THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, January 2003

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1. Government Policy and Activity
2. Policy and Activity of Local Government
3. Activity in Public Organization and Association
4. Development for Technology and Market in  MCFC
5. Development of SOFC
6. Technical Development and Verification on PEFC
7. The Front of FCV
8. Reforming and Hydrogen Production Technology
9. Hydrogen Supply and Transport Technology and Facility

1.Government Policy and Activity
(1) Cabinet
   Toyota Motor Corporation and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. have delivered FCVs to the Government on December 2, 2002 and Mr. Okuda, Chairman of Toyota and Mr. Yoshino, President of Honda handed over golden keys to Koizumi, Prime Minister at the delivery ceremony. It was a comfortable and silent, said Prime Minister just after trial ride on the FCV. Both cars are by leasing and 4 ministries such as Cabinet Secretariat, METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport) and the Ministry of the Environment will introduce 5 FCVs in total. Monthly leasing rates have been published that for gFCHVhof Toyota is 1.2 million yen and for gFCXh of Honda is 0.8 million yen.
 ( Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun December 2, 2002 )

(2) Agency of Natural Resources and Energy, METI
   Demonstration Project for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell (JHFC) will start operation at full scale on March 12, 2003, which is one of uSubsidy Program for Demonstration of PEFC Systemvto be carried out for 3 years from 2002 by METI. Show room garage as the center of JHFC will be completed by the first half of March and the ceremony is to be held on March 12 in which 5 FCVs by 5 companies are to be demonstrated. They will collect data on car performance, mileage or fuel consumption and regulation and standardization, making use of 5 hydrogen stations installed at metropolitan area. And they put a weight on public relations. The above 5 companies are Toyota (FCHV), Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (X-Trail FCV), Honda (FCX), GM Asia Pacific, Japan (Hydrogen 3), Japan Holding of Daimler-Chrysler (FC Sprinter).
 ( Yomiuri Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News December 19, 2002 )
   Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, METI has published technology verification items, from view point of deregulation, required for regulation on hydrogen stand and hydrogen tank for FC on December 25. They will study if deregulation for 70 MPa and 500 litter capacity of car mounted hydrogen tank are possible and carry out verification test, taking temperature and impurities into account. And they will also study safety distance of 11-17 m currently required for hydrogen stand from school or private residence, through diffusion test of leakage gas and ignition test of spouting gas. And they will also study maintenance duty only for operation, currently required full time maintenance in hydrogen stand. METI intends to improve various safety regulations in High Pressure Gas Safety Act by the end of 2004.
 ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News December 26, 2002 )

(3) MLIT
   MLIT held a trial riding on gFCHV-BUSh, FC hybrid bus on December 16 now under development by Toyota group. Tokyo Metropolitan Government is to conduct a trial service on public road from 2003.
 ( Yomiuri Shimbun December 17, 2002 )

 
2.Policy and Activity of Local Government
   Tokyo Metropolitan Government will introduce 2 FC bus as the maximum into their operation from summer 2003. The route will be down town area of central Tokyo including sea side area and the hydrogen station is now under construction at Ariake, Koto-ku(ward), Tokyo.
 ( Yomiuri Shimbun December 20, 2002, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun December 21, 2002 )

 
3.Activity in Public Institution and Association
(1) NEF (New Energy Foundation)
   NEF will conduct demonstration tests up to 30 in 2003, aiming at diffusion of PEFC into private home and raise participants in April 2003. They had conducted demonstration test of 12 units consisted of 11 x 1 kW and 1 x 5 kW, made by Toshiba Corporation, Ebara-Ballard, Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd., Toyota, Nippon Oil Corporation and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., installed at 6 different places for commercial or home use. Applications for 30 in 2003 are such as for cold area, general residence, traffic congestion area, sea side area, mountain area and much moisture area and will start the demonstration test for 1 year from the latter half of 2003.
 ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 5, 2002 )

