THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, AUGUST 2003

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1. Government Policy and Activity
2. Policy and Activity in Local Public Body
3. Technology Development, Verification Test, Market Development of PEMFC
4. Research and Development of DMFC
5. The Front of FCV and Transportable FC
6. Development of Hydrogen Station and Installation
7. Verification Study on Home Use FC
8. Development of Micro FC for PDA (Personal Digital Assistance)
9. Reforming and Hydrogen Generation Technology
10. Development and Technology for Hydrogen Transportation and Storage

1. Government Policy and Activity
(1) Ministry of the Environment
  MOE decided to introduce Honda FCX for education and promotion on FCV which is 3 years program from 2003 focused on local government. Honda FCX has been delivered on July 9, 2003. This is to collect data on various application of FCV under cooperation with local municipality and to make research on useful and effective usage of FCV from userfs stand point. And also education and promotion for local society are major purpose. MOE intends to select about 400 local municipality in 2003.
( Asahi Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily July 8, 2003, The Daily Automotive News July 10, 2003 )

(2) METI, Agency of Natural Resources and Energy
  JHFC (Japan Hydrogen and FC Demonstration Project) supported by ANRE of METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) has started research to estimate total efficiency (Well to Wheel Efficiency) for various cars including FCV. They will evaluate not only efficiency but also CO2 exhaust. The estimation will be conducted for not only current stage but at various points after 10 years, taking technical advancement of infrastructure and car into account and they will establish standard estimation system.
( The Daily Automotive News July 15, 2003 )
  Interim evaluation and study committee was held on July 15, 2003 on gTechnology Development of Hydrogen Production making use of By Product Gas in Iron and Steel Making Processh which METI subsidizes 2.6 billion yen for 5 years. The evaluation resulted in that the research and development have been proceeded with as scheduled and interim targets have been attained. They indicated the prospect which will be commercialized after 2011. Bench scale plant test will be started in summer this year. JRCM (The Japan Research and Development Center for Metals) is the leader for this project and Nippon Steel Corporation, JFE Steel Corporation, Kyoto University and Teikoku Oil Co., Ltd. are members for this project.
( The Daily Automotive News July 16, 2003 )

(3) NEF (New Energy Foundation)
  NEF announced that demonstration tests will be conducted at 31 places in 2003 over the nation including Sapporo, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima and Hukuoka.
( Tokyo Shimbun July 22, 2003 )

 
2. Policy and Activity in Local Public Body
(1) Tokyo Prefecture
  Tokyo will tackle a project to produce methane by anaerobic digester from excrement of animal in Tama Zoological Park (Hino City) and to make use of the methane for heat source in the park and also fuel for FC. Although effective use of biomass energy from excrement of cattle has been conducted at various places, taken the initiative at Yagi-cho, Kyoto prefecture in 1996, this is the first case to be conducted in zoo.
( Tokyo Shimbun July 21, 2003 )

(2) Tsukuba City
  Tsukuba city applied to the government to get permission for special designated area for revitalization through exceptional deregulation for new energy which constructs more than 400 residences with FC cogeneration systems along with Tsukuba Express rail way to be opened in 2005. They aim at No.1 popularization of FC cogeneration system in Japan and expect economic effect equivalent to 10 billion yen.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun July 22, 2003 )

 
3. Technology Development, Verification Test, Market Development of PEMFC
(1) Kubota
  Kubota gave up entering into FC business and expired agreement with GE Fuel Cells Systems on sales alliance and stopped product development. Kubota had obtained sales right in Japan in 2000 for product made by Plug Power who has been invested by GE and they introduced 2 units of 5 kW as demonstration and started cooperation development in 2001, however, they stopped these activities.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun July 5, 2003 )

