suppliers.
    (Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun April 30, 2002)
   
(2) Sumitomo Seiki Chemical Co., Ltd
    Sumitomo Seiki Chemical Co., Ltd developed the hydrogen PSA (Pressure Swing Absorber) which has the same capacity as conventional type with half size, and completed hydrogen production unit with 20 Nm3 per hour capacity, adopting this PSA. Marketing for on site installation to optical fiber manufacturer or others for the first, they are planning to evolve to FCV hydrogen station market in the future as it can produce hydrogen by less cost. Sumitomo is a domestic leading company of PSA gas separation technology and has the world wide top share of oxygen PSA and is doing various gas PSA business. The first unit which concentrates hydrogen of 20 Nm3 per hour, fueling methanol or natural gas is completed and performance@producing 99.999 % order purity were proved at the cost of 70 or 80 yen per 1 Nm3 .
    (The Chemical Daily May 09, 2002)
   
(3) Iwatani International Corporation
    Iwatani International Corporation starts construction of a hydrogen station using by-product hydrogen and liquefied hydrogen.
    Iwatani participates in hydrogen station project which will be constructed by Tsurumi Soda Co., Ltd at their factory in Tsurumi-Ku, Yokohama city, using NEDO fund. It will be completed in June, 2002. Removing oxygen, nitrogen and carbon from by-product hydrogen (97~98 % purity) generated from caustic soda production process, and purifying to 99.999 % and delivering it by tank truck at minus 70 and 200 atm and the hydrogen is stored in hydrogen station at high pressure and then charged to FCV.
    Also Iwatani, jointly with Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K., received order for the construction and operation of liquefied hydrogen station at Ariake, Tokyo. Tokyo Metropolitan Government provide the land and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry funds for construction cost and liquefied hydrogen is transported by tank truck from their Amagasaki factory to the station and stored. In case of liquefied hydrogen storage, generally 1 %/D hydrogen evaporates, but this tank constrain boiled off gas. The construction cost at Tsurumi Soda is 300 million yen and 400 milliom yen at Ariake. Based on these experience, Iwatani plans to take leading company position in hydrogen station business field toward diffusion of FCV.
    (Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, May 09, 2002)
   
(4) Kokan Drum Co., Ltd
    Kokan Drum, affiliated company of NKK, started the development of 700 atm hydrogen storage tank jointly with capital alliance company, Dynetech, Canada. Though the company has an inclusive agreement for hydrogen storage tank with Dynetech, they increase capital share from 3 to 13 % in order to strengthen their relation ship further and tackle with development of high pressure hydrogen tank. For the 350 atm tank, the development is proceeding with carbon fiber wound aluminum liner construction. As the charging valves to tank is varied depending on hydrogen storage tank pressure, the development for valves and regulators which reduce pressure of high pressure hydrogen and charge to FCV become essential. Though the conventional hydrogen storage tank is extrapolated from the tank for natural gas vehicle, the 700 atm tank is different in design. So, realizing 700 atm tank and applying the technology to 350 atm tank, they promote the development with the target of global standard.
    (Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, May 14, 2002)
   
(5) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd
    Osaka Gas announced on May 14, 2002 that they developed carbon nano tube which has high hydrogen adsorption capacity. Newly developed carbon nano tube, by constituting side wall of amorphous structure having irregular atom disposition, become possible to adsorb hydrogen inside. About 3.5 wt% adsorbing capacity is confirmed and the company stated that more than 5.5 % capacity is seemed to be achieved within 2 or 3 years. As production process is a simple, heating fluorine resin to about 800 and using catalyst, the cost reduction is expected.
    (Asahi Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, May 15, 2002)
   
(6) Nippon Mitsubishi Oil Corporation
    Nippon Mitsubishi Oil Corporation organized a hydrogen team in their Central Technical Research Laboratory and started the development for efficient hydrogen storage material, utilizing nano technology. To realize high hydrogen adsorption efficiency, several nm diameter precious metals such as palladium is stack to carbon material of which surface is treated ruggedly. And with nano order diameter precious metal particle, it is expected to storage hydrogen amount 10 wt% of base material. By realizing new material, the company anticipates that 500 km cruising range can be achieved by installing 60 litter volume materials on FCV.
    (Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, May 20, 2002)
9. Company Activity
    TOYO Corporation, concluding exclusive sales agreement with Greenlight Power Technologies (GPT), Canada, decided to establish an organization to be able to supply performance evaluation system for FC, especially newly added stack evaluation system to existing cell evaluation system. TOYO had developed cell evaluation system as minimum unit of FC by own technology and has delivery record of about 200 systems. GPT has supplied evaluation system to Ballard Generation Systems. Having exclusive sales agreement, TOYO established special team consisted of 13 members who will cover evaluation system sales and also technical support, and plans to develop simple FC evaluation system usable at gas station in the future.
    (Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, May 10, 2002)

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