THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, April  2004

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1.Governmental Policy and Activity
2.Policy and Activity in Foreign Government
3.Introduction of PAFC Cogeneration System
4.Market Entry of MCFC
5.Research and Development of SOFC
6.Development of Elemental Technologies for PEFC
7.Development, Demonstration and Commercialization of PEFC for Home Use
8.Demonstration Test of PEFC for Commercial Use
9.The Front of FCV
10.Development and Demonstration of Hydrogen Production Technology
11.Development and Demonstration of Hydrogen Storage Technology
12.Design for Hydrogen Station
13.Development and Demonstration for New Fuel Technology
14.Development of FC for PDA

1.Governmental Policy and Activity
(1) Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology 
Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI) has been conducting the coordination between Japan and DOE, USA, to accumulate the basic technologies for hydrogen mass production by cooperating with USA project to produce hydrogen using High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor (HTGR) which is to be newly-installed in Idaho State from 2005 or later. HTGR can produce hydrogen by decomposition of water using High Temperature Thermo-chemical Method, cyclic process of Iodine and Sulfur Dioxide. The USA had reached a commercial operation level to generate electric power using the prototype HTGR by the end of 1980s, but stopped the operation after that because they could not reduce the cost. On the other hand, JAERI established the High Temperature Engineering Test Reactor at the Oarai Research Establishment and succeeded in taking the heat steadily out of the reactor at 850 in 2001. Therefore, DOE offered joint research to JAERI.
( Asahi Shimbun March 3, 2004 )

(2) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
Automobile Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau, METI had a meeting with Automobile Division, Enterprise Bureau, European Commission and exchanged opinions concerning FCV, motorcar market in China, Korea and Russia, and mileage and contribution to prevent global warming.
( The Daily Automotive News March 8, 2004 )
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry launched a policy toward construction of hydrogen energy society that 15 million FCV and the stationary type fuel cells of 12.5 GW in total on a power generation scale will be spread until 2030 and Policy Study Group for Fuel Cell Commercialization (an advisory organization of Director-General, Agency for National Resource and Energy) will make the scenario. 
They suppose the period from 2020 to 2030 would be the first stage of real diffusion of fuel cells and make a scenario that 80 thousands of FCV would be increased per year after 2010 and the market scale of FCV will reach to 1.2 million per year in 2030. As for the stationary type fuel cell, they also suppose that the initial fuel cell market will be established in 2005 and reach to 2.2 GW in total in 2010 and a gMicro Gridh which can mutually utilize electricity through mutual connection of fuel cells installed at homes and offices would be diffused and it will reach to 10 GW in total in 2020.
( Yomiuri Shimbun Shimbun March 10, 2004, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Denki Shimbiun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Daily Automobile News, Chunichi Shimbun, The Chemical Dailiy March 12, 2004 )
Agency for National Resource and Energy, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, decided to promote the practical use of FC by giving incentive to users from fiscal year 2005 for the purpose to diffuse home use fuel cells as monitor sales for the initial several years. The policy means the government back-up for FC manufacturer and not a subsidy, to be able to start the mass production of FC from fiscal year 2007, and gives higher incentive to advanced manufacturer in cost reduction and stimulates a competitive development. As the life of the initial stage fuel cell is estimated about 20,000 hours, 3 years operation is expected as the monitor period. After three or four years, the policy is to be changed into subsidy system for the real commercialization and makes the 10,000 per year level production possible.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun March 17, 2004 )
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will enforces the revision of Ministerial Ordinance in April, 2004, which abolishes the regulation to have to purge the inside of fuel system by nitrogen gas when stopped the operation for fuel cells with lower output than 10 kW.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun March 24, 2004 )

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2.Policy and Activity in Foreign Government
@The United Nations held Committee of Expert on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (CETDG) to relax restrictions on methanol fuel of mobile micro fuel cell, to be carried on an airplane and started earnest discussion to decide new standards on the methanol to be carried on an airplane within 2004. The discussion is to be stepped forward mainly by Japan and the USA who are the most advanced position in practical use of fuel cell, including Europe. Methanol is combustible and poisonous, so it is not approved to carry into an airplane at the present time. Therefore, if the international agreement is realized to carry methanol into an airplane, the movement for standardization of mobile fuel cells is accelerated, and the basical preparation for mass production is to be arranged. And it is expected that the development for practical use of mobile micro fuel cell will be activated. 
( The Chemical Daily March 16, 2004 )