(2) Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd.
  Idemitsu announced on July 7, 2003 that they will start demonstration test for PEMFC fueled kerosene on market from the end of July at Anegasaki Service Station of Keiyo Apollo Co., Ltd., subsidiary of Idemitsu. They have resolved difficult subjects on kerosene reforming by using high performance and long life desulfurizer and reforming catalyst. The system using at verification test is announced as follows ; rated output of 5 kW, dimension of 1.8mW x 0.7mD x 1.65mH, heat recovery temperature of 60 , hot water tank capacity of 200 L.
( Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai SHimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun July 8, 2003, Denki Shimbun July 9, 2003 )

(3) Tokyo University
  Takeo Yamaguchi, assistant professor, Engineering Research of Tokyo University succeeded to develop technology to improve effectiveness of platinum catalyst in MEA for PEMFC up to 2 times. Generally speaking, agglomerated carbon loaded platinum (several 10 nm) is surrounded by polymer, however, inside platinum particle (several nm) can not contact with polymer because molecule of polymer is big and it can not enter into inside space (10 nm) of the agglomeration. Carbon loaded platinum on market and liquid monomer were mixed in this research and added starting agent. And he created to make branches from carbon surface by polymerization because he judged that monomer can enter inside of agglomeration because the size of monomer is about 0.5 nm. He measured performance of FC used the MEA made by the above production method and presumed effectiveness of platinum became 2 times.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun July 17, 2003 )

(4) Japan Storage Battery Co., Ltd. and Asahi Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.
  Japan Storage Battery developed 1 kW class PEMFC which is designed to reduce platinum catalyst of electrode to 0.2 ∼ 0.4g/kW, 1/10 of conventional PEMFC and operated to generate power for 600 hours. According to the operation results, degradation of catalyst was little but rather recovered performance in some case. In this case, 2nm atomic state platinum combined with carbon is supported by polymer electrolyte membrane at a little embedded. Degradation rate of cathode had been stayed about 10% at initial operation, furthermore they confirmed that performance had been recovered later and in case of anode side, performance had been recovered 15% on the way of operation.
  Asahi Chemical Industry has developed polymer electrolyte membrane which can stand against 100 . Chemical structure of fluoric membrane has been changed to make coupling force between fluoric resin and sulfonic acid stronger. They plan to verify PEMFC system in 2006.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun July22, 2003 )

(5) Chubu Technology Licensing Office (CTLO)
  CTLO announced that they started research for practical use of fuel cell electrolyte membrane made of phosphate glass, by transferring manufacturing method of the membrane to Techno Rashi Kogyo. The manufacturing method of the membrane had been developed by Associate Professor Toshihiro Kasuga in Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya Institute of Technology. New material has superior proton conductivity comparing to conventional PEMFC membrane, and is easy to form thinner, larger membrane because of superior formability under its hydrogel type material. And the production cost is expected to become very low. According to the experimental results so far, power density 0.4W/cm2 has been obtained at operating temperature -20 ` 130.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun July 25, 2003 )

 
4. Research and Development of DMFC
(1) Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
  Yamaha Motor announced on July 2, 2003 that they have developed light and small DMFC as a power unit for motor bicycle and motor scooter. The company said that DMFC is suitable for motor bicycle comparing to PEMFC for 4 wheel car because of its compactness, though its power efficiency is a little lower than PEMFC. 500W class DMFC has been installed onto 50cc-class motor scooter and has been conducting road test and got the maximum speed of 40km/h and driving range of 200km per charge. Themes for commercialization are weight and cost down. Target weight is to cut a half of the 20kg of the system now. Concerning the cost, the company said it costs \10 million per one scooter according to the current technologies.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Sankei Shjimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Tokyo Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News July 3, 2003 )
  Yamaha Motor and Yuasa Corp. will jointly develop DMFC for 50cc-class motor scooter. Yuasa will supply Yamaha with fuel cell stack, and Yamaha will evaluate the performance by conducting road test. Based on the results, Yuasa will improve the performance of the stack.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun July 17, 2003 )

