THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, OCTOBER 2002

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1. Activity and Research Contract of METI
2. Ministry of Land,Inrastructure and Transport
3. Activity of Ministry of the Environment
4. Activity in Local Government
5. Development of SOFC
6. Development of PEFC and Market Entry
7. Trend of Developments of Micro FC
8.The Front of FCV
9. Construction of Hydrogen Station
10. Hydrogen Production,Supply,and Storage Technology for FC
11.FC Rlated Instruments
12.FC Market Forecast

1.Activity and Research Contract of METI
(1)Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
    METI intends to place the first priority for counter measure of environmental protection including promotion of fuel cell development and diffusion of ITS ( Intelligent Transport System ), in preliminary request for automobile related budget in FY 2003. Demonstration test of PEFC is 3.8 billion yen to be increased 1.3 billion yen from this year. Requested budget for research on safety concerning deregulation of PEFC is around 1.5 billion yen and development support to manufacture hydrogen station and the components by domestic industries is around 500 million yen.
( The Daily Automotive News   August 19, 2002 )
   METI decided to add new project in research and development for basic technology such asgdevelopment of portable fuel cellhandgsafe technology to use hydrogenhand to require the budget for FY 2003. The durations for the above developments are 3 years for portable fuel cell and 5 years for basic safe technology to use hydrogen.
( The Chemical Daily August 27, 2002,  Nihon Kogyo Shimbun August 28, 2002 )
   METI has made preliminary budget of 1908.4 billion yen for FY 2003 on August 28, 2002 and development of fuel cell and the related is 32.18 billion yen increased 46 % from this year. Industrial technology and the related are 659 billion yen increased 10.3 % from this year and 15.3 billion yen is assigned to low emission vehicle in next generation including FCV.
( Denki Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News   August 29, 2002 )
   JEA ( Japan Electric Association ) has established technical committee ( Chairman: Professor Shoda, Tokyo University of Science) to study safety for domestic fuel cell, entrusted from Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, METI and held the first meeting on August 9, 2002. The subject to study is how to keep safety in small power generation facility in case it is recognized as ordinary electric facility. Home use fuel cell is considered to be operated by person without any specialty and to be installed outside. Therefore, safety must be evaluated, from points of view such as how to be used or degradation with operation hours. Arrangement of subjects will be carried out in 2002, on safety from structural and functional side and also concrete technical requests to satisfy safety. The fuel is mainly based on natural gas, however, LPG and kerosene is also studied to evaluate the difference coming from various fuel.
( Denki Shimbun   August 12, 2002 )

(2)Agency of Natural Resources and Energy
   ANRE intends to support developments of compressor, nozzle etc. which are necessary for hydrogen charge, having purpose to manufacture important facilities and components in hydrogen station as domestic production, depending on foreign product at the current stage. Compressor to charge hydrogen at 350 atm. is order made product by German company and it takes 7 months for delivery from the order. It is estimated that completion of 5 hydrogen station will be in 2003 because of delivery time of important components, to be constructed in metropolitan area in 2002.
( The Daily Automotive News   August 19, 2002 )
   METI and ANRE announced to install movable hydrogen supply station in the Ministry area, Kasumigaseki, Tokyo, in order to buy FCV to be put on market in 2002. Installation of such permanent facility is limited by law in Kasumigaseki area. Therefore, hydrogen station consisted of hydrogen tank on trailer and supply facility will be used. There is no problem from point of view in law,to install temporary facility and the budget will be around 50 million yen. ( Tokyo Shimbun   August 30, 2002 )

(3)National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
   AIST will conduct basic research including hydrogen storage, catalyst and degradation of electrolyte to establish various technologies on fuel cell, for 5 years from 2002 to 2006, entrusted from METI. Their intention is to store basic data for commercialization and to put developed technology on market one by one. The research items planned at the current stage are 1) catalyst and clean up technology to get gasoline for fuel cell in oil refinery plant 2) establishment of data base for high performance PEFC such as material development used for electrode catalyst in place of platinum, evaluation for conductivity of electrolyte 3) improvement of durability in fuel cell materials for MCFC power generation system 4) regulation and standardization of SOFC 5) development of new hydrogen storing alloy. Development of new material for catalyst and the performance test will be conducted in 2002, by the budget of 1.1 billion yen.
( Denki Shimbun   August 20, 2002 )

