(1) Agency of Natural Resources and Energy
Agency of Natural Resources and Energy selected 3 groups to entrust subsidy projects for commercialization and widespread of Di-Methyl Ether (DME) by developing the large scale apparatus to be used for DME. The term of the project is three years and the total budget is about 1.9 billion yen. The subsidy rate is two thirds for the necessary cost. Five projects had been offered in June and three of them have been selected by the review committee. Selected three are gDevelopment of PAFC fueled DMEh by Toshiba International Fuel Cells Corporation under cooperation with Nippon Petroleum Gas Company, Limited, gDevelopment of Hydrogen Supply System by Self-Sustained DME Reformingh under cooperative development by Sumitomo Seika Chemicals Co. Ltd. and Electric Power Development Co. Ltd. and gDevelopment of Screw Compressor to Recover Boil Off Gas of DMEh by Maekawa Manufacturing. Co. Ltd.
( The Chemical Daily November 12, 2003 )
(2) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry intends to investigate demand and supply of rare metal catalysts for two years from next year in order to secure them such as platinum and ruthenium which are an essential to manufacture fuel cell. Because these catalysts are precious and restricted as natural resources and it may be that these catalysts might be an obstacle to attain the target on market introduction on fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and domestic fuel cells, though the target figure is set by the government. In case of platinum, the demand in the world in 2002 is estimated at 185 tons. Since 1999, the market continues to be in tight because of big growth in Chinese economy and more stringent rule against exhaust gas from car in Europe. On the other hand, the Republic of South Africa and Russia have been supplying 90 percent of demand in the world. The project intends to investigate the conditions for demand and supply of rare metal in the world, taking the above quantitative restriction and geographical uneven distribution into account.
( Nihon Kogyo Shimbun November 18, 2003 )
2. Demonstration and Commercialization of PEMFC System for Home Use
(1) Fuji Electric Holdings Co., Ltd
Fuji Electric will start verification test of PEMFC for home use within 2004 and will confirm the reliability by 1kW PEMFC for continuous operation over 10,000 hours. Although they confirmed operation for 3000 hours, they intend to increase the durability by improving cell and hydrogen flow line and conduct continuous operation test by manufacturing trial unit at the beginning of next fiscal year. They intend to realize finally the durability ranges from 20,000 to 30,000 hours and put them on the market in 2007 or 2008 at the price of 1 million yen.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun November 5, 2003 )
(2) Nippon Oil Corporation
Nippon Oil Corporation begins demonstration test of 1kW class stationary PEMFC for domestic application using LPG reforming by final users as monitors all over the nation. Although already 10 sets have been installed mainly in the Tokyo-Yokohama area in the first half of this year, 70 sets will be finally installed within this year by expanding the area all over the country in the second half. These will be introduced to mainly offices of special agents of Nippon Oil Corporation, local governments, house-makers and construction companies and private homes. This demonstration test is to be conducted for one year. They intend to commercialize from the end of fiscal year 2005 after all 70 sets will be improved into a new version.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun November 7, 2003 )
(3) NEW JAPAN ECO SYSTEM CO.,LTD.
NEW JAPAN ECO SYSTEM CO.,LTD.(Chiba city) who is offering energy-saving support service, developed fuel cell for home use which has high power generation efficiency and high power output in spite of compact design, under cooperation with QM Soft Co., Ltd. who is a manufacturer of precision apparatus. As for "EX-21" developed jointly, it is 60cm in height and width and 30cm in depth and power generation efficiency is about 45%. Although the maximum output is 2.6kW and the life is ten years and the present price is 5 million yen, it is scheduled to lower the price to 1 million yen or less within two years. Although the fuel is supplied from hydrogen cylinder at the present stage, it is supposed that stable fuel supply can be possible if reformer for natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas will be put in practical use. Within this year, 30 units are to be sold as trial for local public body, propane gas companies, universities, etc .