 
5. The Front of FCV and Transportable FC
(1) Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
  Honda will deliver FCV gFCXhto Ministry of the Environment on July 9 and also to Iwatani International Corporation on July 15, 2003.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun July 1, 2003, Yomiuri Shimbun July 11, 2003 )
  Honda delivered FCX to Iwatani International Corporation on July 15, 2003 and held delivery ceremony at Ariake Hydrogen Station. The lease fee is 800,000 yen/month for 12 month lease agreement. Mr. Okubo, Senior Managing Director of Honda, disclosed the intention to sell 10 FCX in Japan and 20 in USA within 2 or 3 years.
( Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News July 16, 2003 )

(2) Toyota Motor Corporation
  Toyota announced that it will redeliver 4 FCV to government offices on July 4 which had been withdrawn due to hydrogen leakage. Toyota replaced resin components used for filling cap of hydrogen fuel tank. Two FCV for USA and total six for local municipalities such as Aichi prefecture and Nagoya city and private companies such as Tokyo Gas, Toho Gas will be delivered in August.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Chunichi Simbun July 4, 2003, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun July 7, 2003 )
  Improved version of fuel cell bus gFCHV-BUS2h (capacity : 60 passengers) jointly developed by Toyota and Hino Motors, Ltd., will be introduced to the 2005 World Exposition Aichi gExposition of Global Harmonyh in order to provide on-site transportation for visitors. About eight fuel cell buses will be operated between Seto and Nagakute areas at intervals of 6 ` 8 minutes.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Tokyo Shimbun July 9, 2003 )

(3) General Motors Corporation
  GMfs FCV gHydroGen3h has started commercial operation in Tokyo. GM and FedEx (Federal Express) are collaborating on one year test program in which FedEx in USA will drive the vehicle on a regular package delivery route in Tokyo area for 5 days a week. GM will collect data of mileage, running conditions at traffic jam and durability and so on, and will prepare for commercialization. Fuel is liquid hydrogen and driving range is about 400km per one charge of 68 liter.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun July 9, 2003, Sankei Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Simbun July 10, 2003 )

(4) The Kinki Sharyo Co., Ltd.
  The Kinki Sharyo announced on July 15, 2003 that they have started to research and development of fuel cell railway vehicles and made the 1/8 model. The fuel cell is installed in the front vehicle of the train and the solar cell is installed on the roof of the last vehicle and conventional battery is also assembled in the vehicle.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun July 15, 2003, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun July 16, 2003 )

(5) Nagase & Co., ltd.
  Palcan Fuel Cells, Ltd. in Canada tied up with Nagase & Co., ltd. on a joint marketing in Japan about FC systems. Nagase & Co. will put small FC with output of 100W ` 5kW for scooter on the market in Japan. Hydrogen as fuel is stored in hydrogen storing alloy and the vehicle can run about 30 km by a fill of hydrogen. FC system can be fixed quite easily on conventional motor scooter and bicycle. Nagase & Co. expects demands not only for vehicles on public road but also for amusement park, golf cart and vehicle for delivery service in limited area. On the other hand, Palcan Fuel Cells is planning to cooperate with a local maker in Shanghai to manufacture scooter for use on public road.
( Denki Shimbun July 23, 2003 )

 
6. Development of Hydrogen Station and Installation
(1) Engineering Advancement Association of Japan
  Engineering Advancement Association of Japan is going to install 3 new hydrogen stations in metropolitan area in 2003 fiscal year. They shall be established at Sagamihara; movable type, alkaline water electrolysis type (Kurita Water Industries, Ltd., Shinanen Co., Ltd., Itochu Enex Co., Ltd.), Hadano; kerosene reforming type (Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd.), Ome; movable type, city gas reforming type (Babcock Hitachi K.K.).
( Tekko Shimbun July 16, 2003 )