 
2. Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport
   MLIT made a policy to take the lead for adoption of FCV, to apply it for patrol car on national highway, by assigning the budget from Special Source of Revenue on Road as one of the use.
( Nihon Kogyo Shimbun August 13, 2002 )
MLIT made a policy to establish gFCV Commercialization Project and Promotion Committee to Commercialize FCVh under cooperation of automobile and transportation bureau and rod bureau, in order to strengthen communication and alliance between related bureaus in the ministry and make regulations and standards for commercialization as soon as possible by exchanging study report and test data each other. Automobile and transportation bureau will conduct collision test and water proof test and study safety regulation and the examination on FCV. And road bureau will make regulations and standards from view point of road, including regulation for emergency facility in tunnel. And road bureau will trial adopt FCV to use it for maintenance of road and also reexamine regulation on emergency facility installed at under water tunnel.
( The Daily Automotive News August 14, 2002,Denki Shimbun August 21, 2002 )
   MLIT made preliminary budget in 2003 on August 28, 2002 and 3 billion yen was assigned for diffusion of fuel cell as new item in the budget and they will conduct demonstration test of fuel cell fueled bio gas and application development for domestic fuel cell. Further, they will make safety regulation toward FCV commercialization.
( Nihon Kogyo Shimbun August 29, 2002 )

 
3. Activity in Minstry of the Environment
   ME put 9 new items into preliminary budget in 2003 and promotion and the optimum usage of FCV was included among the new items.
( The Daily Automotive News August 14, 2002 )
   ME will conduct driving test of FCV for 3 years from 2003 under cooperation with local governments all over the nation, to diffuse FCV into local governments. They will raise proposals to use FCV from local governments, such items as performance, number of car, the purpose and frequency to use, driving range and maintenance system and ME will verify how requested conditions from local governments are satisfied, using cars to be leased to local governments from the ministry. The using plan is not limited only for official use in local governments but other uses are included, such as medical, welfare, school, fire service and police in various organizations of local governments and related organizations.
( Nihon Kogyo Shimbun August 15, 2002 )

 
4. Activiry in Local Government
   Aichi prefecture has been studying to adopt FCV to be put on market by Toyota Motor Corporation. Nagoya city is also forward-looking for this plan. The plan is one car ( five seats ) and the lease charge is a little cheaper than 2 million yen per month and the duration is 30 months. It is said that price of FCV is 300 million yen in case someone dare to price for it considering development cost.
( Tokyo Shimbun, Chunichi Shimbun August 23, 2002 )

 
5. Development of SOFC
   JFCC ( Japan Fine Ceramics Center ) developed high performance anode for low operation temperature SOFC, under cooperation with The Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. The feature is that micro structure of Ni-SDC electrode is adjusted, which is made as follows. NiO-SDC fine particle compound is made by spray and thermal cracking process and then it is sintered. JFCC recorded 1.8 W/cm2 under 800 Ž by single SOFC cell of self sustained electrolyte type using this electrode. Spray and thermal cracking process is to get fine particle compound from raw powder of different fine ceramics. The concrete process is to make mist of the solution made of raw material by supersonic oscillator and to dry the mist, to do heat treatment such as thermal cracking and sintering and then to recover fine particle compound.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun August 19, 2002 )