(2) NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization)
   NEDO announced on December 24, 2002 that they will start the final demonstration test of MCFC toward market entry. As they concluded the PAC (Process and Control) test for small power generation plant they will conduct demonstration test of 300 kW at rated under 4 atm. in Kawagoe MCFC Test Center. They intend to commercialize it by 2005 after confirmation of output power in January 2003 and verification of performance and durability for 10,000 h by the first half of 2004.
 ( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun December 25, 2002, Denki Shimbun December 27, 2002 )

 
4.Development for Technology and Market in MCFC
(1)Marubeni Corporation
   Marubeni placed a sales target receiving orders of MCFC, 40 MW/Y from 2004 by strengthening sales organization and engineering and maintenance capability, which imported from FuelCell Energy Inc. in US. They intend to arrange packaging line within 10 years and plan to sell them by Marubeni brand.
   They obtained exclusive sales right of the fuel cell in Japan and South East Asia in March 2000 and received the first order of 250 kW unit from Toride Factory, Kirin Brewery Co. Ltd. in 2001 and the second from Sewerage Bureau, Hukuoka City in 2002, to be installed at the Seibu Water Treatment Center. Besides these 2, there are 5 tentatively decided orders and another several 10 inquiries. Although they import the unit now as package from US they plan to sell them by Marubeni brand within 10 years by assembling the unit integrated imported cell stack in Japan.
 ( The Chemical Daily December 11, 2002 )
   Nippon Metal Industry Co., Ltd. announced that they introduce MCFC from Marubeni in the first halh of 2003 in their Sagamihara Works, which is 250 kW power generation unit made by FuelCell Energy Inc. in US. Power generation efficiency of the MCFC is 47 % and also can recover heat by heat recovery boiler because the exhaust gas temperature is 420 . Nippon Metal has been originally in good relationship with FuelCell Energy Inc. because they have exported metal for MCFC to FCE and exchanged information.
 ( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 19, 2002 )

(2)First ESCO
   First ESCO will start new business from January 2003 which makes rental of MCFC power generation units for factories or offices and executes operation and maintenance job for their customers, which the company has been established in 1997 under cooperative investment by 20 companies including Iwatani International Corporation, IHI (Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.), Ebara Corporation and Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. The business is gGreen On-Site Businessh and they will receive total power generation business which install MCFC cogeneration system at factory or others and procure fuel and maintain the facility, if requested.
 ( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun December 28, 2002 )

 
5. Development of SOFC
   Toho Gas Co., Ltd. developed a single cell of SOFC under cooperation with ceramic maker and others. Diameter is 12 cm and the thickness is 0.1 mm which is ceramic plate similar to CD (Compact Disc) added electrode and could get 10-20 W output at the test. The fuel is town gas and the application is power source for apartment house or commercial use.
 ( Chunichi Shimbun December 15, 2002 )

 
6.Technical Development and Verification on PEFC
(1) Kawasaki Steel Corporation
   Kawasaki Steel announced on December 9 that they had developed carbon material for PEFC separator which had a half of electric resistance compared with existing graphite material and also had high performance in strength and heat proof. They applied production technology of carbon material (spherulite) being made from coal tar pitch which is made from the distillation of coal tar, byproducts of coke oven gas. The material which Kawasaki steel had developed has such a characteristics as keeping both high carbon powder content and high moldability.
 ( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 10, 2002 )

(2) Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
   Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will deliver the first demonstration unit of 1 kw PEFC for home use to The Japan Gas Association by the end of 2002 and participates in the field test for the standardization which JGA has been carrying out from 2001. The system was simplified by pipe seat structure which combined pipes in a body and the net power efficiency at grid was 28% or less and could be operated in DSS mode and on partial load. They intend to participate the demonstration test of NEF in 2003 and will make more shipments of the sample units. They will increase the net efficiency of the unit by 35% maximum at grid and aim to put them on market in 2006.
 ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 12, 2002 )

