THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, FEBRUARY 2004

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1.@Policy and Activity of METI, ANRE and NEDO
2.Policy and Activity of MLIT
3.Market Development of MCFC
4.Research and Development of SOFC
5.Development of Elemental Technology of PEFC and the Practical Application
6.The Front of FCV
7.@Fuel Cell Cogeneration System for Home Use
8.Development and Demonstration Test of PEMFC for Commercial Use
9.Development of DMFC and Micro FC
10.Development of Hydrogen Production and Reforming Technology
11.Development of Hydrogen Storage Technology
12.Commercialization of Hydrogen Supply Technology
13.Nano-Technology.

1.Policy and Activity of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Agency for National
(1) Establishment of Fuel Policy Planning Office 
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) newly established gFuel Policy Planning Officeh in Agency for National Resources and Energy (ANRE) on January 5, 2004. The office takes charge of such subjects as researches and developments for practical use of new fuels such as GTL, DME and biomass fuel, researches and developments for fuels suitable for dispersed power sources and FC and the policy for the market entry and the diffusion, and arrangements of safety standards for automobile and industrial fuels. 
( Denki Shimbun, The Chemical Daily January 6,2004 )

(2) International Cooperation for Standardization and Safety Standard
Abraham, Secretary General of Energy in USA, scheduled to visit to Japan on January 8, 2004 and Sakamoto, Senior Deputy Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, are to have a conference and to be reached to a cooperation agreement for fuel cell field such as developments of fuel cell and hydrogen related technology, and policy making on code for standardization and safety standard. Japan is also under consultation with European Committee and the governmental agreements between Japan and USA and Japan and Europe will be concluded in this spring at the earliest case. Necessary standards are such as purity and pressure of hydrogen, shape of fuel connector to fill up hydrogen and security standards on hydrogen fuel tank. When the standard regulations are realized, Japan, USA and Europe reexamine their regulations on safety administration individually according to the above standard regulations to be decided.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun January 6, 2004, Sankei Shimbun January 7, 2004, Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Denki Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun January 10, 2004 )

(3) Argument about Revision for Energy Policy 
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry intends to launch a new policy to put a high priority for development of hydrogen energy and dispersed power source including fuel cell, to secure the main electric power supply source by them in 2030, by revising extensively a conventional policy placed a big weight on a nuclear power as main power supply source. A joint committeeiOkuda Chairman of Nippon Keidanrenjof Industrial Structure Council and Advisory Committee for National Resources and Energy will be organized on January 21, 2004 as the place to make concrete study and make a final report in August as the target. The Ministerfs secretariat is the windows of the committee. As fuel cell is not enough to play the major role as main power supply source in efficiency and the cost, the committee urges to accelerate the development speed of the project by making out the plans to support the development and deregulation.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun January 9, 2004, The Chemical Daily January 21, 2004 )

