(1) Council for Science and Technology Policy, Cabinet Office
Council for Science and Technology Policy, Cabinet Office made a policy to take up fuel cell as a new theme of gAllied Project between Ministries and the Governmenth, tackling with the research and the development on nano-technology under an alliance between ministries and agencies. The electrode using carbon nano-tube has drawn an attention.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 17, 2004 )
Council for Science and Technology Policy, Cabinet Office decided a policy on May 26, 2004, to assign resources of budget and manpower on science and technology in fiscal year 2005. As for the energy field, they put the priority on viewpoint for energy security and prevention of global warming and researches and developments such as nuclear cycle, hydrogen utilization, fuel cell, biomass utilization and fusion will be promoted with high priority in order to make the energy system at high level.
( Denki Shimbun May 27, 2004 )
(2) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
A full view of the Creative Strategy for New Industries has been open, which will be reported to the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy by Shoichi Nakagawa, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry. As for seven fields such as fuel cell, information appliance and robot, METI intends to raise the market scale from current more than 200 trillions yen to 300 trillions yen in 2010, by full scale governmental supports using every possible political measure. Fuel cell will be enlarged the market from current nearly zero to one trillion yen in 2010.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 17, 2004, Mainichi Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 18, 2004 )
(3) NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization)
NEDO made a technical development scheme toward commercialization of fuel cell after fiscal year 2005 through the establishment of gCommittee for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologiesh because the development subjects for fuel cell will be almost completed within fiscal year 2004, although the budget is 32.9 billions yen in 2004. NEDO aims to make the technology map to be recognized commonly by NEDO, industry and university, and to own the same recognition for technical level among them, so that enterprises can continue the technical developments without shortness of breath.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 18, 2004 )
2.Policy and Activity in Local Government and Public Body
(1) Akita Prefecture
Akita Prefecture will conduct the feasibility study of possible market for new energies in fiscal year 2004, such as wind power, solar cell, biomass and fuel cell, in order to utilize new energies positively. They verify the way how to introduce the new energies as the best mix, the economy and introduction effect by applying the plural new energies to commercial, agricultural and public facilities.
( Nikkan Kensetsu Kogyo Shimbun May 7, 2004 )
(2) Technology Research Institute of Osaka Prefecture (TRI-Osaka)
Technology Research Institute of Osaka Prefecture will start fuel cell related development project. TRI-Osaka intends to carry out the survey aiming at technology transfer, support and advice for small or middle class enterprises so that they can enter into the FC business. Research themes are gMicro Fuel Cell for PDAh as power sources not only for personal computers and portable telephones but also for robots and gSupport Study to Develop Parts on Fuel Cell System, aiming at the concrete technologies transfer developed by TRI to enterprises in 2005. TRI-Osaka has gDevelopment Support Center for Micro Devicesh, trial manufacturing and evaluating semiconductor. The TRI has a wide range technologies such as thin membrane, catalyst, plating and fine processing of silicon material.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 10, 2004 )
3.Market Development of PAFC
Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. announced on May 17, 2004 that they started development of a fuel cell cogeneration system equipped with hydrogen supply system for FCV. The system produces high purity hydrogen by supplying a part of hydrogen produced at FC to the refining equipment. 100W PAFC made by Fuji Electric Co., Ltd. is used as fuel cell. They told that efficient operation and early recovery of investment can be expected because the system is operated as the cogeneration system when to supply no hydrogen. It is expected that the system is installed at the existing facilities such as gasoline station, bus garage, waste storage yard and high way service area.
( Denki Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 18, 2004, The Chemical Daily May 19, 2004 )
4.Commercialization of MCFC
FCE (FuelCell Energy Inc.) and IHI (Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.), only the two companies are in commercialization stage of MCFC in the world.
Marubeni Corporation who has concluded sales agreement with FCE, has delivered 5 units of 250 kW MCFC so far, fabricated by FCE. The first unit has been delivered to Toride Factory of Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd. and the second to Hukuoka City, fueled anaerobic digester gas produced during swage treatment. And another two have been delivered to Seiko Epson Corporation, which were advanced type for natural gas fuel. Further, two units using anaerobic digester gas produced from food wastes will be introduced in Tokyo and Kyoto Prefecture. FCE has delivered another 16 units in the USA and MTU, subsidiary of Daimler Chrysler in Germany, has delivered 8 units. FCE has commercialized 1000 kW and 2000 kW based on the 250 kW and the first 1000 kW has been constructed in swage treatment center in Washington State and will be operated in May. And the 2000 kW plant is under construction, combined with coal gasification. Marubeni will put these 1000 and 2000 kW plants on market and made a policy to shift the business to a new subsidiary, making use of merits such as high power generation efficiency of 47 % even in case of anaerobic digester gas and low stack replacement cost of 1/2 ∼ 1/3 in comparison with PAFC.
