THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, JUNE 2003

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1. Government Policy and Activity
2. Policy and Activity in Public Body/Organization
3. Development and Commercialization of MCFC
4. Research and Development of SOFC
5. Development and Commercialization of PEFC
6. Research and Development on Basic and Requisite Technology for FC
7. The Front of FCV
8. Transportable FC excepting FCV
9. Development of Hydrogen Production and Reforming Technology
10. Arrangement of Hydrogen Supply and Service Station
11. Development of Technology and Market for Micro-FC
12. Evolution of FC Related Measuring Business

1. Government Policy and Activity
(1) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
  Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will launch the fourth stage SOFC development project from fiscal year 2004 as three years program, the aim of which is realization of the system. Considering development status in foreign countries, METI intends to promote early market entry by completing high performance module, and then constructing and operating the demonstration plant using the high performance module.
( The Chemical Daily May 2, 2003 )

(2) Standardization Conference between Japan and EU
  Japanese Government and EU concluded basic agreement which both jointly proceed with unifying standards on next generation automobile technologies such us FC and ITS(Intelligent Transport Systems). gConversation Committee on Policy of Japan-Europe Automobile Industryh will be newly established by deputy minister class meeting between METI and EU committee to be held on May 15 in Tokyo, which will be periodical conference by the director of the bureau class members toward unification on standards, and they will start concrete discussion in autumn, 2003. For FC case, completing common standards for Japan and Europe, the committee will promote to get authorization of ISO technical committee as world-wide standards until around 2005. Concretely, basic technical standards such as purity of hydrogen fuel, mounting location of fuel tank, measuring method for fuel consumption will be unified.
( Yomiuri Shimbun May 11, 2003, The Daily Automotive News May 16, 2003 )

 
2. Policy and Activity in Public Body/Organization
(1) The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan and The Central Electric Power Council
  FEPC Japan and CEPC announced on May 16, 2003, outline of technical development plan in fiscal year 2003. They are going to invest total 16.6 billion yen (300 million yen smaller than last year) for two area; one is energy security and global environmental protection and another one is quality assurance of electric power. To be concrete, nuclear fuel cycle, IGCC (Integrated Coal Gasification Combined Cycle), FC, related technology on electric power grid and so on are picked up as main themes.
( Denki Shimbun May 19, 2003 )

(2) Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI) and Japan Electric Vehicle Association (JEVA)
  JARI and JEVA is going to present test data collected and arranged up to now at SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) meeting which will be held this June in US, for making international standard of purity of hydrogen fuel for FCV. In the hydrogen fuel for FCV, impurity concentration is condensed during long term use and has been indicated to reach high impurity level that affects FC performance. Early correspondence is required, whether to purge hydrogen or to level up hydrogen purity. Both organizations will submit as Japanese proposal, that hydrogen purity should be 99.99% including impurities which CO is less than 0.2ppm and sulfur oxide or sulfur chemical compound are less than ppb level, based on demonstration test data.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 19, 2003 )

(3) NEDO
  NEDO selected trustees of the project gBase Technology Development on Safe Utilization of Hydrogen and Othersh on May 21, 2003. Total 21 companies will join the project, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and Hitachi Corporation.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily May 23 )

 
3. Development and Commercialization of MCFC
  IHI will intensify cogeneration system business combined with gasification of biomass. Systemizing aqua-thermal reaction ( liquefaction ) device, IC reactor which is anaerobic digester reactor on waste water treatment and MCFC, IHI will strengthen the sales activity of water treatment system for food industry and highly contaminated waste water.
  IHI had applied the IC reactor for FCEfs 250 kW MCFC at Toride Factory of Kirin Brewery Co. Ltd., which has been carried out all together including installation and maintenance by Marubeni Corporation under ESCO (Energy Saving and Support Service Company) business.
  This is a high speed waste water treatment system which is composed of methane fermentation bio-reactor developed under technical license with Paques B. V. in the Netherlands. IHI will commercialize new water treatment plants systemizing this reactor and its own developed aqua-thermal reaction technology using sub/super critical water, and plans to introduce them into the food industry. The water treatment plant treats water after converting high contaminated waste water and organic solid into high density liquid.
  On the other hand, Nagoya city is in the test stage by small test plant, which operates MCFC using biogas produced from garbage at waste treatment center, and also plans to start construction of gasification plant in 2003 for power generation, using No.1 commercial MCFC of 250kW delivered to Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. in 2002 fueled biogas generated from wooden waste gasification.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 22, 2003 )