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun November 12, 2003 )
(4) Ballard Power Systems Inc.
BPS intends to putuFC boxvof 1.2kW class as stationary type and ¢Nexa-RM£ of 10-40kW class on Japanese market at the beginning of 2004, under cooperation with Ebara Ballard Corporation. Although Ebara Ballard has been selling ¢Nexa£ of 1.2kW class, portable type for stationary use, FC box and ¢Nexa-RM£ will be newly introduced into market for backup power. By Ebara Ballard, 2 models will be put in practical application after demonstration in several places, starting from the beginning of 2004 .
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun November 14, 2003 )
(5)Toshiba International Fuel Cells, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.
Each maker of FC for home use started the development of new technologies toward commercialization expected in the spring of 2005. Toshiba IFC developed 700W FC unit and realized 37% in power generation efficiency as the maximum in comparison with 35% by existing unit, by purchasing the natural gas reformer made by Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. for the first time. This 700W type FC will be shipped to Osaka Gas Co., Ltd in December this year. Matsushita Electric Industrial has developed 1kW FC using LPG steam reforming and will deliver two units for verification project to be carried out by New Energy Foundation (NEF). The equipment system division of Matsushita Home Appliances Company (HA) is in charge of fuel cell from this October. The Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. determined a commercialization of FC by 750W model down sized from former 800W and improved the power generation efficiency up to 35%.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun November 28, 2003 )
3. Hydrogen Supply Facility for Fuel Cells
JFE CONTAINER CO., Ltd (JFEC) started the business on hydrogen supply system for stationary type fuel cells. They intend to deliver sample system by making cylinders, valves and pressure regulator into module which can be used immediately by setting them into FC system. As there is a prospect that gas reforming will be used as a main stream in home use FC, they intend to supply them for relay center of electric wave in communication enterprise and emergency power supply. The oxygen cylinder used for emergency medical treatment can be diverted to hydrogen cylinder and the vessel volumes which are available now as hydrogen cylinders are three types such as 1.1, 2 and 2.8 liters at pressure of 200 atm. The operation for about 30 minutes is possible by a 2.8 liters type for 1kW class FC. They will develop 4 liters type if required.
( Denki Shimbun November 25, 2003 )
4. The Front of FCV
(1) Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
Mitsubishi will start public road driving test of FCV from January 2004 after they get approval by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. They have developed the FCV under technology license from Daimler Chrysler and the base is mini-van gGrandish. The stack is made by Ballard Power Systems, Inc. and Daimler Chrysler has developed the total system. High pressure hydrogen cylinder of 350 atm is provided and the maximum speed is 140 km/h and the driving range is 150 km per charge.
( The Daily Automotive News, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun November 6, 2003 )
(2) Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Nissan has a policy to put FCV on domestic market within this year through lease, which FCV can start and run even under freezing point or lower temperature. The FCV is commercialized by installing fuel cell stack jointly developed with UTCFC in USA, having good start up characteristics under low temperature, and compact lithium ion battery developed by Nissan on SUV gX-TRAILlh. This stack is under test now and expected that start up and driving are possible even under – 20 . Toyota Motor Corporation and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. have been selling FCV within limited market through lease, however, both have some issues to overcome on start up and driving under freezing point or lower temperature. Although Honda has developed a stack which can be started up at the same low temperature condition and been conducting the driving test on public road, they have not obtained yet a clear prospect for commercialization. Therefore, Nissan will take the initiative in commercialization of FCV which can start up and run under freezing point or lower temperature.
( The Daily Automotive News Novemver 10, 2003 )
(3) Daihatsu Motor Corporation
Daihatsu intends to put hybrid type FCV next year on domestic market, based on light vehicle. They have developed FCV under cooperation with Toyota and got the license from Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in January this year to conduct driving test on public road, which is the first case as light vehicle and they have been conducting the test by gMOVE FCV-K-2h. Daihatsu will put FCV on limited market as lease, by deciding the specification for commercial product, based on the above test. They intend to set the lease price at lower than 800,000 yen, reflecting examples by Toyota and Honda.