(3) TIFC
   Toshiba IFC will start mass-production of 5kw PEFC at Toshiba Home Techno in Kamo-city, Niigata-prefecture, which are utilized for commercial use in Japan and for residential use in Europe and USA. The unit which installs CPOX partial oxidation reformer, developed by Hydrogen Sources, the joint venture of UTCFC and Shell Hydrogen, uses city gas and LPG as fuels and the start-up time is 9 min. The dimension is 1.1m, 0.75m, 1.7m in height and the weight is 550kg and efficiency of generating power is higher than 32%. They will set the price at 3 million yen and aim to put them in practical use.
 ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 12, 2002 )

(4) Tokai Carbon Company
   Tokai Carbon will sell positively their graphite material for PEFC which has been impregnated with special resin. The resin impregnated graphite gG347Bh, which the firm supply, is the product applying hardening treatment on isotropic graphite after impregnated their own developed thermo set resin. This product has not only the same electric resistance as the existing graphite but also has the same specific resistance in the direction of the thickness and the length.
 ( The Chemical Daily December 18, 2002 )

(5) Nippon Oil Corporation
   Nippon Oil Corporation has started the demonstration operation on a PEFC cogeneration unit at a gas station in Shimizu-city. The demonstration will carry out for 1 year. The fuel is naphtha. The firm will improve the unit based on the operation data such as power generating efficiency and durability taken through the demonstration and aim to put them on the market after 2004.
 ( Shizuoka Shimbun December 20, 2002 )

(6) Ebara Corporation
   Ebara, being incorporated with Ebara Ballard, will put the pre-commercial units of PEFC on sale from January 2003, which are hydrogen direct fueled PEFC, to be packaged power generating module gNexah for home use and portable type with 1 and 2 kW output. The price is 2.5 million yen. The cell stack of Nexa are manufactured by Ballard and are supplied as OEM. The received firms put them together as complete units. The life of the stack is 1,500 hours. Ebara, as one of packagers, will establish the system and really put the home use unit of 1 kW on sale at full scale from January, 2003.
 ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 24, 2002 )

 
7.The Front of FCV
(1) Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd.
   Toyota and Honda announced on December 3, 2002, they delivered three FCVs in total, American specifications of gFCHV (Toyota)h and gFCX (Honda)h to the City of Los Angeles and the University of California. It is said, monthly leasing price is US$10,000 for Toyota FCHV and US$500 for Honda FCX. Both companies are going to deliver remaining each four FCVs to the City of Los Angeles in 2003, according to the lease agreement.
 ( Yomiuri Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Denki Shimbun December 4, 2002 )

(2) Ballard Power Systems Inc. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd.
   Canada-Ballard Power Systems announced on December 2 that they has signed an agreement with Honda to supply 32 PEFCs through three years from now. Ballard gives also support services for Hondafs fuel cell vehicles in the US and Japan.
Previously, Ballard had a supply agreement with Honda R&D Co. Therefore, this supply agreement is considered as reconfirmation of Hondafs confidence for Ballardfs fuel cell technology.
 ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun December 4, 2002 )

(3) NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD.
   NISSAN exhibited gX-TRAIL FCVh to press on December 10 at general research institute in Yokosuka city. X-TRAIL FCV has been developed, based on RV on market and approved by Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The FCV is installed PEFC stack developed with UTCFC in US under cooperation and has hybrid system with lithium-ion battery. The maximum power is 58kW, the maximum speed is 125km/h and driving range is 200km per one hydrogen charge. The public road testing will be started immediately and it is going to lease in 2003.
 ( Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun December 11, 2002)

(4) General Motors Corporation
   GM in US announced on December 17, 2002, a joint program with Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) to start test operation of FCV in Japan from June 2003. FedEx will operate a FCV gHydroGen3h on its normal delivery route around Marunouchi, Tokyo and collect data under actual operating conditions. The FCV developed, based on Zafira, has comparable performance to commercial gasoline car, with the maximum speed 160km/h, 400km driving range. GM joined Japanfs demonstration project under Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and has an intention of FCV sales in Japan.
 ( Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun December 17, 2002, Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun December 18, 2002 )