 
4. Research and Development of SOFC
  The Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. and Mitsubishi Material Corporation announced on May 7, 2003, they attained power efficiency of 40% at 1kW power generation test using low temperature operation SOFC module (operation temperature less than 800), that is far beyond general technology level of 30 ∼ 35% in the world at present. The module is consisted of stacked 41 cells where the cell has been enlarged to practical size of 12cm in diameter from the cell which had attained the world highest level power density of 1.8W/cm2 at 800. Kansai Electric says that it is not necessary to use expensive ceramics and advantageous for life elongation because of low temperature operation and also the cost will become cheaper than other distributed power generation. Both companies will start the performance test and develop several ten kW class power generation system by the end of fiscal year 2006, and commercialize it as power station for middle-size stores and small-size factories.
( Mainichi Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Denki Shimbun, The Chemical Daily May 8, 2003 )

 
5. Development and Commercialization of PEFC
(1) Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co, Ltd.
  IHI is going to introduce the basic technology of PEFC stack from Mosaic Energy in US and will begin real development of the compact type FC for gas station and convenience store. They have imported the complete stack before, however, they could accelerate the speed of development by making the complete stack by themselves. At the first, they intend to make PEFC stack for output of 5kW and commercialize them in 2003 through the verification test. In addition, they aim to produce bigger stack of 20 kW in 2004. IHI have invested on Mosaic Energy at 7% of its capital and started to develop PEFC but the timing of sales has been delayed because of difficulty of matching the stack made by Mosaic Energy to IHI reformer. Development must be advanced smoothly as stack can be fabricated by them selves this time.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 3, 2003 )

  IHI developed a prototype of 5kW output PEFC, fueled city gas and the power generation efficiency is 30 % (net, LHV base) and total efficiency is 75 % including hot water supply (60, LHV). Environmental performances are less than 10 ppm in NOx and less than 55 dB at 1m in noise level. And the unit can be started up and operated in fully automatic and connected to the grid and the start-up time is less than 40 min., the report said. As for the operation mode, they have been developing DSS and continuous operation in parallel. Their target fields for sales are for store, condominium, building and gas station. They will manage entire process from developments of various kinds of parts to system establishment and aim to achieve the power generation efficiency of 35 % within fiscal year 2003, which would make commercialization possible. The target of the system cost is a million yen(200,000 yen/kW) in 2010 from 30 million yen at present.
( Denki Shimbun May 12, 2003 )

(2) Toshiba International Fuel Cells Corporation
  Toshiba IFC has attained net power generation efficiency of 35 %(LHV), 31.8 %(HHV) by their 700 W home use PEFC of city gas reforming type. Total efficiency including exhaust heat recovery is 83 % and the system volume becomes more compact than the existing one. The power generation efficiencies at the partial load operations have been recorded 30 % at 43 % (300W) for the rated output and 28 % at 250w.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 14, 2003 )

(3) Energia Solution and Service Co., Ltd.
  Energia Solution & Service, a subsidiary of The Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc. will start to generate power with PEFC using biogas generated from garbage from the end of June in 2003 at Research & Development Center for Energy Utilization Technology opened in Matsue City. Methane is to be extracted from garbage by using METAKLES, fixed bed high temperature (thermophilic) methane fermentation facility, developed by Kajima Corporation and the methane will be fed to 700W PEFC, manufactured by Toshiba IFC and then they will conduct the power generation operation.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 26, 2003 )

(4) The Japan Research Institute, Limited
  The Japan Research Institute is going to establish gDESS (Decentralized Energy System & Software) Consortiumh under the cooperation of FC makers, electric utility companies, gas utility companies and oil companies in order to figure the operating systems out which manage PEFC installed at plural residences. They intend to develop the network system which controls plural FC and collect know-how which will lead to gain patent and develop software. It is said that more than ten companies have already sounded on participation. They will hold the establishment meeting on June 5, 2003.
( Denki Shimbun May 27, 2003 )

