THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, OCTOBER 2003

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1. Government Policy and Activity
2. Policy and Activity in Local Public Body
3. Business Development in PAFC
4. Development of SOFC
5. Development and Commercialization of PEMFC
6. Development and Demonstration of PEMFC Cogeneration System for Home
7. The Front of FCV
8. Mobile Power Unit other than FCV
9. Construction of Hydrogen Generation and Supply Technology
10. Reforming, Hydrogen Generation and Supply Technology
11. Development of Hydrogen Storage Technology
12. Development of Micro FC for PDA
13. Other FC Related Technology

1. Government Policy and Activity
(1) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
   METI intends to request a preliminary budget in 2004 which aims to promote efficient utilization of LPG and to strengthen stabilization of the demand structure of LPG through practical level development of DME(Di-Methyl Ether) or PEMFC. Especially in the new energy field, 610 million yen has been requested for demonstration test of DME and related technologies to establish basic technology for a wide use as fuel and 240 million yen has been newly requested, aiming at popularization of cogeneration system of fuel cell or gas engine fueled LPG, by mitigating restrictions for subsidy.
( The Chemical Daily September 3, 2003 )
   METI intends to establish a support system to promote commercialization of SOFC in fiscal year 2004 and starts to collect themes widely from private enterprises, which are development subjects in practical level and evaluated the performance in trial unit of SOFC, and subsidizes to the adopted themes. The subsidy is equivalent to a half for the cost to manufacture and install trial unit of SOFC. The total amount of subsidy is estimated at 1.7 billion yen in fiscal year 2004.
( Nihon Kogyo Shimbun September 5, 2003, Denki Shimbun September 9, 2003 )

(2) New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization
   NEDO entrusted a project to develop tank for FCV to store hydrogen gas at 700 atm, to JFE Container Co.,Ltd., IHI(Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.) and Iwatani International Corporation group. Also NEDO entrusted construction of experimental facility concerning explosion test to evaluate the safety including verification test of hydrogen gas tank to Japan Automobile Research Institute.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun September 9, 2003 )

 
2. Policy and Activity in Local Public Body
(1) Hokkaido
   Local public body in Hokkaido plans to make a new town applied new energy such as solar cell, wind power, fuel cell and so on. Muroran city established gTown Level Research Committee to Utilize Hydrogen in Muroran Areah by the joint efforts with industry, university and government, to make hydrogen energy a main pole for infrastructure in the district. Five private enterprises including Muroran Works, Nippon Steel Corporation and Japan Steel Works, Muroran Institute of Technology and Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau take a part in the Institute.
( Nikkei Ryutu Shimbun September 4, 2003 )

(2) Osaka Prefectural Government
   Osaka Prefectural Government, car manufacturers and gas companies decided to install hydrogen stations indispensable to FCV in various area of Osaka prefecture. They will promote unique project from the view point of regeneration of the city and environmental protection from car pollution by the joint efforts of government and private industries. They will establish gFCV Promotion Committee in Osakah September 17 and install hydrogen station and start running test of FCV on the road in the region of Osaka Prefecture. Project members are Osaka Prefectural Government, Osaka City, Kansai Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Kinki District, Iwatani International Corporation, Daihatsu Motor Corporation, Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. and Institute of Urban Traffic Research.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun September 11,2003 )

(3) Tsukuba City
   Tsukuba City has got permission for gSpecial Economic Zone for revitalization for New Energy through exceptional deregulationh from the government, which has been adopted in the second raise. The approved area as the special designated area is whole city and application to the government is not necessary on the document of preservation rule for electrical facility and nomination of the electrical chief technician is also not necessary by special deregulation on the Electricity Enterprises Act, by recognizing it as general electrical facility, not as business facility when installing fuel cell at home. Furthermore, it is removed an obligation to have an inert gas cylinder to purge fuel gas remained in the equipment when the plant stopped the operation. However it is added a new obligation to do technical safety assessment for each fuel cell when installed respectively. The city intends to organize committee for safety assessment consisted of specialists, scholars and men of experience, the citizens, the enterprises, and the body concerned with the prevention of disasters and preservation of public security. And then, the city will make the approval system for the above safety assessment. As for the fuel cell, they intend that 10 MW FC in total including home use and business application will be installed by fiscal year 2010.
( Denki Shimbun September 19, 2003 )