3.Introduction of PAFC Cogeneration System
The Okazaki Sinkin Bank completed a PAFC cogeneration system in the area of the head office. The system is made by Fuji Electric Holdings Co., Ltd., about 100 million yen in investment and estimated that it covers about 20% of total electric power consumption in the head office building and reduces 25 thousand liters equivalent to crude oil and 181 tons of CO2 exhaust gas per year.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun March 5, 2004 )
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4.Market Entry of MCFC
(1) Marubeni Corporation
Marubeni has delivered 250 kW MCFC plants fabricated by FuelCell Energy Inc. in USA, one for JAPEX (Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd.) and two for Seiko Epson Corporation. The two have been installed in Ina Factory, Seiko Epson and started the trial operation. They will start commercial operation in March. The other one has been installed in Katakai Gas Fields (Niigata Prefecture) of JAPEX, which will be operated soon by introducing the natural gas produced at the fields directly into MCFC. Marubeni has delivered 5 units in total so far as they have already delivered the first unit into Toride Factory, Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd. and the second has been installed at Seibu Sewage Treatment Center, Sewage Bureau, Hukuoka City.
( The Chemical Daily March 12, 2004 )

(2) Ichikawa Kankyo Engineering Co., Ltd.
Bio Energy Co., Ltd. newly established by Ichikawa Kankyo under cooperation with SAN-R Co., Ltd. and Kaname Kogyo Co., Ltd. who are under control of Mitsubishi Corporation, is to start new business, Super Eco-Town Project at Jonan Island, Tokyo, which generates electric power using MCFC fueled anaerobic digester gas produced from waste food. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. will construct the recycle facility. The plant will treat 110 T/D of garbage to generate digester gas by using fermentation reactor operated at middle temperature range and the produced gases are supplied to 250 kW MCFC power plant made by FuelCell Energy Inc. and 750 kW gas engine made by MHI and the generated power excluded auxiliary power is sold to Tokyo Electric Power Company. The total budget for the business is 3.9 billion yen and the business is started from 2005.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun March 18, 2004 )

(3) ESCO
FESCO (The First Energy Service Co., Ltd.), one of the biggest company in ESCO business, intends to develop on-site power supply business positively making use of FC and biomass energy. They will put the high priorities on biomass power generation by using raw tall oil and 250 kW MCFC fueled LNG as concrete project. They have been approved their business reconstruction plan on March 1, 2004 based on Industry Reconstruction Law from Kanto Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry,.
( Denki Shimbun, The Chemical Daily March 2, 2004, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun March 3, 2004 )

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5.Research and Development of SOFC
@(1) The First Rare Element Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.
The First Rare Element Chemical (Osaka City) will start mass production of ScSZ (Scandium Oxide Stabilized Zirconium Oxide), next generation electrolyte for SOFC within 2004. They will newly install the exclusive production line at their factory in head office. They have developed SOFC under cooperation with Toho Gas Co., Ltd. and Toho Gas will commercialize small scale SOFC at low price, which is 50 % power generation efficiency by using the electrolyte material. Ion conductivity of ScSZ is twice in comparison with YSZ and it is expected to be able to improve power generation efficiency remarkably. They confirmed so far that they can reduce cell size into about a half and this will be an advantage in production cost. They are expecting the SOFC to be grown into big market.
( The Chemical Daily March 18, 2004 )

(2) Seimi Chemical Co., Ltd.
Seimi Chemical (Chigasaki City) intends to strengthen their development of chemical compound to be used for electrolyte, cathode, anode and inter connector of SOFC. They have established citric acid synthesis method which is environmentally friendly and they will install a trial production line of 2 ton per month to arrange organization and facility for SOFC development. Their citric acid synthesis method is to make slurry by carbonate or hydroxide of metal ion and to react with citric acid and to dry them. Then the dried material is sintered and crushed and various chemical compounds are produced.
( The Chemical Daily March 22, 2004 )

6.Development of Elemental Technologies for PEFC
Hitachi, Ltd. announced that they have developed low cost MEA (Membrane Electrode Assembly) for PEFC, using hydrocarbon electrolyte membrane and succeeded continuous operation over 4,000 hours. Although hydrocarbon electrolyte membrane is easy to be swollen by absorbing water, they secured the strength by using it as complex core material with hydrocarbon polymer. Aromatic engineering plastics is used as the raw material. The same level ion conductivity has been obtained by this hydrocarbon polymer as fluorine system by devising the sulfonic acid playing role of ion conduction and heat resistance also has been realized. The cost would be less than 1/10. They intend to deliver MEA as sample in 2004 and to establish the organization and the facility for mass production in 2008. 
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun March 4, 2004, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun March 8, 2004 )