(5) Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
  Matsushita announced on may 27, 2003 that they developed home use PEFC cogeneration system (1kW output) with 35 % of power generation efficiency. The dimension of PEFC is 71 cm in width, 37 cm in depth, 94 cm in height and the capacity of hot water storage tank is 200 litter. The voltage decay rate is reported less than 3 mV / 1,000 hrs. The final test for putting them on market in March, 2005 will be carried out at the laboratory in Toyonaka city from June 1, 2003.
( Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Denki Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 28, 2003 )

 
6. Research and Development on Basic and Requisite Technology for FC
(1) KAKEN, Inc.
  KAKEN developed a technology which ultra fine particles of RuO2 can be scattered on the surface of carbon nano-tube (CNT), of the size from atom or molecular to nanometer. They expected them to be applied on electrode catalyst of FC and FED (Field Emission Display). In case oxidant would be added into ruthenium solution, gaseous RuO4 is generated at the normal temperature. When the gaseous RuO4 makes contact with carbon material, it is captured as RuO2 on the carbon material. In case of liquid solution phase synthesis, RuO4 would be dissolved in fluorine organic solvent and carbon material is put into the liquid and then the liquid is stirred up.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 16, 2003 )

(2) Millennium Gate Technology Co., Ltd.
  Millennium Gate Technology Co., Ltd. (Higashi Osaka city), specialized in metal plating technologies, has developed gnano-catalysth which is plated precious metal on the surface of ultra-fine particles. The particle size is 10 ` 12 nm. The surface of cheap materials such as metal or ceramics can be plated by precious metals to be used as catalyst such as platinum and palladium, by applying original electric current control method. Due to applying precious metals only on the surface of the fine particles, merits of cheap price and stable supply could be obtained through mass-production.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 26, 2003 )

 
7. The Front of FCV
(1) Toyota Motor Corporation
  Toyota announced on May 13, 2003 that they will lease gToyota FCHVh one for each to Aichi-prefecture, Nagaya-city, Toho Gas Co., Ltd., Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., Nippon Oil Corporation and Iwatani Internationals Corporation respectively. The lease fee is 1.2 million yen per month and is going to deliver the car on May 29, 2003.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Denki Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Chunichi Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News, The Chemical Daily May 14, 2003 )

  The firm decided to withdraw all of 6 FCHVs which had already delivered to customers in Japan and USA as hydrogen gas leaking had been found from seal of filling cap of compressed hydrogen gas tank in one of 6 FCHVs leased by Toyota. The delivery of 6 new FCHVs is to be postponed, which are scheduled to lease to Aichi-prefecture and the rest on May 29.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Chunichi Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News May 20, 2003)

(2) Daido Metal Co., Ltd.
  Daido Metal announced on May 15, 2003 that they could confirm prospect for mass production of electrode to be used as part of capacitor for FCV. This electrode has been developed under cooperation with Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and adopted to gFCXh which Honda sold as lease at the end of 2002. Daido produces rolled sheet type electrode by making use of their own technologies such as rolling and adhesive which have been accumulated in bearing production. They succeeded to improve greatly storage capacity of electricity by uniform production.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 16, 2003, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 26, 2003 )

(3) Nissei Metals Co., Ltd.
  Nissei (Osaka city) developed 3 wheel FCV (2 in front and 1 in rear) which chassis is made of glass fiber, who is maker of part to install air conditioner. The body is 295 cm in length, 67 cm in width, 58 cm in height and 20 kg in weight. And they realized the maximum speed of 80 km/h by FC lent from other company. It can drive 50 km by 2 hydrogen tank of 55 L.
( The Daily Automotive News May 19, 2003 )

 
8. Transportable FC excepting FCV
  Japan Marine Science and Technology Center(JAMSTEC) plans to load PEFC as prime mover on gUrashimah and verify the performance combining with hydrogen storing alloy, which is a torpedo type no man autonomous underwater vehicle for deep sea probe constructed in 2000. JAMSTEC succeeded automatic operation of Urashima for 132.5 km submerged cruising in 2002 by lithium ion battery. They want to attain the world record of 300 km cruising this time by replacing lithium ion battery to PEFC.
(Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 12, 2003 )

