THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, December 2002

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1. Government Policy and Activity
2. Development on Technology and Application of SOFC
3. Development and Utilization of PEFC
4. Research, Development and Commercialization of DMFC
5. Development of Reforming Technology and Market Aspects
6. The front of FCV
7. Hydrogen Related Technology and Construction of Hydrogen Station
8. Development of Micro FC for PDA

1.Government Policy and Activity
(1) Cabinet Secretariat
   The Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yasuo Hukuda announced at ministerial conference on November 8, 2002 that the national government will hold a dedication ceremony on delivery of FCV under attendance of Prime Minister, Koizumi, in a link of governmental policy which adopts low emission vehicle as official car. And he requested each minister to tackle steadily necessary activity for successful introduction of FCV in a full scale.
(The Daily Automotive News November 9, 2002, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun November 12, 2002 )

(2) Agency of Natural Resources and Energy, METI
   Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will install transportable hydrogen supply facility at the ministryfs garden. It will be used to charge hydrogen for FCV to be introduced by the central government and also used as support car to charge hydrogen into FCV in demonstration test to be held under governmental budget. The facility is consisted of hydrogen cylinder, hydrogen gas compressor, accumulator and dispenser to charge hydrogen and can charge hydrogen into 2 FCV at the same time under 350 atm. The transportable facility is usually placed at hydrogen station in metropolitan area.
(The Daily Automotive News November 20, 2002, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun November 29, 2002 )
   NEF( New Energy Foundation ) has started operation test of stationary PEFCs which are installed at traffic congestion area and general residential area in the biggest 3 metropolitan areas, Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, in the chain of demonstration test of PEFC system conducted by ANRI. They collect data such as actual electric consumption and heat demand in domestic use cogeneration system in the operation test and the corresponding operation status.
( Denpa Shimbun November 21, 2002 )
   METI started a study to make environmental code for FC, wind power and solar cell, according to recommendation from action program to make JIS on environment.
( Denki Shimbun November 25, 2002 )
   ANRI announced on November 28, 2002 that they will distribute educational kits to assemble 20 cm FCV at free of charge to middle schools all over the nation. They will prepare 2500 sets and distribute them to middle schools to be applied for. This loads a small FC made by Daido Metal Co., Ltd. and can run by supplying hydrogen from bottle.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Tokyo Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News November 29, 2002 )

 
2.Development on Technology and Application of SOFC
(1) Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
   Chubu and MHI intend to establish joint venture company in 2004, which is power supply business by distributed power plant using FC. They will commercialize SOFC cogeneration system and sell them to commercial building all over the nation. Both companies plan to start evaluation test from 2003 on 50 kW class cogeneration system using integrated planer type (MOLB) SOFC and accelerate the commercialization. And they will prepare series products from 50 to 200 kW based on the above test.
(Nihon Keizai Shimbun November 2, 2002, The Chemical Daily November 6, 2002 )

(2) Hosokawa Micron Corporation Group
   Hosokawa group company, Hosokawa Powder Engineering Research Institute (Hirakata City, Osaka Prefecture) succeeded to develop high performance electrode for SOFC, under cooperation with Joining and Welding Research Institute, Osaka University. Mechano-Chemical-Bonding (MCB) technology owned by Hosokawa has been made use of for the electrode production and the electric resistance decreased to 1/3 and the power density per 1 cm2 increased 3 times, in comparison with a electrode made by mixing method. They confirmed a decisive difference to be able to get better performance especially in low operating temperature of 800 . The MCB is technology to bond between super fine particles of several m diameter by not using adhesive material and unique technology owned by Hosokawa. The electrode this time is made by bonding between oxidized nickel and zirconia powder under some mixing ratio and they could make electrode with excellent performance, having uniform fine structure.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun November 5, 2002, The Chemical Daily November 6, 2002 )

 
3.Development and Utilization of PEFC
(1)Ballard Power Systems Inc.
   Mr. John Harris, vice president of Ballard, has visited Japan and expressed that they would develop market for automobile and stationary fuel cell in Japan and also stated on their market strategy such as supplying their fuel cells for cars of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. He commented further that the fuel cell for car, having ability to start instantly even in the winter morning was very important and they would solve the problem of water freezing on the electrolyte membrane by improving the internal of generating part. At the same time, they will develop higher performance electrolyte membrane than that of Du Pont which has been considered as de facto world standard. The patents related to PEFC which the firm has obtained for the past 15 years reach more than 1200.
(Nihon Keizai Shimbun November 1, 2002, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun November 6, 2002 )

