(1) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced to make a forecast for energy demand and supply until 2030. Though a forecast in the past for the future around 15 years has used to be made so far, METI examines a long-term policy and activity taking the change of industrial and population structure and the movement of new technology development including fuel cell into account. Industrial Structure Council and Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy intend to organize a joint committee in January, 2004 and make an interim report in June.
( Yomiuri Shimbun December 4, 2003, Nihon Keizai Shimbun December 5, 2003, Mainichi Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News December 6, 2003, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 8, 2003 )
As for overall fuel cell related budget of METI for fiscal year 2004 (according to the first unofficial announcement by Ministry of Finance), 32.9 billion yen (30.7 billion yen in 2003) for hydrogen and fuel cell related, 9.3 billion yen (5.6 billion yen in 2003) for practical use of biomass energy and 10.1 billion yen (9.3 billion yen in 2003) for the development support on GTL/DME are assigned.
( The Daily Automotive News December 22, 2003, The Chemical Daily December 25, 2003 )
NEDO decided nine research and development themes for fiscal year 2003 as for project on basic technology developments for PEFC. The project intends to develop innovational basic technologies such as electrolyte membrane, electrode catalyst, membrane electrode assembly, separator and others, aimed at improvement of efficiency, elongation of life and cost reduction which are all required to plan the real spread of PEFC. Selected subjects are such as gDevelopment of Basic Technologies for Fuel Reforming Catalyst not using the Precious Metalsh entrusted to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and gResearch and Development of Electrolyte Membrane for Low Cost and High Performanceh entrusted to KANEKA Corporation.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Denki Shimbun December 5, 2003, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun December 8, 2003 )
2.Developments of Basic Technologies for PEFC
Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd.( Maruko Town, Nagano Prefecture) announced that they developed a new material gCarbon Silkh, having high electric conductivity and antibacterial and deodorization effect, under the instruction of Faculty of Textile Science & Technology and Faculty of Engineering, Shinsyu University. This new material is expected to be used for electrode of fuel cell and filter of air cleaner. They intend to study for commercialization jointly with major companies. Carbon Silk is made of silk fibers treated at high temperature by using a special processing method. It has characteristics such as thermal resistance at about 400 , high electric conductivity the same level as carbon, and high corrosion resistance for acid and alkali. They manufactured MEA for direct methanol fuel cell and achieved 34mW as the maximum output density using electrode loaded platinum less than 1mg/cm2.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shinbum, Nikkan Kogyo Shinbum December 12, 2003 )
3.Demonstration and Commercialization for PEFC System
(1) Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. transferred the management of PEFC for home use to Matsushita Home Appliance Company(HA) which is an independent organization existed in the company. Consequently, it means that Matsushita has formally decided a policy for commercialization of PEFC. Although the research and development division has been in charge of PEFC in case of other makers, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. advanced a step toward commercialization earlier than expected. It is scheduled to be arranged the mass-production organization for commercialization within a half year. The company is planning to supply 1kW class PEFC for home use to gas utility companies by OEM system from spring of 2005.
( Denki Shimbun December 2, 2003 )
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. launched the project to solve and analyze degradation mechanism of fuel cell. This is the project to study the countermeasure systematically to attain a long-life by 2008, which is the biggest problem for commercialization of home use PEFC, to be put on market from March, 2005.
The company has summarized the subjects into the "Degradation Mechanism Web" until now, and plans to solve the subjects based on this web.