(4) Development Project of SOFC System
NEDO intends to tackle with a development project of SOFC system for 4 years starting from 2004, aiming at commercialization by replacing the conventional SOFC project put a weight on elemental technologies. The project consists of two systems to be developed, one is cogeneration system from 10 to several tens kW and the other is mono-generation system over 100kW, and the former subsidy rate is a half for the necessary cost and the latter is for a full amount. 1.7 billion yen is assigned as the budget of the project in the fiscal year 2004. Target specification for the practical systems to be developed in 2008 are power generation efficiency of 40% and total efficiency of 80% for the cogeneration type and the power generation efficiency of 50% or higher for mono-generation type as combined cycle. Durability is 40,000 hours for both cases. NEDO will select Japanese enterprises who participate for the above tow projects.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun January 22, 2004 )
2.Policy and Activity of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport decided a policy to set about formulating a plan by January 5, 2004, which produces hydrogen by using sludge produced in the seweage treatment facility. This plan is to supply hydrogen to FCV in the future. Therefore, MLIT will start to develop the technology to produce methane gas from sludge with low cost.
( Nihon Kogyo Shimbun January 6, 2004, Nikkan Kensetsu Shimbun January 7, 2004 )
3.Market Development of MCFC
Kyushu Electric Power Co., Inc., Fukuoka City and Marubeni Corporation schedule to conduct the verification test of 250kW MCFC manufactured by FCE Inc. in USA from January 2004 to March 2005 at Seibu Wastewater Treatment Center in Fukuoka City, using methane gas as fuel, which is produced under the process of sewage treatment. Generated power is consumed at the Center and the heat recovered from the exhaust gas as steam is utilized as heat source for fermentation of sewage. Fukuoka City said that gWe intend to study to introduce MCFC into sewage treatment facility in comparison and evaluation with other electric power generation system using digester gash. On the other hand, Marubeni Corporation has a plan to sell MCFC to the sewage treatment facilities all over the nation after confirming the performance by the above verification test.
( Denki Shimbun January 8, 2004 )
4.Research and Development of SOFC
(1) Kyocera Corporation
Kyocera announced that they has attained power generation efficiency of 54 % (LHV) at the operation temperature of 780 by 1 kW SOFC module. The SOFC module is consisted of 4 stacks connected in series, heat exchanger integrated with internal reformer, air blower and steam generator and each stack is consisted of 50 flat shape tubular cells (150 mm) connected in series. Accelerated test will be conducted within 2004 in order to confirm durability for 40,000 hours. They intend to participate into FC business by putting 1 kW home use system on market at 1.2 million yen in 2005.
( Denpa Shimbun January 7, 2004 )

(2) The Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc., Mitsubishi Material Corporation
Kansai Electric and Mitsubishi Material announced on January 13, 2004 that they have developed 1 kW SOFC of low temperature operation using town gas as fuel. They completed the system integrated with inverter and heat recovery system by hot water of 90 , which operating temperature is 800 and the power generation efficiency is 40 %. They intend to complete the development of several 10 kW class unit by 2006 and sell them into markets such as hotel, restaurant, store and factory.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Denki Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily January 14, 2004 )
5.Development for Elemental Technologies of PEMFC and the Practical Application
(1) Kyoto University
Koichi Eguchi, Professor of Kyoto University developed new electrolyte membrane by adopting poly-phosphoric acid or silicon compound into membrane, which absorbs water into the membrane and always keeps the water in the membrane. As the result, humidifier for membrane is not necessary and reaction temperature can be increased up to 200 – 300 . Therefore, catalyst degradation by CO can be suppressed and also high temperature exhaust heat becomes valuable. And he confirmed power generation characteristics by PEMFC unit using the new membrane, that ion conductivity is the same level in comparison with fluorine membrane. 
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun January 5, 2004 ) 

(2) University of Yamanashi
Hiroyuki Uchida, Professor, University of Yamanashi has developed electrolyte membrane for PEMFC which a real humidifier is not necessary. He succeeded to introduce titanium oxide or silicon oxide into membrane and further to add platinum by using ion exchange and then dispersed platinum catalyst and titanium oxide at several nm level. As the result, the membrane has a function of self humidification through reaction between hydrogen and oxygen when the gases pass through the membrane. This function makes humidification of the membrane possible at low temperature of 30 level and power needed at start up of personal computer or cell phone can be supplied at once.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun January 6, 2004 )
6.The Front of FCV
(1) The Peoplefs Republic of China
Public bus provided with FC will be introduced in Beijing and Shanghai because interest for environmental problems has been growing in China according to the information from Xin Hua News Agency. 6 FC bus will be procured as the first phase of the model business and the model operation will be carried out in the both cities. Specialists will collect and analyze the data systematically and verify the economics.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun January 7, 2004 )
Team of Tongji University in Shanghai, China have manufactured proto type FCV, gChao Yue 1h in summer 2003 and the running test has been proceeded with as scheduled. They adopted FC as the prime mover, developed independently in China, fueled hydrogen and the maximum speed is 120 km/h and the cruising range is 230 km according to the announcement. It has been driven for 600 hours so far.
( Asahi Shimbun January 7, 2004 )