 
9. Development of Hydrogen Production and Reforming Technology
(1) NGK Insulators, Ltd.
  NGK has developed hydrogen permeable membrane which take efficiently hydrogen out of town gas. They fabricated trial unit, 3cm x 30 cmL cylinder, made of 3 layers ceramics having different density and plated thin palladium membrane on it. It can increase hydrogen concentration up to 99.5 % in case pss 50 % hydrogen gas through the membrane, although it depends on the operating pressure. NGK developed ceramics cylinder having uniform fine hole and succeeded plating palladium alloy of 2m on it. This technology can reduce palladium consumption and they expect to result in drastic cost reduction.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 5, 2003 )

(2) Ishikawajima-Shibaura Machinery Co., Ltd. and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
  Ishikawajima-Shibaura and Hideo Kameyama, professor of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology announced that they developed jointly town gas reformer and the production technology at cost of 1/5 in comparison with conventional. The reformer is to reform town gas into hydrogen, which major component is methane, by leading the town gas on metal plate equipped with Ni catalyst at high temperature and it is not so unique. However, they improved the reaction temperature up to higher than 600 and the catalyst into sponge state to enlarge the surface area. As the result, catalyst quantity became 1/10 and large cost reduction became possible. The metal plate is clad material which oxidized aluminum of 40m thickness is rolled on both side of stainless steel plate of 80m and has high heat conductivity. This can shorten start up time. They will fabricate trial unit of 30 cmH x 30 cmW x 70 cmD by autumn in 2003 and start verification test from 2004.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 9, 2003 )

(3) Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd.
  Idemitsu announced that they developed desulfurization catalyst which life is expected one year in case the catalyst is applied to home use PEFC fueled LPG. This catalyst is powder state material of several mm in diameter and removes sulfur component from LPG by adsorption. They confirmed that the catalyst of metal oxide developed by them selves can remove sulfur from LPG on market down to less than 50 ppb of detection limit at room temperature. They verified life time of 400 hours by their acceleration test which flow 10 times of LPG necessary for 1 kW PEFC. This catalyst is cartridge type having feature of easy replacement.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily May 13, 2003 )

 
10. Arrangement of Hydrogen Supply and Service Station
(1) Iwatani International Corporation
  Iwatani intends to arrange transportable hydrogen charger at their 14 domestic factories owned by their subsidiary, Iwatani Industrial Gases Corporation for hydrogen production, in order to support diffusion of FCV. And they also arrange network of infrastructure for hydrogen supply connecting 170 LPG supply station all over the nation, based on the 14 factories. Iwatani has participated JHFC under cooperation with Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. and Nippon Steel Corporation, which target is to supply hydrogen for FCV from liquefied hydrogen produced from by product gas at iron and steel works.
( The Daily Automotive News May 7, 2003 )

  Iwatani announced a policy on May 8, 2003 that they will construct the largest factory for liquefied hydrogen at Sakai city, Osaka prefecture in Japan. They aim to start the business in 2006 and the investment cost of 10 billion yen is planned, including air separation factory to be constructed at adjacent area. The liquefied hydrogen is to be produced from methane gas reforming. Although there are 2 factories of liquefied hydrogen in this country having production capacity of 1000 L/h, the new factory seems to be a larger capacity producing several times liquefied hydrogen.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun May 9, 2003 )

  Iwatani will establish new company in Sakai city in 2005 under co-investment with Sakai LNG, which purpose is to produce liquefied hydrogen and industrial gases. The capital is 500 million yen and Iwatani has 80 % share. They will newly construct liquefied hydrogen plant by investing 10 billion yen which makes use of cold heat of LNG and can reduce production cot of liquefied hydrogen. They plan the production capacity of 20000 m3 /h and sell the gas to extended area as the center is Kansai area.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 27, 2003 )

(2) Toho Gas Co., Ltd
  Toho Gas announced that the company will install natural gas reforming type hydrogen station for FCV at Aichi International Exposition to be held in 2005.
( Chunichi Shimbun May 10, 2003 )