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7.Development, Demonstration and Commercialization of PEFC for Home Use
(1) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
Tokyo Gas will start FC business as lease base in March 2005. The total number for lease should be suppressed to about 100 at the first step, considering production capacity and maintenance. 
( Fuji Sankei Business Eye March 8, 2004 )
Tokyo Gas has been developing 1 kW FC for home use under cooperation with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. and Ebara Group and they will put it on market around January - March 2005. Therefore, the members in charge will be increased up to 10 and the organization is stepped up from project team to group.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun March 8, 2004, Yomiuri Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News March 9, 2004, Denki Shimbun March 22, 2004 )

(2) Development of FC for Home Use by LPG Reforming
NIPPON OIL CORPORATIONI will withdraw from NEDO subsidy project on the LPG reforming technology in the 2003 fiscal year, and will make every possible efforts for their own development. Idemitsu Kosan Co.,Ltd set about commercialization by cooperating with FC stack maker from the 2004 fiscal year, Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. started license supply of reformer from 2004 fiscal year, and MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. also began their demonstration test in LPG reforming of 1kW. 
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun March 8, 2004 )

(3) Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.
Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. aims at the completion of PEFC product for home use by the end of 2007 or 2008, whose price is lower than 500 thousands yen and the stack life is 40,000 hours. Although it has planned to produce a commercial system in 2005, which can conduct continuous operation for 24 hours and operate low load (output 750W) during night time, they need more time to complete a real product for popularization, which is satisfied with durability and cost. They said that they want to sell 10,000 sets per year in the possible earliest time, if this target will be attained. They are planning to analyze the amount of energy consumption time to time for each home and the system is adjusted to keep discharge heat at the minimum.. Moreover, their services will be conducted under cooperation with gas companies and maintenance work will be conducted by their worker coordinated with gas companies because it will be OEM to gas utility companies at the beginning of market entry. However, they will establish their own sales network after completion of finished goods and sell their own brand product. 
( Denki Shimbun March 16, 2004 )

(4) NEF 
New Energy Foundation (NEF) held gInterim Report Meeting for Demonstration Test of Stationary FCh at Iino Hall on March 16, 2004 and released the operation data in a year collected from October, 2002 at 13 sites all over the nation. The whole data acquisition time was 31,540 hours for 12 sites and the longest data acquisition time was 3,943 hours. The highest power generation efficiency was 32% (HHV) at the rated operation and the maximum heat recovery efficiency became 46%. In the fiscal year 2003, the demonstration tests have been conducted at 31 sites, and grid connected operation will be carried out for all sites. Operations have been conducted according to the Technical Guide Line for Grid Connection without restricting the use of electric power and heat to residents even during the time of failure. Moreover, as for DSS (Daily Start and Stop) operations or 24-hour continuous operations, the operations have been carried out as planned. About the points to be improved, there are rooms for improvements on partial load efficiency and energy consumption during start up or stand by. Moreover, it was proved that the heat system for effective use of heat has also spaces to be improved, such as ignition timing of auxiliary burner and how to store the heat into hot-water tank. 
( Denki Shimbun, Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun March 17, 2004 )

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8.Demonstration Test of PEFC for Commercial Use
@(1) NIPPON OIL CORPORATION
NIPPON OIL CORPORATION participates in gDemonstration Test of Stationary FCh led by NEF, and will carry out the demonstration test of the 10kW PEFC for commercial use from March 15, 2004, using kerosene as fuel at the convenience store of Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo. The test period is about a year and they aims at commercialization within fiscal year 2006 after improvements in efficiency and durability based on the test data. Although they have developed PEFC fueled kerosene so far for commercial use under cooperation with MHI. As 31% of power generation efficiency has been attained recently, they decided to start a more detailed demonstration test toward diffusion at a general store. 
( Denki Shimbun March 9, 2004 ) 

(2) Idemitsu Kosan Co.,Ltd
Idemitsu Kosan Co.,Ltd announced that they will begin demonstration test of the PEFC system fueled kerosene from March 18, 2004 in Tomakomai, Hokkaido. They adopted 5 kW PEFC system (width : 180cm, depth : 70cm, height : 165cm) made by IHI. It will be installed in the area of the dormitory for their single employees who work in the Hokkaido Oil Refinery. While it provides one sixth of the power consumption and hot-water in the dormitory for 58 persons. It examines whether it is suitable for operation in a cold climate district. 
( Hokkaido Shimbun March 18, 2004, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun March 19, 2004, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun March 22, 2004 )