( The Daily Automotive News November 17, 2003 )
5. Technology and Verification Research on Hydrogen Station
(1) Babcock-Hitachi K.K.
Babcock-Hitachi will open a hydrogen station in April 2004 in Ome city, Tokyo, which is transportable hydrogen station for FCV using reformer for town gas. It can move freely by installing boiler, reformer, hydrogen separation unit and compressor on 2 large truck and it can supply hydrogen wherever town gas and industrial water etc. can be obtained. Also it can be operated even outside the town gas supply area in case the arrange is consisted of 3 trucks including utility supply car which loads natural gas, water and power generation unit. This project will be carried out in a link of gVerification Research on Hydrogen Supply Facility for FCVh sponsored by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
( Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily November 17, 2003 )
(2) Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Mitsubishi has developed transportable hydrogen production facility to supply hydrogen to hydrogen stations for FCV by circulating around metropolitan area. Each station can reduce the construction cost sharply because it is enough to install only tank and charging unit. Hydrogen production facility, CO2 recovery equipment and control unit are provided on 10 m length trailer truck and it supplies hydrogen to each station at parked. Mitsubishi has fabricated trial hydrogen production facility with 40 m3/h and will load 160 m3/h unit on the trailer in the future.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun November 20, 2003 )
6. Introduction of MCFC Co-Generation System
(1) The First Energy Service Company, Ltd.
FESCO, the energy conservation service provider, for the first time, received the order from Seiko Epson Corporation, for operation and maintenance services for in house power generation using MCFC. FESCO invests for the facility and sells the electric power and steam generated by the facility to Seiko Epson. The co-generation system consist of 2 sets of 250kW MCFC and will be installed at Ina factory, SE. The investment cost is about 300 million yen and start of operation is scheduled in April 2004. Although SE already introduced PAFC of 400kW at Ina factory, they plan to accelerate the reduction of green house gas emission such as CO2 by introducing MCFC of which efficiency is high and waste heat temperature is also high.
( Nihon Keizai Simbun November 5, 2003 )
(2) Chubu Electric Power Co., Ltd.
From next fiscal year, high efficiency power generation system using waste will start the demonstration operation, which consists of waste gasifier having been developed by CEPCO and MCFC. MCFC already installed at Shin Nagoya Thermal Power Station has been started the operation and the construction works for gasification has been started, succeeding from the completion of design and manufacturing of waste gasifier to be integrated into the system. Operation test as the total system will be commenced around October, 2004 by connecting the both section. Installation and trial operation of waste gasifier will be completed by the end of this fiscal year. The wooden biomass is to be utilized as fuel and the consumption is 3.5 tons per day. To attain the cold gas efficiency of 65 % and concentrations of hydrogen sulfide and chloride compound at less than 1 ppm are the targets, which are harmful to the facility.
( The Chemical Daily November 7, 2003 )
7. Reforming and Hydrogen Generation Technology
(1) Cosmo Petroleum Gas Corporation
Cosmo announced that they succeeded to generate hydrogen for FCV from raw material of GTL produced from natural gas, for the first time in Japan. This GTL is produced by pilot plant at Tomakomai City, Hokkaido and the hydrogen is produced at gDaikoku Hyrogen Stationh. Applications of GTL have been expanded to also FCV fuel by confirming the possibility of hydrogen generation from GTL as feed stock at hydrogen station, though it has been studied so far to use GTL as a substitution fuel of diesel oil and kerosene because the GTL of which impurities such as sulfur are negligible.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbunb, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily November 11, 2003 )
(2) National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)
AIST succeeded to develop a new oil refining catalyst which makes possible to produce clean gasoline for FCV. The catalyst is noble metal catalyst loaded palladium-platinum, ytterbium, etc. having sulfur resistant, on zeolite, and the performances which are 0.12 ppm sulfur concentration and 99.8 % desulfurizing efficiency, have been confirmed. Utilizing an adsorbing desulfurizer as additional step, it is possible to reduce sulfur concentration below 10 ppb order which is required for FC. Though there are many feed stocks for hydrogen generation such as natural gas, methanol etc, the gasoline is the most suitable material as its high total energy efficiency and from view point of infrastructure arrangement, and attention for this new refining catalyst has been drawn because this makes such utilization possible.