(2) Iwatani International Corp.
  Iwatani International Corp. has developed a small movable hydrogen filling equipment which has 2 times higher in filling ability and 30 % lighter in weight than existing one. They will provide hydrogen filling service all over the country with the movable hydrogen stations. The new equipment furnishes 12 cylinders filled hydrogen gas in 50 liters cylinder at 400 bar and can charge 2 FCV fuel tanks full. Its weight is 2 tons and the unit can be carried up and down by truck with lift. In a meantime, these equipments will be kept at 8 major domestic works of Iwatani Industrial Gases Corp. (Osaka), subsidiary of Iwatani International Corporation.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun July 17, 2003 )

 
7. Verification Study on Home Use FC
(1) NEF
  NEF announced on July 14, 2003 that they will demonstrate the verification tests for home use FC at 31 domestic sites especially focusing on cold district such as Sapporo, Ishikari, Tomakomai and Muroran in Hokkaido and Tomiya-cho in Miyagi prefecture. The makers to supply the FC systems are the former 6 companies plus new companies of MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., IHI (Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.), Kurita Water Industries, Ltd., Hitachi Home and Life Solutions (H & LS) and Marubeni Corporation. The outputs of FCs are 1kW class and 5kW class and they will be installed at private home and small scale store like convenient store. Fuels of FCs are city gas and kerosene for IHIfs, city gas and propane gas for Marubenifs and city gas for Kurita Water Industriesfs, MHI and Hitachi H&LSfs. On the other hand, Nippon Oil Corporation supplies PEMFC fueled naphtha, LPG and kerosene.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun July 15, 2003, Denki Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun July 16, 2003 )

(2) Urban Development Corporation and Others
  8 companies including Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd. will begin 4 projects as verification tests for home use FCs at Metropolitan area and Osaka from the beginning of 2004. Urban Development Corporation plans to start verification tests for FCs at 2 condominiums in Tokyo and Osaka. Institute for Building Environment and Energy Conservation will establish gCommercialization Committee for Home Use FCh which consists of 6 gas companies including Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Toho Gas and Saibu Gas and 2 housing companies including Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd. and also scholars and men of experiences, and will start verification tests at 4 private residences in Tokyo and Osaka from the beginning of 2004.
( Nihon Kogyo Shimbun July 18, 2003 )

 
8. Development of Micro FC for PDA (Personal Digital Assistance)
  NEC has developed a self-contained Micro FC for a note type personal computer using nano-technology, which can operate for 40 hours at outdoor. They made the prototype public on June 30 and will make them available on the market within 2 years. The prototype can work for about 5 hours using 10 % methanol solution of 300ml as fuel. The target of development is 5 days running with 8 hours working a day. Details of prototype FC are; weight is 900g (including with 300g of methanol fuel), size is 28mm x 261mm x 40mm, total weight of personal computer with FC is 2kg, average output is 14W, operating voltage is 12V. The personal computer contained FC is planned to put on the market in 2005. Nanohorn which had projections of 2~3 nm diameter was adopted and was attached platinum on them, and then the output density of 40 mW/cm2 has been achieved.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun June 29, 2003, Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun July 1, 2003 )
  NEC has established the mass-production technology of carbon nano-horn to be used for the electrode of micro FC and has a prospect on the cost less than 10,000yen that is the same level as a lithium cell for laptop computer. The hourly production rate has been pulled up from a few grams to 50 grams, furthermore that the figure shall be up to 100 grams by improving production equipment in 2003. This mass-production technology is such a method to heat up and vaporize graphite with laser beam and agglomerate them in high temperature gas and get it as carbon nano-horn. All of these processes are fully automated including the temperature control. Selling micro FCs on the market is under study.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun July 10, 2003 )

 
9. Reforming and Hydrogen Generation Technology
(1) The Japan Steel Works, Ltd (JSW).
  JSW intends to invest into Varmaraf ehf in Iceland, a venture capital firm for geothermal power generation and to develop jointly the system to storage the hydrogen produced by electricity from geothermal power in hydrogen storing alloy and generate electricity by FC as required. They will promote popularization in independent power sources at where the grid networks are not available including independent power sources for villa region, and proceeding with development of hydrogen station, have a plan to deploy in European market as foot on Iceland. They aim at the commercialization in 2005. Varmaraf ehf has been a venture firm developing the system to convert geothermal heat to electricity by therm o-electric elements.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun July 7, 2003 )