On the other hand, IHI has manufactured two 300 kW MCFC, to be introduced by Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. and Toyota Motor Corporation into Aichi International Exposition, and been conducting the demonstration operation. Chubu uses anaerobic digester gas produced from garbage using low temperature methane fermentation reactor and Toyota uses fuel being gasified wooden waste and waste plastics and adopts combined cycle with micro gas turbine. IHI intends to enter the commercialization stage in case the demonstration operation in Aichi International Exposition will be successful.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 3, 2004 )
5.Research and Development of SOFC
(1) CRIEPI (Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry)
CRIEPI announced that they obtained a prospect to develop all ceramics SOFC without using metal parts even for connection. They improved the durability which they extended the continuous operation up to 2000 h under operating temperature of 1000 and realized the output density of 1
W/cm2. Degradation used to be occurred by chemical reaction in case of connection between two ceramics and cracks would be generated by the difference of thermal expansion in case to connect different kind materials including metal, which results in leakage of hydrogen or air. They made water solution like mud by adding inorganic oxide material such as calcium oxide and they made uniform membrane of 10 Ęm thickness on the electrode surface to suppress chemical reaction and then they connected power generation parts each other. They have improved the durability by resolving conventional problems by the above procedure. They are expecting the application to PEMFC including home use or automobile.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun April 26, 2004 )
(2) Kyocera Corporation
Kyocera intends to complete 1 kW class home use SOFC system with net efficiency of 40 % (HHV) by October 2004 and start long time durability test and launch monitor sales of pre-commercial unit in 2005 under cooperation with energy company. Although they have started a commercial use SOFC of 5 kW to be commercialized in 2007 under cooperation with Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., they will set up system of home use SOFC to be commercialized at the target price of 1.2 million yen/kW for the time being and conduct durability test. And then, they will realize the cost reduction down to 600,000 yen/kW. They will evaluate the load following speed without reduction in power generation efficiency, partial load efficiency, necessary procedure for start and stop of the plant and the operation cost of the system. Further, they have verified power generation efficiency of 50.3 % (HHV) and 54 % (LHV) as the cell performance under operating temperature of 780 .
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 11, 2004 )
(3) Toho Gas Co., Ltd.
Toho Gas intends to start mass production of SOFC single cell jointly developed with Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd. within 2004. They have resolved the problem of the fragility and improved the power generation performance and the durability by adopting scandium oxide stabilized zirconium oxide as the electrolyte material which has both high tenacity and electrical conductivity. This type of FC has a feature to be able to conduct mass production at low cost because the FC does not use platinum. The production cost is cheap because the electrolyte production process is to mix binder with powder material and cast the sheet and then sinter it which is the same as general ceramics sintering process. Toho Gas is in charge of material development and Nippon Shokubai submits know how on mass production. And they cooperate to manufacture and sell the SOFC.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 11, 2004 )
6.Development of Elemental Technologies for PEMFC
Professor Kijima et al., Department of Engineering, Miyazaki University developed the technology to make a nano-tube of 10nm or less in the outside diameter by using metal or phenol resin. It is expected that the performance of FC could be improved by applying the nano-tube for the electrode or the electrolyte of PEMFC. The feature is to utilize a surface active agent. The platinum nano-tube of 6nm in outside diameter, 3nm in inside diameter and several 10 – 100 nm in length, has been obtained by adding two kinds of surface active agents to the solution of the chloride platinic acid and making it into the liquid crystal state and then reducing it.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 3, 2004 )
7.Demonstration Test of Stationary PEMFC System and the Production of the Pre-commercial Unit
(1) Ebara Corporation
Ebara Corporation announced on May 23, 2004 that they have developed the pre-commercial unit aimed at mass production of 1 kW PEMFC cogeneration system for home use. They announced that heat recovery efficiency is 58% and the net power generation efficiency is 35 % (LHV). Especially, the power generation efficiency at low load has been improved, considering the conditions in the home use (33% at 50% load). They aim at commercialization within 2004 by improving the cost and the durability through the demonstration test. 17 units in total have been delivered so far, including five to NEF.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun April 24, 2004, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily April 26, 2004, Denki Shimbun April 27, 2004 )
(2) Nippon Oil Corporation and Ebara Ballard
Nippon Oil Corporation announced on April 27, 2004 that they started demonstration test of 1kW PEMFC system for home use reforming kerosene, jointly developed with the Ebara Ballard at their Yokohama Oil Refinery. They intend to commercialize the unit within fiscal year 2006 through the demonstration operation to be conducted for one year. The system has been integrated the de-sulfurization catalyst and the kerosene reforming technology owned by Nippon Oil Corporation and the PEMFC system technology owned by Ebara Ballard and production technology owned by Ebara Corporation. It resulted in the compact size of 270 L and the net power generation efficiency of 33%(LHV). And they could obtain a prospect for target efficiency of 36%(LHV).