 
3. Business Development in PAFC
   Toho Gas Co., Ltd. and OSB (The Okazaki Shinkin Bank) agreed on September 10, 2003 that OSB will purchase the 100kW PAFC system from Toho Gas. OSB intends to install the system in the head office building and operate it from February 2004. Cost for electric and gas charge in the building is about 65 million yen per year and they estimate to save three or four million yen per year by installing PAFC.
( Chunichi Shimbun September 11, 2003, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun September 12, 2003 )

 
4. Development of SOFC
(1) Tokyo Institute of Technology
   Associate professor, Masatomo Yashima and others, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed a new method to estimate ion distribution of bismuth oxide in space precisely which has been paid attention for electrolyte material for SOFC. They used neutron diffraction instead of X ray diffraction in order to avoid effect by electron. They could estimate distribution of oxide ion in space and the transfer route by observing movement of nuclear ion. And also they developed neutron diffraction equipment under cooperation with Institute of Material Research, Tohoku University, which can measure at high temperature up to 1000 Ž.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun September 5, 2003 )

(2) Hosokawa Micron Corporation
   Hosokawa started development of electrode for SOFC under cooperation with Joining and Welding Research Institute, Osaka University, which can operate at low temperature of 600Ž. They plan to establish FC team in Hosokawa Powder Engineering Research Institute, subsidiary of Hosokawa Micron and Kiyoshi Noshiro, Professor of Osaka University will manage the total development. Hosokawa PERI has developed electrode for SOFC by using particles of nickel oxide and zirconia in February 2003 and has been confirming the performance at 700 Ž. They intend to develop super fine particle of nano level for electrode material and make electrode by using their own connecting technology which adhesive is not used.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun September 12, 2003 )

(3) The Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc.
   Low temperature SOFC module developed by Kansai Electric in spring 2003, consists of 41 cell stack using practical cell size of 12 cm diameter which has been scaled up from cell developed in 2001. It is internal reforming and thermally self sustainable without external heat supply. They have attained 40 % power generation efficiency.
( Seisansei Shimbun September 15, 2003 )

(4) Toho Gas Co., Ltd.
   Toho Gas announced on September 24, 2003 that they developed 1 kW class SOFC system under cooperation with Sumitomo Precision Products Co., Ltd. (Amagasaki city). They have proceeded with the verification test at Research Institute of Toho Gas and aim at commercialization in 2006. Stack structure in the demonstration unit is compact design and the volume is 2 litter per kW and superior to competitorfs product in volumetric efficiency. Toho Gas plans to develop 5 kW SOFC system from now and sell them to convenience store or small scale store as cogeneration system by combining exhaust heat recovery unit.
( Denki Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun September 25, 2003 )

 
5. Development and Commercialization of PEMFC
(1) Marubeni Corporation
   Marubeni will lease 5 kW PEFC test unit fueled propane gas, GenSysTM 5p made by Plug Power Inc. in USA. NEF will collect data under actual operation condition, such as energy efficiency or environmental characteristics by installing it in Oga city, Akita prefecture. Marubeni intends to put it on market in 2005, especially to fast food store / restaurant, gasoline service station, research facility, company house and condominium. They plan to lease 2 more units fueled town gas to NEF. Marubeni concluded agreement in September 2002 with GE Fuel Cell Systems who is in capital alliance with Plug Power and obtained sales right in Japan including after service.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun September 17, 2003 )

(2) Yokohama National University
   Masayoshi Watanabe, Professor of Graduate School of Engineering, Yokohama National University developed electrolyte in ionized liquid state for PEFC, to be operated at high temperature. This ionized liquid is organic salt consisting of a pair of plus ion and minus ion and giving proton conductivity, which is liquid state at room temperature and does not vaporize even at high temperature. Selected organic salt is combination of basic imidazole which is electrified by receiving proton and super strong fluoric acid which becomes minus by releasing proton and imidazole is added over than necessary. Ion conductivity is given by using nitrogen-hydrogen connecting point of neutral imidazole added over than necessary and proton moves continuously by utilizing this connecting point as relay. They confirmed that electric conductivity is 0.1 S/cm at 130 Ž.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun September 19, 2003 )

 
6. Development and Demonstration of PEMFC Cogeneration System for Home
   Toho Gas Co., Ltd., Ebara-Ballard, Ballard Power Systems Inc. and Ebara Corporation, 4 companies agreed on September 4, 2003 that they will start cooperation development of PEMFC cogeneration system for home use, aiming at commercialization in 2005. Toho Gas has proceeded with development of heat recovery and utilization system under cooperation with Rinnai Corporation. Therefore, 4 companies will conduct test operation combining PEMFC for home use made by Ebara-Ballard and heat recovery and utilization system developed by Toho Gas.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Denki Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun September 5, 2003 )