(5) Daimler Chrysler
   Daimler Chrysler (DC) will start public road test of 8 FCVs in Japan, from the beginning of 2003. DC will commercialize FCV in 2010, to be taken reliability and endurance into account.
   The FCV has been developed, based on small car gA classh and named gF-Cellh. The maximum speed is 140km/h, driving range is 150km by compressed (350 bar) hydrogen of 1.8 kg.
 ( Nihon Keizai Shimbun December 18, 2002 )
   Vice president Ferdinand Panik announced that DC is going to lease 8 FCVs gF-Cellh from March 2003 in Japan, about the same time as in Europe and US.The monthly leasing price is \1,200,000.
 ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 19, 2002 )

(6) DAIHATSU MOTOR Corporation
   Shingu, Chairman of DAIHATSU MOTOR said December 20 on the interview at the Headquarter in Ikeda city, Osaka prefecture, that the FCV license number can be approved during this term, and then the public road test will be started.
 ( The Daily Automotive News December 21, 2002 )

(7) TOYO RADIATOR CO. LTD.
   TOYO RADIATOR developed a radiator named gLIRADh made of aluminum, which can make cell stack cooling of FCV directly, and started supply of the radiator to Honda. The radiator has been developed by processing special coating on conventional high performance aluminum radiator for gasoline car, and attained decreasing dissolution of ions into cooling water, and by attaining compactness, weight reduction and cost reduction of the radiator.
 ( The Daily Automotive News December 28, 2002 )

 
8.Development of Micro FC for PDA
(1) UCHIYA THERMOSTAT CO., LTD
   UCHIYA THERMOSTAT, adopting ghigh purity hydrogen production and storage systemh developed by Professor Kiyoshi Otsuka, Tokyo Institute of Technology, developed hydrogen mass production plant of which hydrogen purity is 99.99% with definitely no CO contaminant, and started sample delivery. Utilizing high active iron oxide catalyst with the 3rd composition additive, the plant decomposes water at 200 and generates hydrogen continuously. On the other hand, making reaction of light hydro carbon such as methane instead of water with this catalyst, hydrogen and carbon can be completely decomposed, and it is confirmed that the carbon can be recovered as a fullerene or carbon nano-tube along with high purity hydrogen.
 ( The Chemical Daily December 2, 2002 )

(2) Fullerene Co.
  Fullerene, VB developing FC, plans to develop water electrolysis type hydrogen generating plant which can utilize low voltage of 4.5 V, and to commercialize in 2003. In order to increase decomposition efficiency, copper electrolyte plate is formed in cubic tube and arranged in multi layer structure with 3mm distance. By electrolysis of water at voltage of 4.5 V, 250 litter per hour pure hydrogen had been generated from about 10 mL tank. The size is 30 cm cubic, the weight is 30 kg and the price is expected to be 300 ~ 500 thousand yen.
 ( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun December 10, 2002 )

(3) National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)
   The Institute for Energy Utilization of AIST developed high selective separating membrane for hydrogen and carbon monoxide. It is confirmed that, when converting polyimide film to carbon membrane by heat treatment, hole diameter is reduced at higher temperature, and 0.3 nm holes which are smaller than carbon dioxide molecule and larger than hydrogen molecule are formed by treating at 1,000 for 20 minutes. By measuring the permeability of this membrane for hydrogen and carbon monoxide, the extremely high ratio of permeability coefficient of 1,770 was confirmed, and also the ratio exceeded the target of 1,000 by mixed gas test.
 ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 16, 2002 )
   AIST proved that many kinds of amorphous alloys are compatible with hydrogen permeability and strength for hydrogen separating membrane. Not only zinc-nickel, by palladium coating and activation treatment, lower price alloys such as titanium and hafnium became to be promising material. By producing ribbon type alloy membrane by single roll liquid quench process, coating palladium by sputtering and activating by exposing to hydrogen at 380 for 5 hours, they confirmed that many kind alloys can realize above performance.
 ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 23, 2002 )