(2)Mitsui & Co.,
   Mitsui & Co., will import and sell PEFC with output of 500w in Japan which has been manufactured by H-Power and sold in USA in October. The size is 49cm width, 36cm height, 57cm depth and about 30 kg in weight. No installation work required and movable. The price is less than 2.5 million yen and they will also supply hydrogen cylinder as fuel. The fuel cell is considered as a back-up power source for telecommunication. They aim to sell them more than 100 units in the first year.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun November 17, 2002 )

(3)Nippon Oil Corporation
   Nippon Oil Corporation will promote to install own developed PEFC units of 8.5kw output as in-house power generator for domestic service stations from 2003. They will install 100 units by 2005 and intend to extend them to about 1000 gas stations by 2010, which are about 10 % of the whole gas stations the company has, so that they will seek after the effect of mass-production and make the unit commercialized in the early stage. The maximum power consumption at service station is about 30 kw but 8.5 kw would be enough for normal commercial operation and the generated heat will be utilized as heating source of hot water for car washing. Total cost in this case is estimated 30 % less than that of buying electricity from power company.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun November 22, 2002 )

 
4.Research, Development and Commercialization of DMFC
(1) Toray Industries, Inc.
   Toray has started to develop polymer electrolyte membrane which has low methanol permeability and good proton conductivity, by controlling the polymer structure in nano-order. They intend to commercialize the MEA for DMFC at the early stage and intend to make alliance with other company, university and research institute.
(The Chemical Daily November 25, 2002 )

(2)Yuasa Co., Ltd.
   Yuasa announced on November 26, 2002 that they will put the movable power unit gYFC-100h on market in the middle of March, 2003, which based on stable and down sizable DMFC being developed in advance. The maximum output is 100W and its dimension is 350mm~380mm~420mm and the weight is 25 kg. 3 % low density methanol solution of 2 liters stored in the unit can produce electricity for 8 hours. They had a prospect to sell 100 units for the first year and 500 units for the 2nd year or later. The initial price will be about one million yen per unit but the price will be reduced to about 200,000 yen due to mass–production from the 2nd year.
(Mainichi Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun November 27, 2002)

 
5. Development of Reforming Technology and Market Aspects
   Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. will begin to put 2 types of natural gas reformer on sale which have 1 kW and 500 W capacity, judging from the completion in the technology development of reformer as practical use. Osaka Gas had given the technologies to Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd., H-Power Corporation and Ebara Ballard and have continued cooperation research with them up to now and almost accomplished to develop the practically usable reformers. On the other hand, as demand to want to use the reformers only has increased mainly from the overseas companies, they decided to sell them all over the world. The reformers can be used for 90,000 hours and CO concentration can be kept less than 10ppm even after 90,000 hours operation. The price is 3 million yen but a purchaser can produce it by himself. In case mass-production of 100,000 units, the production cost could be lowered around 50,000 yen. The sales for domestic market is to be done by Osaka Gas and for overseas by Mitsui & Co.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun November 15, 2002 )

 
6.The Front of FCV
(1)Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
   FCV gFCXh has been taken up in gAutomobile mileage guidebook on 2003 modelsh published by Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency in the United States. The column for FCV has been added newly to conventional gasoline car, diesel car, compressed natural gas car and so on, from this time publication.
(Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News November 1, 2002 )
   Honda Motor Co. announced on November 22, 2002, that Honda FCV(fuel cell vehicle) has been certified by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, for driving on public road. Honda is the second company who got the Minister certification, following to Toyota having gotten on November 18, 2002. Honda will lease one FCX to Cabinet Office on December 2, as well as Toyota. The leasing rate is said \800,000 a month, for 12 month lease agreement. Seat capacity of FCX is four adults, and combined Ballard fuel cell with their own developed gUltra Capacitorh. The maximum speed is 150km/h, the fuel is 350-atm. compressed hydrogen, and driving range is 355km by one charge.
(Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun November 23, 2002, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkann Kogyo Shimbun November 25, 2002 )

(2) Toyota Motor Corp.
   Toyota Motor Corp. will lease total four Toyotafs fuel cell vehicles gFCHVh, each one vehicle to official residence of Prime Minister (Cabinet Secretariat), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Ministry of the Environment from December 2. The model is improved type of FCHV-4, based on SUV gKluger Vh. Fuel, high pressure hydrogen gas is stored in high pressure tank mounted on the car. The maximum speed is 155km/h and the driving range is 300km per charge. The car has been certified by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for driving on public road, and the leasing rate is \1,200,000 a month under 30 months lease agreement.
(Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun November 19, 2002 )
   Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., US corporation of Toyota Motor Corp. in Japan, announced that they are leasing each one FCHV to University of California, Irvine and Davis from December 2. Leasing rate is $10,000 a month under 30 months lease agreement.
(Tekko Shimbun November 20, 2002 )
   Toyota Motor Corp., Hino Motors, Ltd. and Tokyo Metropolitan Government have been studying a plan to make road test of fuel cell bus gFCHV-BUS2has the regular route bus in Tokyo, from 2003. Hydrogen stations are expected to be placed at the Metropolitan area in the near future, together with this movement, road test of the fuel cell bus will be conducted and verification will be performed to solve practical problems for commercial operation.
(The Daily Automotive News November 22, 2002 )