(2) IDEMITSU KOSAN CO., LTD.
  IDEMITSU has been starting construction of on site type hydrogen station by kerosene reforming at Hadano City, Kanagawa Prefecture, to be completed in April 2004. Though the kerosene is the most economical among fossil fuel, it is deemed as the most difficult fuel to reform. Adopting nickel catalyst for desulfurization, with the test operation up to now, 4,000 hours durability has been cleared and the durability of desulfurizer reaches to a little under 5,000 hours.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun July 23, 2003, Sankei Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun July 24, 2003 )

(3) Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE) and Sharp Corporation
  RITE, jointly with Sharp, completed continuous hydrogen production system by using bio technology at RITE facility and starts the demonstration operation from August for the purpose to establish stable bio hydrogen production technology. Bio hydrogen production technology is, utilizing bacteria applied gene manipulation technology, the technology to yield a lot of hydrogen from proton contained in organic compound under the ambient temperature and pressure. Already the effective performance has been confirmed by batch process, they plan to establish continuous production system. Sharp intends to apply the fruits of this joint development to the commercial FC such as for the homes and convenience stores, and plan to demonstrate 1 ~ several kW scale FC within 3 years, jointly with RITE.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun July 25, 2003 )

 
10. Development and Technology for Hydrogen Transportation and Storage
(1) HIROSHIMA UNIVERSITY
  A group of Professor Hironobu Fujii and Assistant Takayuki Ichikawa, Natural Science Center for Basic Research and Development, HIROSHIMA UNIVERSITY, discovered that lithium amide and lithium hydride can adsorb and desorb hydrogen gas by mixing them in hydrogen gas at 10 bar, equivalent to 6 % of material weight of themselves at 150. They will present at International Conference to be held from July 13 at Main, USA.
( Asahi Shimbun July 7, 2003, Chugoku Shimbun July 8, 2003 )

(2) Saibu Gas Co., Ltd., KYUSHU UNIVERSITY and others
  Saibu Gas, jointly with KYUSHU UNIVERSITY and TOYOTA INDUSTRIES CORPORATION, launched the project, gUltra High Pressure Hydrogen Tank made of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Materialh to develop hydrogen tank bared with maximum 70 MPa. The carbon fibers are wound around the tank uniformly by the winding technique so as the internal pressure works hydrogen tank evenly. Establishing technology within 2003, they plan to start feasibility study of commercialization including operability, operating performances and the application system from 2004.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun July 8, 2003 )

(3) JFE CONTAINER CO., LTD.
  JFE CONTAINER, jointly with domestic hydrogen suppliers, will develop the container which suits for in-land mass transportation of high pressure hydrogen within 2003, and sell or lease 1 ` 2 unit to hydrogen station for hydrogen distribution. The container JFE CONTAINER sells exclusively at domestic market, is the product which contain 16 tanks, stacking 4~4 into steel rack, supplied by Dynetec Industries Ltd. in Canada. The biggest advantage of the container is its light weight and the total weight of container can be within 1.5 ton as its materials are aluminum alloy and carbon fiber, though the tank supplied by Dynetech is cylinder, 1 m in length and 15 cm in diameter. As the total weight of vehicle is limited to 25 tons by the Road Traffic Act, lighter container can transport more hydrogen.
( Denki Shimbun July 9, 2003 )

(4) Institute of Material Research of Tohoku University
  A group of Assistant Professor Shinichi Orimo et al, Institute of Material Research of Tohoku University, developed unique hydrogen storing material, named as gcluster typeh. Hydrogen releasing temperature is 200 and they plan to realize for FCV.
( Nippon Keizai Shimbun July 23, 2003 )

 

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