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Fuji Sankei Business Eye April 28, 2004 )
(3) Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.
Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. announced on May 7, 2004 that they intend to develop PEMFC system smaller than 10 kW at rated and put it on market as full scale by arranging their production system by fiscal year 2008. They would be sold to ordinary families, convenience stores and restaurants. And they have studied, in addition, development of FC as the power source for the notebook type personal computer. They want to commercialize a product of 750 W system with the power generation efficiency of 35% and the life of several thousands hours at several million yen at the first stage. They assume that the price would be reduced to 450,000 yen, the power generation efficiency would be improved to 38% or higher and the life would be extended to 40,000 hours in fiscal year 2010.
( Mainichi Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 10, 2004, Denki Shimbun May 11, 2004 )
(4) DESS Consortium (Decentralized Energy System & Software)
The DESS Consortium which The Japan Research Institute, Ltd. has started under cooperation of 33 companies such as Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd., Ebara Corporation and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., plans to launch the project aiming at network business for home use FC. They will establish their patent pool system consisted of more than 100 patents mainly control technologies which can be used freely among the members, and start the verification and the marketing research of the control technology in 2005, based on the case several tens of FC would be installed in an apartment house or others. And the business model will be materialized toward the spread of the system. This consortium aims at the development of the distributed system by combining FC of output 1KW class, which does not rely on the grid and has the plan to construct the model in fiscal year 2004.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 10, 2004 )
(5) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. opened the model house installed 1kW PEMFC to the public at Minami-Senju Techno Station on May 10, 2004. It is used for their sales activity to house makers.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 11, 2004 )
(6) ITOCHU Corporation and Hitachi Zosen Corporation, etc.
ITOCHU Corporation, Hitachi Zosen Corporation and Hydrogenics Corporation in Canada will conduct a demonstration test of combined system which PEMFC is operated supplying hydrogen generated by water electrolysis using solar cell at Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture from July, 2004. The experiment uses the solar cell installed at communal facilities in Yokkaichi. And PEMFC is called "HyPM10" of the 10kW output made by the Hydrogenics Corporation, and this company will make one engineer stay permanently at the site. Yokkaichi City gives the subsidy for plural years as the project for special designated area for industrial revolution through special deregulation.
( Denki Shimbun May 18,2004, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 21, 2004 )
8.Construction of Hydrogen Station for FCV
(1) Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd.
gJHFC Hadano Hydrogen Stationh of which the feedstock is kerosene on market has completed and started the demonstration operation by Idemitsu Kosan. The supply capacity is 50
Nm3/h, the hydrogen gas storage pressure is 40 MPa, the purity is higher than 99.99%, and it can be charged at 25/35 MPa using dispenser.
( The Chemical Daily May 7,2004, Yomiuri Shimbun May 9, 2004 )
(2) Kobelco Eco Solution Co., Ltd.