(3) Daimler Chrysler
   Daimler Chrysler announced that they are going to make a series of road tests of fuel cell vehicles in many countries around the world, at the beginning of 2003.
   Daimler Chrysler also announced that they are going to develop fuel cell vehicle to use sodium boron hydride (NaBH4) as the fuel.
(The Daily Automotive News November 29, 2002 )

 
7.Hydrogen Related Technology and Construction of Hydrogen Station
(1) ARIAKE Hydrogen Station
   On November 12, 2002, the construction commencement ceremony for ARIAKE Hydrogen Station had been taken place at the site of the station located in Kotou-ku, Tokyo. This station which will be constructed and operated by Showa Shell Sekiyu K. K. and Iwatani International Corporation, will receive hydrogen from Amagasaki factory of Iwatani Industrial Gases Corporation for about one year after the construction will be completed in May 2003, and will make change to receive liquefied hydrogen from NIPPON STEEL CORPORATION, Kimitsu Works from April 2004. Besides of geographical reason, as NIPPON STEEL announced their demonstration test for liquefied hydrogen production technology, they plan to switch hydrogen supply source to more economical source of Kimitsu.
(The Chemical Daily November 13, 2002 )

(2) National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and NOK
   Mr. Naotsugu Ito, group leader of AIST, catalyst and membrane reaction system and et al, jointly with NOK Corporation, Tsukuba Laboratory, developed a low cost and efficient recovering technology of hydrogen as occluded in organic solvent. This new technology relates to high performance hydrogen occlusion in liquid such as cyclohexane, dekalin and methanol and the recovery of hydrogen when required, and utilizes porus alumina fine tube of which surface is lined with palladium membrane which has good hydrogen selective permeability. This is an application of separation technology to ooze out hydrogen from hydrogen occluded liquid through palladium membrane, contacted both side of the liquid. Though the palladium is high cost and low strength in membrane form, these difficulties are solved by to form palladium membrane on outer surface of fine alumina tube by CVD(Chemical Vapor Deposition). Diameter of fine tube is 3 mm, wall thickness is 0.2 mm and thickness of palladium membrane is 1 m, and production cost can be reduced to less than 20,000 yen per square meter. To reduce inside pressure of tube while depositing is the point, and separating performance has been remarkably improved as fine palladium particles penetrate into alumina and further the stability and the strength for long hour operation have been improved. At laboratory test with cyclohexane, more than 90 % hydrogen were recovered by flowing hydrogen occluded liquid out side of the tube under inside pressure of 0.1 atm. That means 65 gram hydrogen can be recovered from 1 kilo-gram cyclohexane, and hydrogen transporting and recovering cost per 1 cubic meter hydrogen gas are estimated as 6 ` 8 yen.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun November 18, 2002 )

(3) Toyo Radiator Co., Ltd.
   Toyo Radiator decided to set out the business of stationary FC with core products of 1 or 5 kW class reformer, by developing autothermal (internal exothermic) reforming system which can be compact, light weight and remarkable cost reduction for stationary FC, establishing basic technology for commercialization by 2003 and conducting field test in 2004. The feature of this technology is to be improved reforming efficiency and compactness, by making reforming reaction possible under oxygen mixed condition, combining reformer and shift converter in one body and adopting internal self heat recovery function. In more concrete method, the fuel and steam are thermally cracked uniformly at 700 in the catalyst bed which composed with mixture of oxidizing catalyst containing platinum@less than 10 % and steam reforming catalyst of alumina system. Further more, simple self heat reforming function has been realized, by combining shift reaction bed and reforming bed, which shift converter is composed with high temperature and low temperature shift catalyst. The commercialization will be proceeded with, aiming at the target price of 50,000 yen.
(Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun November 19, 2002 )

 
8.Development of Micro FC for PDA
   Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company Inc. has a plan to promote the development of FC for PDA, and is proceeding with elemental technology development utilizing experienced methanol reforming technology and membrane separation technology. As one of main business field of Mitsubishi Gas Chemical is methanol and they have plans to develop such as DME business, and also they have efficient catalyst technology at low temperature, these lead to their decision to promote actively the development for both reforming type FC and DMFC.
(The Chemical Daily November 20, 2002 )

 

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