(4) NKK CORPORATION
   NKK developed a new technology for producing hydrogen from waste plastics. By releasing instantaneously the boiler steam, which is generally not utilized for power generation and wasted, to equipment which consists of chamber, membrane and valve, more than 1,000 shock high temperature is generated. It is the one of application of so called gconvergent shock wave theoryh, and to generate combustible gas which contains rich hydrogen, by charging waste into the atmosphere, including hydrogen and carbon such as waste plastics and to promote steam reforming. As only steam pressure is used for generating high temperature and mechanical drive is not required, simple installation is its feature. Regarding cost, less than 15 yen per 1 Nm3, half of conventional process such as water electrolysis and partial oxidation reforming, is the target.
 ( The Chemical Daily December 27, 2002 )

 
9.Hygrogen Supply and Transport Technology and Facility
(1) NITTO KOHKI CO., LTD
   NITTO KOHKI developed and commercialized the highly gastight and reliable hydrogen charging connector for FCV, which even high pressure gas of 35 MPa does not leak. This equipment consists of plug to be fitted on car and charging nozzle to be fitted at tip of charging hose of hydrogen supply station, as well as innovative valve and safety lock mechanism and gas purge function for keeping the safety while charging and after charging. The connectors were already applied to 3 hydrogen supply station at Osaka, Takamatsu and Yokohama and the performance have been proved. To meet with infrastructure development, connector of 70 MPa class will be commercialized.
 ( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun December 3, 2002 )

(2) Biogas cogeneration
   A technology development project, installing on site biogas cogeneration system which ferments cattle excreta and generates electricity by FC at dairy farmers, started in Kuzumaki-Cho, Iwate Prefecture. Shimizu Corporation coordinates total project, Iwatani International Corporation is in charge of biogas purification system for FC fuel and Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd installs and demonstrates 1 kW class PEFC. Also Tohoku University is in charge of the high purity hydrogen production system, and demonstration operation will be carried out at Kogen Ranch in Kuzumaki-Cho. The gas purification to reduce hydrogen sulfide concentration of biogas to less than 1 ppm, is pointed out as a key. This is the entrusted project from Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution, and 280 million yen will be invested by 2005.
 ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 4, 2002 )

(3) KAJI TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION
   KAJI TECH. developed a compressor to charge hydrogen for FCV at hydrogen supply station. The compressor consists of 4 cylinders, and compress 0.6 ~ 0.8 MPa hydrogen gas refined by gas company or electric company up to 40 MPa and can charge in tank of FCV at 35 MPa. The capacity is 200 cubic meter per hour, and it will be the biggest compressor in case to be commercialized. Applying special resin synthesized with carbon and fluorine resin to prevent seizing of cylinder, and such trouble as gas contamination with oil can be prevented. Commercializing by March 2003, sale is scheduled to start from April. Price is 45 million yen, and 300 million yen is sales target in fiscal year 2003.
 ( Nikkei Sangyo, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 12, 2002 )

(4) JAPAN ENERGY CORPORATION
   JAPAN ENERGY announced on December 18 that they started cooperative research with Prof. Masaru Ichikawa, Hokkaido University, to realize organic hydride developed by the professor. They appreciate the advantage of organic hydride in transporting and storing hydrogen, because of existing gas station and tank truck can be utilized and its high hydrogen concentration, and decided to carry out the cooperative research. For the time being, demonstration test will be carried out at their laboratory in Toda City, Saitama Prefecture.
 ( Nikkan Kogyo, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun December 19, 2002 )

(5) Kyoto University, Nagoya University
   The research group of Professor Susumu Kitagawa, graduate school of Kyoto University, Assistant Professor Masaki Takada, graduate school of Nagoya University, and et al announced that they invented design process for porous material which adsorb gas such as oxygen, hydrogen and methane effectively and synthesize them under room temperature and 1 atm. The paper will be published on the journalgScienceh December 20 edition. This porous material is combined metal ion with organic matter, and its construction is such as building only with floor and pillars and no wall. The molecule movement of gas is reduced by approaching and gas is confined in clearance of pillars, and then gas molecule is adsorbed. By changing clearance dimension, different gas molecule is confined. The design process for porous material to confine oxygen is already established, from now, the research will be proceeded to confine hydrogen and methane.
 ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 20, 2002 )

 

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