 
6. Developments of PEFC and Market Entry
(1) Ebara Corporation, Ebara Ballard
   Ebara will begin to put mass-production type PEFC units gNexah on sale from spring of 2003, which is stationary type and about 900W of output. The most important parts will be supplied from Ballard and assembled in Fujisawa Works of Ebara. The size of FC itself is 73 cm width, 76cm height, 36cm depth, and 64kg in weight. It can be carried and no installation work is required, so they expect the demands on fields of the back-up power sources for the communication facilities which are operated by the railway companies and electric power companies and aim to sell them a few hundred units in a year. The price of a unit will be estimated less than 3 million yen. They at first intend to put the hydrogen cylinder type FC on sale which does not require a reformer and will learn the know-how about the system operations. After that, they will put on sale the reformer type 1kw FC for home use and aim to get the share of 40 % in the domestic market in 2010.
   Electric and machinery companies consider that the price of 1kw home use PEFC should be lower than 500,000 yen in order to become popularized. The reason of the price is that electricity fee can be seen possible to save about 40,000 yen per year. Suppose a price of hot water supplier was about 300,000 yen and if a user would use a hot water supplier for more than 5 years, a user could gain the profit by using the PEFC. The price of 500,000 yen is considered a standard price. The target life time is said 40,000 hours but the present life time of FC Ebara is going to sell is about 1,500 hours. Ebara, machinery manufacturer, is weak in selling house hold articles and also is inferior to its brand compared with Toshiba Corporation, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. and Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. Ebara will cooperate with Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and Osaka Gas Co., Ltd., partners of demonstration test, in dealing with FC and aim to get higher name value by selling them, too.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun August 14, 2002, Denki Shimbun August 26, 2002 )
   Ebara has consented to the extension of the research and development of the 250kw stationary type PEFC under cooperation with NTT Energy and Environment Systems Laboratories for 1 more year, to July, 2003. The peak cut operation which can only be operated by PEFC will be demonstrated on the various load patterns and they aim to make clear the effects on the life time of FC and also improve the net power generation efficiency from 34 to 40 %. They has attained more than 3,000 hrs as actual operating of FC and the start up time within 30 min. but the problem remains in the reliabilities which are asking for in cogeneration systems including air conditioner.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun August 23, 2002 )

(2) Asahi Glass
   Asahi Glass Co., Ltd. has developed new fluorocarbon polymer ion exchange membrane (IM) which was remarkably strengthened, compared with existing ones. IM combined with carboxylic acid polymer and sulfonic acid polymer, is utilized for the electrolysis bath in order to produce caustic soda. Besides for electrolysis bath, the polymer membrane for FC has also been developed and accelerated and will be expected to be grown as one of main products in the future. They aim to accelerate the extension on membrane business.
( The Chemical Daily August 23, 2002 )

(3) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
   Tokyo Gas will install FC units at their employeesf houses which are located in Yokohama city and Saitama city and operate them for one year to collect the data which shall be used for arrangement of subjects in the practical use of FC, in order to establish the operating and control know-how on FC home use cogeneration systems. Applied PEFC cogeneration systems are 1kw class made by Ebara-Ballard and 1.3kw class made by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. and Tokyo Gas will apply with their goptimum operating and control technologies for energy saving and environmental effectsh now under development. The system would be operated and tested in full automatic. Through this project, they want to establish new technologies which estimate the demand patterns on electricity and hot water, which may differ home by home, and set the optimum operating pattern automatically.
( Nihon Kogyo Shimbun August 27, 2002 )

7. Trend of Development of Micro FC
   NEC Corporation has planned to start to operate the mass-production facility of carbon nanohorn, a kind of carbon nanotube, from 2004, utilizing the mass-production technologies developed by said company, for producing carbon nanotube which use special gas. The production scale is about 1ton/year and it will not only be used in own factory as a material of electrode for micro FC but also be considered to sell other company. Usages other than FC and new products using the new material will be expected to be developed.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun August 19, 2002 )

 
8. The Front of FCV 
   Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has jointed experimental driving tests of FCV in California State using the modified model of SUV hXTERRAh, specially prepared in North America and now is going to develop the limited model for domestic use because of test sales of FCV in the domestic market being anticipated within 2002. It is needed to make a suitable FCV for Japanese market in order to step in the mass-production, they considered that it would be advantages to use the car based on the popular model and accumulate the data even during test sales period. As for the limited model in domestic use, they have considered to develop FCV based on a small type SUV and minivan.
( The Daily Automotive News August 26, 2002 )