Kobelco Eco Solution Co., Ltd. will open up new market for hydrogen production unit with water electrolysis used solid polymer membrane. The product is gHigh Purity Hydrogen and Oxygen Gas Production Unit by water electrolysis (HHOG), having a function to supply high purity gas and it has been delivered through SHOWA DENKO K.K. for the hydrogen station recently installed in the area of the works of YAKUSHIMA DENKO Co., Ltd. by the research group of Kagoshima University and others. Hydrogen production capacity is 1.25
m3/h and they aim at demands for research and development, on which hydrogen is produced with renewable energy such as solar cell or wind power generation.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 11, 2004, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 14, 2004, Fuji Sankei Business Eye May 15, 2004 )
(3) Kurita Water Industries Ltd. and others
gJHFC Sagamihara Hydrogen Stationh which have been jointly constructed by Kurita Water Industries Ltd., SINANEN Co., Ltd. and ITOCHU ENEX Co., Ltd., has been completed and opened it on May. 26, 2004. It is a transportable type loading alkaline water electrolysis unit, rectifier and compressor etc. on 25 tons truck and hydrogen gas can be produced with city water and electric power and supplied by driving around the each hydrogen station. These 3 companies intend to supply hydrogen over the country, utilizing the merits such as space saving of installation area and cost saving for initial investment.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 27, 2004, The Chemical Daily May 28, 2004 )
9.Development for Hydrogen Production and Reforming Technologies and the Business Evolution
(1) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
Osaka Gas announced that they have developed LPG reforming unit for 1 kW home use PEMFC and will sell it as sample to FC makers. The price is 4 million yen and they have received inquiries already from more than 10 companies. Two technologies such as gsuper high level desulfurization technologyh removing sulfur completely which could not be removed to date and ghigh performance reforming catalysth for naphtha are adopted for LPG reforming and they realized the unit to prevent catalyst decay due to sulfur and extended the life as the result. They succeeded to apply LPG for PEMFC as the same as natural gas by establishing the start and stop procedure. And as it can be fabricated with the same specification as reforming unit for natural gas, cost down due to mass production of reforming unit becomes possible. They expect that the production cost will become 50-60 thousands yen when the production scale becomes 100 thousands units per year at the commercial stage.
( Denki Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Fuji Sankei Business Eye May 13, 2004 )
(2) The Japan Gas Association
The Japan Gas Association announced that they developed the system which can produce high purity hydrogen efficiently by hydrogen separation type reforming process using thin membrane of palladium alloy. It is down sized to 1/3 in comparison with PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorber), which volume is
21.5m3 and the hydrogen generation capacity is 40 m3/h. The initial performance confirmed by operation test showed 72 % production efficiency and the hydrogen purity higher than 99.999 %.
( Denki Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 14, 2004, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 24, 2004 )
(3) Kyoto University
Research group of Professor Eguchi and Assistant Professor Kikuchi, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University have developed hexa-aluminate catalyst which can produce hydrogen not only from methane but also from a wide range of hydrocarbon as propane. It is a layered hexa-aluminate compound which shows high thermal stability and made as catalyst by substituting a part of the aluminum in crystal for Ni. It can be used for partial oxidation reaction of various hydrocarbons, as anti coking property for carbon deposition is improved by dispersing Ni of active metal uniformly and densely with reversed phase micro emulsion method.
( The Chemical Daily May 24, 2004 )
10.Development of Hydrogen Storage Technology
Special Researcher Matsuura, Senior Researcher Tanigawa and Deputy Director Kokaji, Intelligent Systems Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) have developed a fundamental technology to produce hydrogen storage polymer from alcohol.
The technology is to pour liquid alcohol on the anode surface and to irradiate electron beams to the anode from the needle tip of the cathode located at the other side of the anode and then polymer including hydrogen ion is produced and formed on the cathode, with rising flow generated from the liquid surface of alcohol by cracking the chains of both carbon and hydrogen atoms. It is reported that approximately 20Ęm in width, 50Ęm in length, 10Ęm in thickness polymer was formed on the cathode in a few seconds when 800 eV electron beams were irradiated in the atmosphere of 26, 50% relative humidity using butanol as alcohol. As the results of analysis for the polymer by using infrared rays, they found that the polymer is consisted of entirely different chemical structure by being cracked the chain of the butanol molecules and re-connected irregularly.
Hydrogen can be preserved in the ionized state and also taken out easily only by electrical stimulus given to the polymer. The experiment showed that hydrogen could be taken out only by giving around 6V, 50Hz electric stimulus to the polymer. The technology is expected to be applied to the hydrogen storage not only for FCV but also FC for mobile equipments as the ion consisting the polymer does not have little risk of ignition.
These results will be reported in gJournal of Physical Chemistryh on April 29, 2004.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun April 28, 2004 )
11.Deployment of Hydrogen Related Business
(1) Tokyo Gas Chemical Co., Ltd. and SHOWA DENKO K.K.
Tokyo Gas Chemical and SHOWA DENKO agreed to establish a new company gTG SHOWA Co., Ltd.h to unitize the industrial gas businesses such as mainly oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen gas, and will start the business from July 2004. In the hydrogen gas business, they can establish good filling-up relation in hydrogen energy field, by combining SHOWA DENKO who has the top share in hydrogen business and Tokyo Gas Chemical who has LNG reforming and the hydrogen gas on site supply technologies.