( The Chemical Daily November 12, 2003 )
(3) Tokyo Institute of Technology and Waseda University
Group of Professor Ken Okazaki, Tokyo Institute of Technology and group of Lecturer Yasushi Sekine, Waseda University succeeded to produce hydrogen from natural gas by using way of spark plasma discharge which could be applied with small unit at low temperature compared with catalyst method. Chemical reaction by discharged plasma occurs by hitting highly energized electrons for gas molecules as feedstock, coming out when to apply high voltage to the electrode. Steam reforming of methane has been proceeded with using spark discharge. Steam reforming efficiency was about 70% and energy efficiency was 50%.
( Nikkann Kogyo Shimbun November 13, 2003 )
(4) Johnson Matthey Japan Incorporated
Johnson Matthey Japan Incorporated Sendai developed new high strength catalyst for hydrogen plant. They adopted the design called Q type having new shape and the strength was 2.5 times despite the activity was equivalent to conventional. The new Q type shape catalyst is grooved on outside of cylindrical shape and the thickness is homogenized compared to conventional. This resulted in success to attain low pressure loss during operation, prevention of catalyst decay and long life.
( The Chemical Daily November 21, 2003 )
(5) Kyoto University
Professor Koichi Eguchi, Kyoto University succeeded to develop hexa aluminate type catalyst which could be used for partial oxidation of hydro carbon, expected as one of the hydrogen production methods for FC. The catalyst is replaced a part of hexa aluminate by nickel and active component is exposed on the surface. Therefore, it is expected to be able to use stably for long duration because of agglomeration free. Metals other than nickel will be examined and designs for more efficient catalyst will be proceeded with.
( The Chemical Daily November 25, 2003 )
8. Development of Measuring Instrument for FC
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology developed a gas sensor made of ceramics which is ultra small, light weight, and hard to break when bended. New technology is utilized to produce ceramics elements by piling up with atoms and molecules levels and they aim at commercialization for FC. The developed sensor is fabricated by adhering thin ceramics film on polymer film, which has gas detecting ability. 1-3 nm inorganic layer is coated on the polymer to improve adhesion ability.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun November 13, 2003 )
9. Mutual Agreement for International Collaboration on Hydrogen and FC Development
15 countries including Japan and US and European committee mutually agreed for international collaboration to aim at realization of economy system to utilize hydrogen energy at the ministerial conference on December 20, 2003. International technical standards on hydrogen and FC technology will be prepared so that enterprises in each country will be able to advance research and development efficiently. This is the frame work of international collaboration named as gInternational Partnership for Hydrogen Economy (IPHE)h, proposed by President Bush Administration, and the result that each country and district including Japan and EU responded to the proposal.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun November 21, 2003, Yomiuri Shimbun November 21, 2003, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun November 26, 2003 )
10. International Collaboration by Private Organization for Diffusion of FC
4 private organizations in Japan, US, EU and Canada who aim at popularization of FC will cooperate for commercialization of FC. The committee will be established to exchange information regarding standardization of codes and regulations and running test of FCV. The organizations to cooperate are Fuel Cell Commercialization Conference of Japan and private organizations to diffuse FC in US, EU and Canada. They mutually agreed to collaborate in planning and safety on FC and the fuel and enlightenment activity. They also collaborate for diffusion of methanol fuel micro FC.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun November 28, 2003 )