(2) Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Honda announced on January 7, 2004 that they intend to put gFCXh loaded new stack on market as lease in both Japan and USA, which stack can start even under -20 . Honda intends to stop conventional PEMFC made by Ballard by the end of 2004 and adopt the PEMFC made by Honda. Public road test of the car has been started from September 2003 in Japan.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Chunichi Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News January 8, 2004 )

(3) Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI)
JARI has built gSafety Test Facility and the Building for FCVh in their Research Institute in Tsukuba city and will start the operation from April this year. The test building provides with dome to test on explosion protection and fire ( Cylindrical shape, inner diameter:18 m , height:18 m, thickness of wall:1.2 m) and they will conduct safety test for major components and the raw material of FCV including high pressure hydrogen tank. The total cost is 1.2 billion yen and the national budget is assigned through NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization).
( The Daily Automotive News January 10, 2004, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun January 19, 2004 )

(4) Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
Yamaha intends to make arrangement within 2004 so that every one can conduct trial driving of a FC commuter of motorcycles. They already opened the concept car, gFC06h to the public in the Tokyo Motor Show. And they decided to go into the next trial driving stage to be conducted outside the company because it reached the practical level as the result of repeated running test in their test course. gFC60h provides with a DMFC having output of 500 W and they apply a motor used in gPassolh, electric scooter.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun January 21, 2004 )
7.Fuel Cell Co-generation System for Home Use
(1) Toho Gas Co., Ltd. 
Toho Gas clarified that they have been developing electric power management system which every house can utilize mutually surplus electric power generated at each home according to their demand, by connecting FC system installed at each home in a condominium, under cooperation research with the Nagoya University and the Kobe University. The condominium to be applied the system is assumed 50 or more homes. The computer carries out centralized control of the power situation generated at each home and the system judges the most efficient situation for power generation and power distribution. And they intend to establish fundamental technology and aim at commercialization within around five years. 
( Chunichi Shimbun January 7, 2004 )

(2) Mie Prefecture
Mie Prefecture starts the demonstration test toward practical use of home use FC, taking the related deregulation into account at the special designated area for economy approved by the national government in the Yokkaichi industrial complex in 2004. The area will be arranged as a development center of FC by using a large quantities of hydrogen generated in the process of oil refining or iron making at companies in the industrial complex. FC itself and data measurement system, etc. will be manufactured and installed and operated around April, this year. 
( Chunichi Shimbun January 9, 2004 )

(3) NEFiNew Energy Foundationj
NEF has selected stationary FCs for demonstration at 32 sites and started the test operation in 2003 fiscal year, in addition to 13 sites already installed in 2002. The demonstration test will be carried out at 45 sites in total. Electric utility companies increased sharply to eight, compared with one company in 2002. And Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry will conduct a evaluation test for an influence to grid by utilizing their test facilities. Moreover, the point paid an attention is that the makers increased in number, who challenge an experiment in a cold district or a heavy snowfall area, although it seems to be comparatively severe conditions. 
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Denki Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun January 23, 2004 )

(4) Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd and Ebara Corporation
Matsushita and Ebara intend to establish a technology which prolongs the life of PEMFC up to 10,000 hours or more and aim at the commercialization which can be operated for three years without exchange of parts. Although the production cost would be 3 million yen or more at the beginning, it will be put on market within a year and they will make the efforts to reduce the price down to 500 thousand yen in the future. The product developed by Matsushita and Ebara, will be sold by Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd in metropolitan area from around January - March in 2005, and by Osaka Gas Co., Ltd from March in 2006. 
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun January 27, 2004 )

(5) Ebara Corporation
Ebara Corporation announced on January 28, 2004 that they have shipped PEMFC cogeneration system for domestic use, "semi commercial unit, type-2" for a field test to Osaka Gas Co., Ltd., which can be operated continuously for 24 hour. It is the semi commercial system combining organically two technologies which are technology cultivated in small products widely used by Ebara Corporation and the PEMFC stack developed by Ballard Power Systems, Inc. The system has attained 35% of net power generation efficiency and 55% of heat recovery efficiency (LHV).
( Denki Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun January 29, 2004 )