( Denpa Shimbun April 29, 2004 )
(2) Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI)
JARI has completed g Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Vehicle Safety Evaluation Facilityh at Johoku-Cho, Ibaragi Prefecture, in which the indoor safety test for high pressure hydrogen tank up to 700 bar can be carried out, and exhibited on May 11, 2004. The forefront facility is explosion proof and fire test dome which is constructed by 1.2 m thickness reinforced concrete lined with steel plate inside. Through NEDO, 1.7 billion yen have been invested.
( Nikkei Sangyo, Nikkan Kogyo, The Daily Automotive News May 12, 2004 )
(3) KAJI TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION
Although KAJI TECH. has already developed high pressure hydrogen compressor which can compress hydrogen up to 95 MPa, they realized a compressor for the maximum pressure of 110 MPa by adding one more compression stage to the existing 4 stages compressor. Hydrogen is not contaminated during the compression because the structure is air cooled type and not contacting with lubricating oil. The hydrogen compressing capacity is 200
m3/h. The capability is enough to charge 70 MPa hydrogen to FCV at hydrogen station. It has been installed at the gSafety Evaluation Facility for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Vehicleh of JARI.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 13, 2004, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 21, 2004 )
(4) Toyota Tsusho Corporation and Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
Toyota Tsusho and Tokyo Gas have concluded a business agreement in hydrogen supply business. Toyota Tsusho utilizing electricity from wind power and Tokyo Gas utilizing town gas, produce hydrogen and supply it to the market such as general domestic use or hydrogen station and also sell the hydrogen as the industrial raw material. They are planning to start the business at 3 locations, in Aomori Prefecture and Kanto region, in 2004.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 24, 2004 )
12.Development of Micro FC (MFC) and DMFC
(1) CASIO Computer Co., Ltd.
CASIO developed methanol reforming type PEMFC device for note type PC. This is the joint development with Professor Igarashi, KOGAKUIN UNIVERSITY. The main cell body is nearly the same size as existing ordinary lithium ion battery but it has 4 times in capacity and the reformer is a coin size of 500 yen and the total size is about 20 cm in length and several cm in width and depth. In case of ordinary PC, it can operate the PC for from 8 to 10 hours without recharging. Although the issue was high temperature caused by incorporating the reformer, it has been solved by some devices for casing and others. They intend to market it in 2007.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 10, 2004 )
(2) Hitachi Cable, Ltd.
Hitachi Cable has developed a thin titanium separator material to be used for micro DMFC for portable apparatus, which can reduce the size to a half and the cost sharply. They manufactured a visiting card size DMFC for trial, utilizing this separator and succeeded to operate 20 W note type PC. Titanium is strong for corrosion and easy for processing in comparison with graphite. It can be reduced the cost to 1/50 or 1/100 when mass produced.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 18, 2004, Denki Shimbun May 21, 2004 )
13.Business for FC Related Instruments
(1) Technosystem Co., Ltd.
Technosystem (Takatsuki City, Osaka Prefecture) put gMeasuring Unit for Hydrogen Adsorption Capacityh into the market, which can measure hydrogen adsorption capacity with high accuracy at elevated temperature higher than 400. The technology has been developed under cooperation with Professor Yamada, Institute of Nature and Environmental Technology, Kanazawa University. And the principle is to set the vessel suspended by magnet and to measure by setting the discharge pressure, therefore, it does not affect to measured results even in case of small leakage. Hydrogen adsorption and desorption capacity are displayed on PC. The pressure ranges are 0 ~ 2 MPa (automatic setting) and 2 ~ 3.5 MPa (manual setting) and the measured reading limit is 0.1 mg and it can be measured up to 10 g. The size is 900 mm in height, 300 in width and 470 mm in depth, and the weight is 50 kg. The price is 4.5 million yen and the sales target is 10 units per year.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 18, 2004 )
(2) Chemix Co., Ltd.
Chemix (Sagamihara City) developed simplified test kit which can measure electric characteristics of PEMFC within about 40 minutes. The procedure is to test the performance by inserting electrolyte membrane and one test can be completed within about 40 minutes as required times for the assembling and disassembling are less than 5 minutes respectively by simplifying the assembling procedure and for evaluation of the basic performance is around 30 minutes.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 24, 2004 )