 
7. The Front of FCV
(1) Iwatani International Corporation
   Iwatani demonstrated driving test of FCHV commercialized by Toyota Motor Corporation at Sapporo City. It will be exhibited at the event of gIwatani Lineup Festivalh to be held at Sapporo Factory.
( Hokkaido Shimbun September 13, 2003 )

(2) Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
   Mitsubishi published gMitsubishi FCVh which is provided with FC system fabricated by Daimler Chrysler on the minivan gGRANDISh. The PEMFC stack is manufactured by Ballard. 117 litter capacity fuel tank of compressed hydrogen (35Mpa) is installed and the maximum speed is 140 km/h and cruising range by one charge is 150 km. In order to participate to JFCH project and conduct demonstration on public road, Mitsubishi made application for Ministerfs approval of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The maintenance garage for FCV will be constructed at Mitsubishi Motor Techno-service in Sinagawa ward for maintenance, inspection and repair.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nippon Kogyo Shimbun September 18, 2003 )

 
8. Mobile Power Unit other than FCV
   KURIMOTO, LTD. exclusively licensed by Asia Pacific Fuel Cell Technology (APFCT) who is a FC system manufacturer and has already developed the motor scooter driven by PEMFC, will develop small cars driven by FC such as wheeled chair, one man silver car for elderly person and small carrier car. The hydrogen storing alloy will be utilized for hydrogen supply system. Comparing to conventional battery car, cruising range is expected to be 2 times. The commercialization is targeted in 2005. KURIMOTO also plans to proceed with basic research for FC and expands FC business combining with natural gas supply business.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun September 25, 2003 )

 
9. Construction of Hydrogen Generation and Supply Technology
(1) Japan Air Gases, Ltd.
   On September 8, Japan Air Gases opened gJHFC Kawasaki Hydrogen Stationh for FCV in Kawasaki City and held opening ceremony. It is methanol reforming type and has the hydrogen production capacity of 1.2 million litters per day. This is the 5th station in the metropolitan area.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun September 8, 2003, Nikkan KogyoShimbun, The Daily Automotive News September 9, 2003 )

 
10. Reforming, Hydrogen Generation and Supply Technology
(1) KAJI TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION
   KAJI TECH announced that the compressor for hydrogen station will be put on market from September 2003. The commercial product is oil-less, air cooled, reciprocating, 4 stages compression type , 40 MPa hydrogen charging pressure, 200 m3/h charging capacity, about 4 ton in weight and 3,800~2,300~2,000 mm in size, and the price is about 45 million yen. Now KAJI TECH has been developing 80 MPa compressor.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun August 30, 2003, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun September 1, 2003, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun September 2, 2003 )
   KAJI TECH lines up the high pressure hydrogen gas compressors for hydrogen station by adding 30 ` 50 m3/h small capacity type for research and development. KAJI TECH developed compressor for CNG vehicle in 1991 and have delivered compressors to more than 60 % of 224 CNG stands all over the nation. For the hydrogen gas, KAJI TECH already have commercialized 200 m3/h compressor named as gXQ4A-60GH-OLh
( Nihon Kogyo Shimbun September 25, 2003 )

(2) Tokyo University of Agriculture & Technology
   Professor Hideo Kameyama, Faculty of Engineering, Tokyo University of Agriculture & Technology, succeeded to generate hydrogen at low temperature of 200 Ž from ethanol. The key technology is gAlumilite catalyst discharge electrodeh which is combined catalyst and plasma discharge, and the trial product for this time is co-axial cylindrical structure constituted with metal rod core such as copper covered with dielectric alumina and outer layer of alumilite catalyst so called as inner fin tube. The alumilite catalyst is made of aluminum made porous by anode oxidation and impregnated with copper nickel. Mild electric discharge happens and ethanol becomes radical and finally decomposes to hydrogen and CO2 when charging electric voltage to the center between the core and the outer layer and flowing ethanol and steam into the gap. By making the reaction at 230 Ž, conversion rate reached to about 50 %.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun September 1, 2003 )