(6) Osaka Gas Co.,Ltd
Hirofumi Shibano, Pressident of Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. suggested that more time might be necessary to commercialize FC for home use because subjects are remained yet in durability and cost, although they have advanced commercialization in 2005 as the initial target. 
( Sankei Shimbun January 30, 2004 )
8.Development and Demonstration Test of PEMFC System for Commercial Use
NIHON OIL CORPORATION announced on January 29, 2004 that they have developed a demonstration unit of 10kW class PEMFC fueled kerosene. The demonstration unit of 8.5kW will be installed and the field test will be started from February at convenience store in Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo. It has shipped in a link of "FC Demonstration Test for Stationary Power Generation Unith conducted by NEF in the 2003 fiscal year. And the commercialization will be realized in the 2006 fiscal year, after improving the durability. Although kerosene is cheap and the energy density is high, the reforming is said to be difficult because there are many carbons in kerosene. NIHON OIL CORPORATION has advanced further the development of kerosene fuel PEMFC under cooperation with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. And they attained net power generation efficiency of 31 %. 
( Asahi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun January 30, 2004 )
9.Development of DMFC and Micro FC
(1) Group of Toray Industries Inc.
Toray Industries Inc. announced that they succeeded to develop technology which power output can be improved 20-30% by changing the structure of electrolyte membrane which high density methanol fuel can be used and by increasing performance of catalyst, in the research and development of small DMFC for PDA under cooperative research and development with Shinshu University, Sophia University and Kyoto Institute of Technology. A power density of 30mW/cm2 per unit area has been achieved. Their target is commercialization in 2005.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun December 29, 2003 )

(2) Tokyo Institute of Technology
Professor Yotaro Yamazaki, Tokyo Institute of Technology developed an electrolyte membrane for DMFC which can endure for high temperature of 200. This electrolyte membrane has a layered configuration of an inorganic material like a zirconium and an organic material consisted of carboxylic acid. It can maintain performance as electrolyte membrane without reduction of water even at high temperature from 100 to 200 as it has the function to preserve water. Permeation rate of methanol is expected to be reduced as the thin layers of organic and inorganic material to overlap one another. The optimization of membrane fabrication technology will be continued and the development not only for note type personal computer but also 100W-1KW output DMFC is aimed at from now on.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun December 29, 2003 )

(3) Fujitsu Limited
Fujitsu Limited developed DMFC which operation time of mobile equipment is extended 3 times longer than usual and confirmed that note type personal computer can be operated more than 10 hours with 300mmL methanol water solution. 30% methanol water solution can be used as a fuel as cross over problem has been improved by employment of new organic polymer as the electrolyte membrane for DMFC.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun January 26, 2004 )
10.Development of Hydrogen Production and Reforming Technology
(1) Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd.
Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. has been developing reforming catalyst to utilize DME widely as a fuel of FC. The merits of DME are free of sulfur and making CO shift converter a small or nothing as CO production is very small because the reforming temperature is low as 300-450. They have been improving the catalyst further in order to reduce the reforming temperature down to around 200. They aim at production of prototype FC fueled DME in 2005, demonstration test in 2007 and commercialization and sales in 2008 under an alliance with electric machinery maker who has been developing PEMFC. 
( Denki Shimbun January 13, 2004 )

(2) Tokyo University of Science
A group of Professor Akihiko Kudo, Tokyo University of Science have developed a high performance photo catalyst which can take hydrogen efficiently out of waste fluid included sulfur like hydrogen sulfide by irradiating light. Ruthenium has been added to increase reaction efficiency to the catalyst made from zinc, silver, cupper, indium and sulfur. The particle of catalyst is 2-30m in diameter and most of visible ray from ultra violet to red orange can be utilized effectively. 3.1L/hm2 of hydrogen can be generated as the result of experiment which simulated sun light is irradiated to water solution contained sulfur ion etc. Usually it is known that hydrogen can be produced by using a cadmium sulfide catalyst added platinum particle when to be irradiated solar light, but it is not commercialized because only a part of visual ray can be utilized.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun January 23, 2004 )