(3) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd and NIPPON SANSO CORPORATION
  Tokyo Gas and NIPPON SANSO announced on May 13, 2003 that they completed hydrogen supply station for FCV (Senju) constructed under the JHFC project at Arakawa-ku, Tokyo. Opening ceremony and FCHV delivery ceremony are scheduled on May 29. Fueling LPG, the station has the capacity to produce 99.99% pure hydrogen of 50 m3/h. Construction cost is about 300 million yen, fully subsidized by the Government through ENGINEERING ADVANCEMENT ASSOCIATION OF JAPAN. Both Tokyo Gas and NIPPON SANSO will be in charge of the operation.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun May 14, 2003, The Chemical Daily May 15, 2003 )

  The hydrogen station has been completed at Senju Business Center of Tokyo Gas , 3-Minami Senju, Arakawa-Ku, Tokyo, and opening ceremony was held on May 29, 2003.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News May 30, 2003 )

(4) SHOWA DENKO K.K.
  SHOWA DENKO will start the business in the hydrogen fuel market for FCV, and for the beginning, will build hydrogen station at their Kawasaki Business Center within fiscal year 2003. As now the byproduct hydrogen from caustic soda production is supplied and hydrogen generated from disposing waste plastic is planned to utilize in the future. It is reported that the hydrogen station can be constructed at about 100 million yen as the existing hydrogen production facility is utilized, compared to 300 million yen of on site reforming type.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 26, 2003 )

 
11. Development of Technology and Market for Micro-FC
(1) National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)
  Research Institute of Green Technology of AIST developed the tubular type ultra micro DMFC utilizing hollow fiber made of commercially available fluorine ion exchange resin for the electrolyte membrane. Arranging anode catalyst on inside and cathode catalyst on outside of the electrolyte membrane, anode catalyst, platinum/ruthenium is fixed on carbon material and cathode catalyst, platinum is stuck by chemical plating. electric generating capacity of 3 mW/cm2 at ambient temperature and pressure by 0.6 mm in diameter and 3 ` 5 cm in length, is confirmed.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 19, 2003 )

(2) Toray Industries, Inc.
  Toray announced that they made trial manufacturing for micro DMFC which can be installed on mobile phone or others, jointly with Professor Yoshio Takasu, Shinshu University. The developed FC is film type electrode composite of about 3 mm thickness, and the quantity of methanol penetration has been reduced to 1/5 of conventional type by reducing hole size of membrane. Improving electrode catalyst, more thick methanol solution can be used, and the life and output are increased by about 3 times, compared to existing. It is reported that, in case of mobile phone, one and half hours communication is possible by 10 cm3 methanol solution. Mass production of parts by 2005 is planed.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 22, 2003, Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily May 23, 2003 )

 
12. Evolution of FC Related Measuring Business
(1) CHINO CORPORATION
  CHINO completed demonstration test facility to develop FC evaluation test equipments and installed and started the operation at their Equipment and Instrument Division in Kuki City, Saitama Prefecture. Investment is about 10 million yen. The objects of FC evaluation unit are to evaluate single cell and stack of PEFC and in order to fulfill the higher accuracy in response, safety and operability of test items such as gas flow rate, gas humidity and stability of operating pressure and the demonstration test will be carried out to realize the target by accumulating test data and establishing development target.
( Denpa Shimbun May 1, 2003, Denki Shimbun, May 2, 2003, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 20, 2003 )

(2) TOYO CORPORATION
  TOYO announced on May 12, 2003 that they tied-up with TOMOE SHOKAI CO., LTD for development of FC evaluation system. Combining measuring and evaluation technology owned by TOYO and know how of gas control by TOMOE, they will develop stack evaluation system which has more stable performance than conventional one. The companies will market 5kW class evaluation systems in autumn of 2003 and several 10 kW class evaluation systems in January 2004. Prices are about from 15 million yen to 50 million yen for stack evaluation system.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 13, 2003, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 16, 2003 )

(3) EIWA Corporation
  EIWA puts the simple type generating unit gStandard Cell Generating Kith on market, to measure current, voltage, temperature etc on cell, supplying hydrogen gas to FC. Price is 1.3 million yen. The developed unit is 50 cm height, 53 cm width and 40 cm depth, and hydrogen gas flow can be regulated in the range of 100 ` 1,000 mL/minute and oxygen gas, in the range of 300 ` 3,000 mL/minute. EIWA will promote marketing to material supplier, university, research institute etc.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 23, 2003, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 26, 2003 )

 

-This edition is made up as of May, 2003.-