( Denki Shimbun December 9, 2003 )
(2) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. will put the PEFC cogeneration equipment for home use on the market around from January to March, 2005, and intend to sell from 200 to 300 sets in the first year. The sales method will be a lease system or selling out with maintenance service. They are 1kW-class cogeneration equipments jointly developed with Ebara group and Matsushita Electric Industrial respectively. Power generation efficiency will be higher than 30% by using town gas as fuel. And the energy conversion efficiency including hot water supply becomes about 70%. The investment can be recovered within the life period if the selling price of the cogeneration unit becomes about 500,000 yen, although the electrolyte membrane must be replaced about each three years.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun December 8, 2003 )
(3) Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. attained 1000 hours continuous operation with no trouble under DSS(Daily Start and Stop) operation using 1kW-class PEFC for home use. Although it used liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as fuel, these no trouble 1000 hours continuous operation is the first time in PEFC for home use even in case town gas reforming is included as fuel. Their target is achievement of "MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures)" of 6000 hours under DSS operation, which is equivalent to no trouble operation for one year, to examine the durability of the unit. They assume that regular inspection will be once a year at the commercial stage and ion-exchange resin will be replaced once a year as an article of consumption. And the durability for five years or more is a target for major apparatus including reformer. Five units will be shipped as a sample including some units other than 1kW-class by the end of January, 2004 as they succeeded no trouble operation for 1000 hours. In addition, their development targets of PEFC are not only for home use but also 100 kW class will be developed for condominium or from small to middle class commercial application by 2005 and also 1000 kW class will be developed for building, ship and an airplane by 2010.
( Denki Shimbun December 15, 2003 )
(4) Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.
Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. announced that they developed IC for motor driver to be used for cooling fan of personal computer with variable speed control. This IC can be applied not only for the cooling fan but also for cooling-water pump, pump or fan in fuel and air lines for fuel cell system and they promote to sell it to fuel cell makers as new application.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 16, 2003, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun December 17, 2003 )
(5) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. will select cooperation development partners for PEFC cogeneration system for home use into two from four companies within 2004, to be put on market in 2005 and start a monitor test of a mass-production model. Although they have already agreed to develop the system jointly with four partner companies, such as Ebara Ballard, Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd., Toshiba IFC, and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. and they will conduct the evaluation of the experimental model of each company and select two final partners toward commercialization. The contract term of the joint development with the four companies is until the end of March, 2004 and Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. is under operation and evaluation. The joint development contract will be extended for maybe two selected companies from 2005 and the evaluation of the improved unit will be carried out.
( The Chemical Daily December 19, 2003 )
(6) Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.
Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. developed the experimental model of 750W by changing conventional basic specification of 800W. The size is reduced so that the surplus electric power is not generated as far as possible during low load time including at night. The size of power supply unit using town gas as fuel, is 750mm in width, 1000mm in height and about 350mm in depth and this system has a hot-water tank (150L) and remote control. About ten units will be shipped as a sample by the end of the fiscal year 2003 .
( Denki Shimbun December 24, 2003 )
4. The Front of FCV
(1) Toyota Motor Corporation
Kanto Regional Development Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has adopted one FCHV fabricated by Toyota as road patrolling car. The FCHV has been manufactured as usual passenger car and modified for road patrolling car by changing the color into yellow and installing red lamp and radio telecommunication unit. It is to be used for patrol on major roads including route No.1 of the national road. And the practical performance as road maintenance car is to be confirmed according to the test use for 2.5 years. This FCHV is the 13th FCV delivered by Toyota.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 2, 2003, The Daily Automotive News, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun December 3, 2003 )
(2) Daimler Chrysler Japan Co., Ltd.
Daimler Chrysler Japan has delivered FCV, gF-Cellh to Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. This is the first car although they have a plan to deliver 60 gF-Cellh in 4 countries such as Japan, Germany, USA and Singapore within 2004. This is the second FCV which Tokyo Gas has introduced, succeeding from gFCHVh fabricated by Toyota, and both will be used as commercial car, trial driving car in various events or model car in exhibition. They plan to promote popularization of FCV.
( The Daily Automotive News, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun December 5, 2003, Denki Shimbun December 9,2003 )
(3) Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Nissan announced that they will put 2003 model of gX-TRAILh, FCV on market as lease base. The X-TRAIL has been loaded FC stack developed under cooperation with UTCFC, motor developed by their own technology and secondary battery. Nissan is the third company to sell FCV as lease, succeeding from Toyota and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. This model is improved from former model opened to the public in December 2002 and five seat car loaded high pressure storage tank for hydrogen gas. The maximum motor output power is 85 kW, the maximum speed is 145 km/h, cruising range is 350 km and output power of FC stack is 63 kW.