9.The Front of FCV
(1) Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd
Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd announced on March 2, 2004 that they will procure FCX of Honda as lease. The contract term is one year and the monthly lease charge is 80 thousand. The delivery of the car ceremony was held by the related persons at Tokyo International Forum on the March 8, 2004. FCVs which Honda has delivered so far became ten in Japan and U.S.A . Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd has participated in JHFC(Japan Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Demonstration Project) from fiscal year 2003. 
( Yomiuri, Sankei, Nikkei Sangyo, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun March 9,2004 )

(2) Daido Metal Co., Ltd.
Daido Metal Co., Ltd. fabricated FCV mini-car, 19cm in length, 10cm in width, 8.5cm in height, gWater electrolysis E-FCVh. They have been selling it through internet as a licensed product for Aichi International Exposition to be held in 2005, which utilizes pure water used for washing at their factory and produces hydrogen with water electrolysis. It is priced 20 thousands yen a unit and is planed to sell 500 units for the time being.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun March 9, 2004 )

(3) JHFC seminar
Japan Automobile Research Institute and Engineering Advancement Association of Japan held JHFC seminar for fiscal year 2003 and presented the results of demonstration test. 8 automobile makers and 14 infrastructure makers participated the project in 2003. Hydrogen supply units became 10 in total and total driven distance by FCV was 23,450 km as of the end of December 2003 and 203.6 kg hydrogen have been supplied. As for hydrogen station, definition of energy efficiency has been decided and efficiencies for 5 different fuels and hydrogen production systems have been calculated from the test data.
( The Daly Automotive News March18, 2004 )

(4) Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced on March 22, 2004 that they will sell gX Trail FCVh as lease to Cosmo Petroleum Gas Corporation, developed based on SUV. 
( Mainichi Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Daly Automotive News March 23, 2004 )

(5) Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Honda will exhibit FCX in Bangkok International Motor Show which will be opened to the public on April 26, 2004.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun March 24, 2004 ) 

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10.Development and Demonstration of Hydrogen Production Technology
(1) Nippon Steel Corporation
Nippon Steel Corporation co,pleted the facility to extract 99.99% highly purified hydrogen from byproduct gas (55% hydrogen, 30% methane) generated from coke oven and liquefy them at Kimitsu Works and will supply the liquefied hydrogen to the hydrogen station at Ariake, Tokyo. Applying the existing liquefied oxygen (-180) production facility, 200 kg/d (2200Nm3/d) liquefied hydrogen will be produced.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun March 3, 2004 )
The demonstration plant to recover hydrogen from coke oven started to operate on a full scale at Kimitsu Works, Nippon Steel Corporation.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Tekko Shimbun March 19, 2004 )

(2) Kurimoto Ltd. and Osaka Sangyo University
Kurimoto Ltd. will start hydrogen production business from bio-mass cooperatively with Professor Osamu Yamada, Osaka Sangyo University and OSU Technology (Daito City, Osaka Prefecture), the university initiated venture capital. They are aiming to commercialize it based on high temperature super heated steam generation system over 1000, owned by OSU and Kurimoto Ltd. cooperates with plant fabrication side such as volume reduction machine or carbonizing unit for trees and plants. The process is, micro porous material with 50m pore diameter is used as heater using high frequency wave and steam is generated by it. Then, combustible gas is produced by supplying the steam to the trees and plants and recovered combustible gas is reformed to hydrogen. They will study to gather 14 tons per year of trees and plants around the first class rivers under cooperation with Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun March 10, 2004 )

(3) JFCC
Japan Fine Ceramic Center (JFCC) developed silica membrane dispersed nickel nano particle for hydrogen separation. Nickel having hydrogen affinity is integrated with silica membrane and they confirmed that hydrogen permeation rate was about 5 times compared with helium which molecular size is smaller than hydrogen. The permeation rate of hydrogen does not exceed that of helium if we use only molecular sieve function because molecular size of helium is smaller than hydrogen. But they have succeeded to increase the hydrogen permeation rate remarkably by dispersing nickel with approximately 10nm diameter into the porous silica membrane. They are aiming to commercialize porous ceramics membrane which has higher hydrogen selectivity than ever by optimizing the dispersion of nickel.
( The Chemical Daily March 17, 2004)