 
9. Construction of Hydrogen Station
(1) 3 Petroleum Companies including Nippon Oil Corporation
   3 petroleum companies, Nippon Oil Corporation, Cosmo Oil Co., Ltd. and Showa Shell Sekiyu KK will construct different types of hydrogen stations in Metropolitan area in 2002. Nippon Oil Corporation will construct the hydrogen station with the capable of 30 Nm3/h, supplied by naphtha reformation at the site of about 1,000m2 in Asahi-ku, Yokohama city. Cosmo Oil will construct the hydrogen station, being produced from de-sulfurized gasoline, at their own site of about 1,200m2 in Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama city. Showa Shell Sekiyu KK, under the cooperation with Iwatani International Corporation, will furnish the liquid hydrogen storage and supply facility at the site owned by Tokyo Government in Koto-ku, Tokyo. This project will be carried out as one of private industries and government joint projects to realize the practical use of FCV (sponsored by Agency of Natural Resources and Energy).
( Nihon Kogyo Shimbun August 23, 2002 )

(2) Air Liquide Japan, Ltd.
   Air Liquide Japan has announced on August 26, 2002 that they will construct methanol reforming type hydrogen supply station for FCV in Kawasaki city. They have been selected as a contractor of the project gDemonstration Test of Hydrogen Supply Station for FCVh and it will be completed in August, 2003. The purity of hydrogen is 99.99% and hydrogen production ability is 50Nm3/h. Hydrogen can be compressed up to 45MPa and stored, and can be supplied at high speed to 5 cars continuously. The system requires no de-sulfurization and has characteristics of comparatively less energy consumption for heating and keeping the temperature.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily August 27, 2002 )

(3) Iwatani International Corporation
   Iwatani International Corporation announced on August 28, 2002 that they completed the hydrogen supply station in Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama city, which was entrusted from NEDO. Hydrogen station had been installed at head office of Tsurumi Soda in July and its system performance has been confirmed recently. Bi-product hydrogen gas of 97~98% purity, produced from salt electrolysis in Tsurumi Soda, is utilized and refined to purity of 99.99% removing impurities and then pressurized up to 19.6 MPa and filled up tank lorry to transport from head office to the station. Filling pressure to a car is 25 MPa and filling time is 5 minutes per car. The station can fill hydrogen to 5 cars continuously.
( Nihon Kogyo Shimbun August 29, 2002, The Chemical Daily August 30, 2002 )

 
10. Hydrogen Production, Supply and Storage Technology for FC
(1) KOKAN Drum Co., Ltd.
   KOKAN Drum Co., Ltd, affiliated firm of NKK and a major drum supplier, agreed with their capital alliance company, Dynetek, Canada, for joint development of high pressure charging and loading system for FCV. KOKAN Drum has delivered 150 bottles of 35 MPa compressed hydrogen gas in 2002, and in order to extend the cruising range, decided to develop 70 MPa high pressure hydrogen gas loading and charging system for vehicles. The bottle of KOKAN Drum is aluminum carbon FRP liner bottle, of which actual delivery record is expanding in conventional CNG vehicles application, and by improving its performance for high pressure hydrogen gas, KOKAN Drum plans to develop system for FCV.
( Tekko Shimbun August 12, 2002 )

(2) MITSUBISHI RAYON CO., LTD
   MITSUBISHI RAYON CO., LTD, jointly with capital investing Dynetek,Canada, has started research and development to apply PAN (poly-acrylonitrile) carbon fiber for FCV hydrogen bottle. Aiming standard installation of hydrogen bottle to FCV, which is now applied to proto type car, they will accelerate the development.
( The Chemical Daily August 13, 2002)