(3) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. will start to ship LPG reforming units for home use PEMFC to FC makers from 2004 as they developed it and reached practical level. 81% reforming efficiency has been attained which performance is equivalent to natural gas. They are planning to execute commercialization of home use FC system with LPG reformer 1 or 2 years behind of natural gas. 
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun January 28, 2004 )
11.Development of Hydrogen Storage Technology
(1) FUJI HEAVY INDUSTRIES LTD.
FUJI HEAVY INDUSTRIES LTD developed high pressure hydrogen tank made of composite material, applying advanced technologies accumulated in a space equipment technology that is for fuel tank of rocket. Thin wall and light weight structure has been realized by their braiding process for knitting composite fiber. The weight is a half and the cost is less than a half in comparison with a conventional aluminum alloy tank, and furthermore the cost is almost the same and the weight is 1/5 compared with steel tank.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun January 5,2004 )

(2) Tokyo Institute of Technology
Professor Otsuka, Tokyo Institute of Technology, UCHIYA THERMOSTAT CO., LTD (Misato City, Saitama Prefecture) and Toho Gas Co., Ltd. developed a process for storage hydrogen efficiently and safely, by adopting the reaction which oxidized iron can be converted to pure iron by supplying hydrogen. 5mm size processed iron pellet is utilized to store hydrogen. A catalyst is added into the iron pellet in order to enhance the hydrogen charging and discharging reaction. This hydrogen charging and discharging processes are, oxidized iron is changed into pure iron by producing water through reaction of hydrogen with oxygen of oxidized iron when to supply a hydrogen to oxidized iron for the first, then hydrogen is generated when to supply a steam to the pure iron by reverse reaction. Professor said that hydrogen charging and discharging are feasible, equivalent to about 4.5 % of iron weight at lower temperature than 400 and hydrogen storage performance is superior to a hydrogen storing alloy. And the cost is a cheap comparing with the hydrogen storing alloy,.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun January 5, 2004 )

(3) TOYODA GOSEI CO., LTD.
TOYODA GOSEI announced that they achieved a practical level in a development of hydrogen storage tank for FCV, made of resin. The tank under development has double layer construction consisted of resin and FRP (Fiber Reinforced Plastics), and it has an equivalent strength to metal product and the weight can be reduced to less than a half. As the hydrogen molecule is so small and hydrogen permeates through conventional resin, they developed a new resin which hydrogen does not permeates and also succeeded to prevent hydrogen leakage by adopting the cap with construction sealed by utilizing the charged gas pressure. They are proceeding with the research and development to increase the tank pressure up to 70 MPa.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun January 21, 2004 )
12.Commercialization of Hydrogen Supply Technology
In April 2003, Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. started the marketing of hydrogen production unit gHigh Serve 30h (supply capacity is 30 m3/h) using natural gas reforming of which the price is about a half of conventional unit. The dimensions are 250 cm in width, 200 cm in length and 250 cm in height and they succeeded the down sizing by packaging everything in one box. The price is about 40 million yen. Based on these products, Osaka Gas plans to get 40 % market share of domestic industrial hydrogen supply market and intends to utilize these technologies for hydrogen station for FCV in the future.
( Denki Shimbun January 7, 2004 ) 
13.Nano-Technology
(1) NEC Corporation, SUMITOMO CHEMICAL Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Inc., etc.
11 companies including NEC, SUMITOMO CHEMICAL., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, jointly started to compile a data base collected stereo structural information of fine particles which are essential for nanotechnology. Covering about 100 fine particles of metal systems such as platinum and oxide iron, information such as the position of atom can be easily taken out and utilized for developments for FC or electronic device. A high performance electrode and catalyst for FC can be developed within a short period by using computer simulation based on the numerical information.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun January 19, 2004 )

(2) Sumitomo Corporation
Sumitomo announced on January 26, 2004 that they have concluded a sole agent agreement for 6 years on production of single layer carbon nano-tube and sales on the raw material and the processed products in Japan and Korea by investing into Carbon Nanotechnologies Incorporated (CNI) in USA. Single layer carbon nano-tube is superior in electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity to multilayer although the multilayer is in a advanced position for mass production.
( Asahi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nihon Kogyo Shimbun January 27, 2004 )