(3) Nippon Oil Corporation and IHI (Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.)
   Nippon Oil and IHI, delivering stationary FC for commercial use by kerosene reforming to New Energy Foundation in autumn 2003, will start demonstration as field tests. The 10 kW unit is by Nippon Oil and the 5 kW unit is by IHI, and IHI adopts IDEMITSUfs technology for desulfurizing and reforming system. Nippon Oil has been developing kerosene reforming technology jointly with a heavy industrial machinery company and realized more compact unit, reducing sulfur content to less than 50 ppb. Sulfur content of desulfurizing and reforming unit developed by IDEMITSU is less than 20 ppb and the unit will be supplied to IHI. This is to be conducted demonstration test at IDEMITSU facility at Tomakomai City.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun September 2, 2003 )

(4) JSW
   Hiroshima Plant of The Japan Steel Works, Ltd. is performing 5 years development of the compressor for hydrogen station, starting from 2003. 2 types are under fabrication and the one is combination of reciprocating and diaphragm type and the other is diaphragm type. They ordinarily boost up 10 MPa hydrogen to 30- 50 MPa. As they are now stage of model plant, 1/10 of commercial size, the cylinder volume has to be enlarged for commercial product. In order to do so, keeping tightness is pointed out as one of important themes.
( Tekko Shimbun September 5, 2003 )

(5) Sendai City and Tohoku University
   Sendai City begins the development of hydrogen production system by utilizing solar energy and sewage under cooperation with Professor Kazuyuki Taji, Graduate School of Environment Science, Tohoku University. Hydrogen is produced by utilizing hydrogen sulfide produced from sewage. The system is that the hydrogen sulfide is neutralized by mixing alkaline water and sewage, hydrogen is produced by irradiating sunrays as a catalyst and residual sulfur component is synthesized with heavy metal components discharged from enterprises and is regenerated as resources. Sendai City supplies sewage treatment facility, gMinami Gamou Clean Up Centerh as test place to Tohoku University and is going to do experiment by manufacturing a test facility to establish production system. The development of hydrogen production is one of the projects being proceeded with at gSpecial Designated Area to establish International Intellectual Industry by special deregulationh in Sendai City approved as special designated area for restructuring and Sendai City is studying to subsidize 5 million yen as support budget for research and development contributing for local area.
( Kahoku Shinpo September 8, 2003 )

 
11. Development of Hydrogen Storage Technology
   Nippon Oil Corporation decided to amend their former policy to develop carbon nano tube because they confirmed that hydrogen adsorption performance of carbon nano tube is only from 0.2 to 0.3% against expectation. And they will develop another carbon material or others.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun September 10, 2003 )

 
12. Development of Micro FC for PDA
(1) NEC Corporation
   NEC announced on September 17, 2003 that they have developed DMFC which power generation efficiency is 20% higher than existing one and manufactured a trial product of note type personal computer containing the DMFC. Average output of proto type is 14W, the maximum output is 24W, output power density is 50mW/cm2 and volume of FC is reduced 20%. Total weight of FC is 900g, weight of fuel included in total is 300g, working hour is 5 hours in case of 10% methanol solution is used as fuel, and fuel can be recharged. High power generation efficiency has been realized by using carbon nanohorn.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Denki Shimbun, Denpa Shimbun, The Chemical Daily September 18, 2003 )

(2) Hitachi
   Hitachi, Ltd. Intends to establish project promotion office of FC and micro electro machine system (MEMS) in research and development head office dated Oct. 1, 2003. They intend to develop efficient FC to be used for mobile unit, commercial and home use and develop micro FC applicable for note type personal computer to be commercialized in 2005.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun September 19, 2003 )

(3) Mitsubishi Corporation, Honjo Chemical Co. Ltd., Osaka University
   Mitsubishi Corp., Honjo Chemical (Osaka City), middle chemical maker and Osaka University make cooperative research in nano technology field and they are going to develop the material which life of FC can be extended nearly 6 times by applying fullerene to electrolyte membrane, in relation to micro FC for note type personal computer. Honjo Chemical fabricates fullerene and nano tube by their own technology and now aims at application of them.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun September 22, 2003 )

 
13. Other FC Related Technology
   Yamagata University and Technomorioka Co., Ltd. (Nagai City, Yamagata Prefecture) paid an attention that PEFC could produce electric power efficiently by using organic compound like methanol and developed small continuous measuring device containing FC type detector. The measuring device is a water quality monitor which constant voltage of direct current is applied on MEA (Membrane Electrode Assembly) which electrolyte is positive ion exchange membrane and detects organic compound by measuring micro output current produced by oxidation reaction of organic compound existing in the solution. According to model experiment, response in current value was recognized, equivalent to concentration change in range of 0 to 100 ppm with methanol solution and 0 to 300 ppm with ethanol solution.
( The Chemical Daily September 18, 2003 )

 

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