(3) Gifu University
   Assistant Professor Uemiya and et al, Gifu University, developed the technology to reduce the thickness of palladium membrane to 1/20 of conventional membrane which is utilized to separate hydrogen from methane reformed gas. Thin palladium membrane is formed by chemical plating on the surface of 5 cm long alumina tube perforated with 0.2 micron meter diameter hole, and the thickness of membrane is 3 micron meter. The process is contrived to cover the tube surface by catalyst material uniformly. Further reducing percent of defectives by mechanical controlled membranous process utilizing the clean room being used for semi conductor factory, to reduce the thickness down to 1 micron meter is expected by removing effectively nitrogen gas generated during plating. By establishing production process for 1 micron meter thick palladium membrane, quantity of palladium for one FCV can be reduced to about 10 gram, and contribution to cost reduction will be enormous.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun August 16, 2002 )

(4) Hydrogen Storage by Carbonized Cotton (Guest Professor of Wyoming University)
   Guest Professor Yoichi Kadogami, Wyoming University, discovered carbonized cotton character to absorb gas such as hydrogen, and has an idea to utilize this character for hydrogen storage. Packing the carbonized cotton in a tube which is made by heating above 200 Ž in plant evacuated oxygen and flowing hydrogen through the tube at ambient temperature, it was confirmed that hydrogen of 9 % cotton weight was adsorbed. After that, heating the tube up to 280Ž, it was confirmed that 80 % of absorbed hydrogen was released. Material cost of cotton is several hundred yen per kg, and far less expensive than metal alloy. Jointly with Hakkosha( Asahikawa city), an environmental venture firm, early realization is planned.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun August 19, 2002 )

(5) Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI)
   JARI, in fiscal 2003, will install a fire test facility for FCV hydrogen bottle at their laboratory in Tsukuba City. With the hydrogen bottle of FCV, safety design to prevent explosion is required, by opening valve gradually and releasing hydrogen when to face fire. The test facility is required to have enough strength to withstand explosion, and to be easily utilized by automobile related firms. The laboratory room is 20 meter cube surrounded by strong wall, and exhaust gas is absorbed by its facility without discharging out side. Investment cost is estimated for about one billion yen.
( The Daily Automotive News August 26, 2002 )

(6) CHIBA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
   Professor Yamaguchi, Professor Onoe and et al, research group of CHIBA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, announced that they succeeded the development of process for producing hydrogen and carbon efficiently from methane utilizing micro wave plasma. This new process utilize a phenomenon that, irradiating micro wave, methane change to non-equilibrium plasma with excited electron (ion and electron are separate state) and temperature of only some limited part rises above 1,000 Ž. In concrete term, using cylindrical reactor tube made of quartz glass, feeding methane gas to reactor tube from upper port and irradiating 400 W micro wave, reaction to generate hydrogen from methane proceeded and carbon deposited on the reactor wall. Its features are that catalyst and heat energy are not required.
( The Chemical Daily August 26, 2002)

 
11.FC Related Instruments
   Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI) developed a technology gPressure Methodhto measure accurately the fuel consumption of hydrogen fueled FCV. The accuracy is }0.8 % and the reliability is the highest among current measuring methods. This Pressure Method is a methodology to provide by-pass at upper stream of stack and connect to hydrogen measuring tank, and to calculate consumed hydrogen molecular number by equation of gas state, using data that are pressure, temperature and tank volume measured at before and after 10E15 mode driving test on test facility.
( The Daily Automotive News August 20, 2002)

 
12. FC Market Forecast
(1) YANO RESEARCH INSTITUTE LTD.
   YANO RESEARCH INSTITUTE LTD made a forecast report on the PEFC market scale that is 401.1 billion yen (delivery base) in 2010. The details are that domestic co-generation is 265 billion yen, FCV (including bus) is 72.5 billion yen, power source for mobile PDA such as mobile phone is 44 billion yen.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun August 23, The Daily Automotive News August 24, 2002, Mainichi Shimbun August 25, 2002 )

(2) Fuji-keizai Co., Ltd.
   On August 26, 2002, Fuji-keizai made a research report titled gResearch for FC Related TechnologyEMarket State 2002 Editionh in which prospect of diffusion of fuel cell system for FCV will be after 2010. For vehicle and domestic use, they expect that PEFC will be the majority, and the spread of 2,500 units by 2005, 30,000 units by 2010 and 300,000 units by 2015.
( The Daily Automotive News August 27, 2002 )

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