( The Daily Automotive News, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun December 9, 2003 )
Nissan announced their policy to develop FC stack for FCV by themselves. Their policy is to develop and manufacture FC stack by themselves, reflecting the future mass-production age although they have already a practical level stack jointly developed with UTCFC. Their plan is to develop their own stack by 2005.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 9, 2003 )
5.Technology for Hydrogen Station and the Commercialization
(1) Sumitomo Corporation, Sumisho Air Water Co., Ltd.
Sumitomo and Sumisho Air Water started to expand their market for hydrogen
generation unit to be used in hydrogen station and semi-conductor business. This comes from background history which Vandenborre Hydrogen Systems ( Belgium ) who Sumitomo and Sumisho Air Water both have alliance agreements on hydrogen production unit by water electrolysis, merged with Stuart Energy Systems Corporation who is one of representative hydrogen production company in Canada and the new company became the largest company in this field in the world. 2 companies, Sumitomo and Sumisho Air Water made policy to expand hydrogen related business because their licensor merged and became the largest in the world although Sumitomo has been in a position to import the unit and Sumisho Air Water has been in a position to sell them.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 5, 2003 )
(2) Kobe Steel, Ltd.
Kobe announced that they have developed ultra high pressure compressor for hydrogen station to charge hydrogen into tank of FCV, which can increase the pressure up to 1000 atm (100 MPa) and is the first success in the world. They intend to commercialize the compressor for hydrogen station to charge hydrogen to FCV provided with 700 atm class hydrogen tank, after conducting verification test. They succeeded to complete the compressor by combining two technologies, their own technologies of oil free piston compressor and diaphragm compressor of their licensorfs technology, who is Hofer (Andreas Hofer Hochdrucktechnik GmbH) in Germany and to be able to compress hydrogen up to 1000 atm by one compressor. The capacity of trial product is 50 Nm3/h, however, series from 50 to 300 Nm3/h will be available as commercial products.
( Sankei Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun December 12, 2003 )
6.Hydrogen Production Technology
Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. aims at commercialization of 300Nm3/h intermediate pressure (0.15MPa) hydrogen production plant for hydrogen station and succeeded to develop practical level hydrogen production plant of 30Nm3/h, 1/10 of commercial scale. They paid attention into the experienced intermediate pressure hydrogen production plant by using intermediate pressure natural gas supply line as they thought the necessity to develop a compact and low cost hydrogen production plant. The installation area, the initial cost and the operation cost are reduced 60, 50 and 30% respectively in comparison with conventional low pressure plant. They have been now developing 100Nm3/h hydrogen production plant and aiming at scale up of the capacity along with compact reformer and PSA. They have been developing the onsite type hydrogen production plant as they consider to enter the hydrogen market for industrial use as a short term target and expand it into hydrogen station as a long term target.
( The Chemical Daily November 3, 2003 )
7.DMFC for PDA
(1) Hitachi Ltd.
Hitachi Ltd. announced that they made proto type conceptual model (about 1cm in diameter, about 5cm in length) of cartridge type to make up a methanol solution, aimed at commercialization of DMFC for PDA. They intend to develop the cartridge for commercial use as fuel supply mechanism under cooperation development with Tokai Corporation, lighter maker. The commercialization of DMFC with cartridge type fuel make up mechanism is scheduled in 2005.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun December 11, 2003 )
(2) Tokyo Institute of Technology
Group of Professor Takeshi Hatsusawa, Tokyo Institute of Technology succeeded in power production with ultra thin DMFC which silicone electrode is used. This was the first success for power production as there was a case made prototype. The thickness is about 0.25mm and fabrication technique for semiconductor can be applied and this is considered to be easy for down sizing and mass production. A 5mm square fuel cell was made with fine processing in the center of 1.5 cm square silicon base plate. They attained power production of 1.5 mW/cm2 by using hydrogen and oxygen and 50ÊW/cm2 when to use methanol. The performance can be increased by improving how to use platinum catalyst. Power output density per volume is expected to be higher than conventional by stacking. This has been conducted as subsidy project by NEDO.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun December 17, 2003 )
(3) Toyobo Co., Ltd.