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11.Development and Demonstration of Hydrogen Storage Technology
@Nasu Denki-Tekko Co., Ltd. announced on Mar. 1, 2004 that they developed advanced hydrogen storing alloy (Ti-Fe type alloy). They have cooperatively developed with Tokai University and Tokyo Metropolitan Industrial Technology Research Institute as a research development project of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Target of this research is to establish the way of mass production of cheap hydrogen storing alloy, enhancing the hydrogen storing capability by mechanical alloying method and controlling method for nano structure, based on Ti-Fe type hydrogen storing alloy. 1.8wt% as the maximum hydrogen storing rate has been realized this time which is the research target at the initial stage.
( Tekko Shimbun March 2, 2004, Nihon Keizai Shimbun March 3, 2004) 

12.Design for Hydrogen Station
@Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and Railway Technical Research Institute announced on March 4, 2004 that they started cooperative research for hydrogen supply system for railway cars driven by FC. Setting up definite capacity and construction cost, the design works for natural gas reforming type hydrogen station will be carried out and the issues will be listed up by numerous simulations. Hydrogen production capacity is 3,100 Nm3/h with two sets, hydrogen gas supply pressure is 35 MPa and it seems that construction cost is estimated as the 1`2 billion yen. Incase of railway cars, 500 kW power per set are required, and for the station, it is considered that the hydrogen supply capacity of more than 1,000 Nm3 per one charge is indispensable. On the other hand, as charging time is not limited and hydrogen supply during the production is possible, and thus the technical difficulties are considered as less, in comparison with that for automobile.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Denki Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun March 5, 2004 )
Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and Railway Technical Research Institute designed hydrogen station for railway cars. Generating hydrogen from natural gas, compressed and stored it, hydrogen is supplied to 80 FC railway cars per one day from hydrogen supply facility installed at the alongside the railway.
( Tokyo Shimbun March 23, 2004 )

13.Development and Demonstration for New Fuel Technology
@DME Development Co., Ltd, the private research company and founded by 10 companies including JFE Holdings, Inc., Nippon Sanso Corporation and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd., succeeded the trial operation of DME direct synthesis demonstration plant, proceeding at Shiranuka-cho, Hokkaido. 100 tons per day capacity and 99.6 % DME purity have been achieved. Twice 2 - 3 months operations in each 2004 and 2005 and once in 2006 are scheduled, and gathering various data will be gathered and technologies will be cumulated toward the commercial plant which will be started around 2007 in the earliest case.
( The Chemical Daily March 1, 2004 )

14.Development of FC for PDA
@(1) Hitachi, ltd.
Hitachi developed the new system of note type PC which is powered as required by adapting externally the FC with methanol fuel cartridge. The FC is attached at back of display and it is used by putting the plug into the adaptor as the concrete measure. The power unit is DMFC of 1 cm in thickness and 500 g in weight, and 4 ~ 5 hours PC operation is possible by 20 cc cartridge which contains 20 % concentration methanol solution. As a methanol reserve tank is provided inside DMFC, it needs not to shut off PC when to change methanol fuel cartridge.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun March 17, 2004 )
Hitachi announced on March 23, 2004 that they developed PDA powered by FC which can be used for long hours. They plan to deriver samples in 2005. Microsoft OS is installed and application software such as PowerPoint can be used.
( Tokyo Shimbun March 24, 2004 )

(2) Toshiba Corporation
Toshiba released on March 17, 2004 that they made proto type micro DMFC for note type PC. The functions have been confirmed by connecting to B5 size PC gPORTEGE M100h. The feature is down sized cartridge with increased methanol concentration in cartridge by adopting the system which recycle and reuse the water recovered during DMFC power generation by using micro pump. The DMFC will be exhibited at IT technologyl exhibition gCeBIT2004h to be held at Hannover City from March 18, 2004.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun March 18, 2004 )

(3) Proton C60 Power Corporation
Proton C60 Power (Neyagawa City), invested by The Honjo Chemical Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation, manufactured the proto type DMFC which utilize fullerenes derivative (proton conductor made of chemical modified fullerenes) as electrolyte and exhibited it at international nano technology exhibition gnano tech 2004h. This electrolyte membrane has features such as methanol permeation is less than organic polymer membrane, it does not decompose even 100 or higher and it is possible to manufacture with less cost.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun March 18, 2004 )
Proton C60 Power, the research and development company applied for fullerenes, manufactured the proto type DMFC which utilize fullerenes as the electrolyte membrane. Though the methanol cross over can be suppressed and more hydrogen ions transfer compared with fluorocarbon polymers system membrane, the out put power seems to be less compared with DMFC made of fluorocarbon polymers system membrane at current state, because the hydrogen ion generated at electrode does not transfer efficiently to electrolyte membrane. They aim at commercialization by proceeding with improvement to contrive surface structure of electrolyte membrane.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun March 26, 2004 )