Toyobo Co., Ltd. has developed high performance electrolyte membrane for DMFC. Performance would be improved by increasing transmission rate of hydrogen ion and suppressing methanol cross over. In order to increase the transmission rate of hydrogen ion, hydrophilic sulfonic group has been increased about 3 times more than usual fluorine membrane. Power generation efficiency can be increased 30% by using the same methanol concentration fuel. The molecule structure has been contrived in order to be stable for swelling when the membrane is wetted. As the result, permeation rate could be reduced down to 1/5 for the same thickness membrane. They are aiming to suppress it less than 1/20 in the futur. High density methanol can be available by doing these and the results are expected to lead the down sizing of FC and the elongation of life.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun December 19, 2003 )
(1) Kyocera Corporation
Kyocera announced that they achieved the world highest level power generation efficiency of 54 % (DC gross out put, LHV base) on 1 kW class SOFC which is applicable to home use. The operating temperature is 780 . This is the first time Kyocera made public for their fuel cell technology. The system consists of a fuel cell module assembled 4 stacks in series, stacked 50 cells in series as a stack, using unique cylindrical planar type (outside dimensions are 150~25~3 mm), heat exchanger module integrated fuel reformer (outside dimensions are 450~320~320 mm), air blower and steam generator. The development will be concluded by the end of 2004 by conducting acceleration test to confirm 40,000 hours durability from now. They plan to start fuel cell business in 2005 by marketing 1 kW class home use SOFC with less price than 1.2 million yen. They are expecting sales of 1billion yen in the first year and 20 billion yen in 2010 as the sales target.
( Sankei Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun December 19, 2003 )
(2) Hosokawa Powder Technology Research Institute
Hosokawa Powder Technology Research Institute (Hirakata City) announced that they developed a cathode material for SOFC operating at 700 , jointly with Osaka University. Low temperature operation of total SOFC can be possible by this result as the anode operating at 700 have been already realized. They intend to commercialize the electrode material and basic cell in 2005. They have realized the electrode material to be able to operate at low temperature by reducing particle size of electrode materials, bonded lanthanum, strontium and manganese, down to 100 nanometer, 1/100 of conventional size. They have succeeded to make fine particles by new process using mechano-chemical bonding technology to be loaded strong force for the bonding although the bonded particles is made by sintering in conventional process and results in large particle size.
( The Chemical Daily, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 19, 2003 )
(3) NIPPON STEEL CORPORATION
NIPPON STEEL CORPORATION will invest to gAcumentrics Japanh, the cogeneration system company, which has been established with even share by Sumitomo Corporation and Acumentrics Corporation in USA. The company intends to enter into full scale business by participation of NIPPON STEEL. Sumitomo, Acumentrics and NIPPON STEEL have been cooperating now for demonstration test of 10 kW class SOFC made by Acumentrics at Yahata Iron Works of NIPPON STEEL, scheduled by the end of 2003.
( Nihon Kogyo Shimbun December 24, 2003 )
9.Development of Instrument for FC
Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. developed a high sensitive sensor to detect liquid and gas, utilizing 1 mm diameter crystal ball, jointly with Tohoku University, Ball Semiconductor Inc. in USA and Yamatake Corporation. It measures trace gas or others by emitting ultra sonic wave on surface of crystal ball. It is applicable to FCV which fueled hydrogen and they plan to commercialize in 2005. In case of hydrogen, concentration from 0.05 to 100 % in air can be detected and the sensitibity is 10 times in comparison with conventional sensor.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun December 6, 2003, Denki Shimbun December 12, 2003 Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun December 15, 2003, Nikkan Kensetsu Kogyo Shimbun December 16, 2003, The Chemical Daily December 17, 2003 )
10. International Cooperation of Private Organization to Popularize FC
The private fuel cell promoting organizations from Japan, USA, Europe and Canada will hold gFuel Cell Summith at Yokohama City in June 2004. They will observe the activity of Japan Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Demonstration Project and discuss on the demonstration of FC to civilian. The organizations are Fuel Cell Commercialization Conference of Japan (FCCJ), US Fuel Cell Council (USFCC), World Fuel Cell Council (WFCC) in Europe and FC Canada.
( The Daily Automotive News December 9, 2003 )