THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, SEPTEMBER 2004

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1.Council for Science and Technology Policy, Cabinet Office
2.Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport
3.Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
4.Policy and Activity in Local Government
5.Development and Demonstration Test of SOFC
6.Developments of Fundamental Technologies for PEMFC
7.Demonstration Operation of PEMFC
8.The Front of FCV
9.Developments of Reforming and Hydrogen Production Technologies
10.Development of Hydrogen Storage Technology
11.Trend of Micro FC for Mobile Apparatus
12.Instrument Technologies for FC and Hydrogen
13.New Business Development Related to FC

1.Council for Science and Technology Policy, Cabinet Office
Council for Science and Technology Policy decided to establish a system, gCooperation Policies on Science and Technologyh, to control policies between the Cabinet and the related Ministries, and to improve the priority and to expand a budget frame sharply for competitive research, in order to reform the budget on science and technology in fiscal year 2005. The Council provisionally selected 8 fields such as post genome, ubiquitous network, next generation robot, hydrogen utilization / fuel cell and nano / bio technologies as the objects of the above policies.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun July 26, 2004 ) @
2.Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced their high priority policies on July 30, 2004, taking the first stage budgetary request into account. They decided 8 themes in 4 fields such as livelihood, safety, environment and vitality, and they took up the technical development of FCV in addition to an introduction of standard on mileage for heavy vehicles such as truck and establishment of the model area to promote CNG vehicles, as for the environment.
( The Daily Automotive News July 31, 2004 )@
3.Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
METI reported their policies for the budgetary request and the tax system concerning the vehicles in fiscal year 2005, to Automobile Subcommittee, Economy, Trade and Industry Council, the Liberal Democratic Party, held on July 30, 2004. As for the FCV, they will request the budgets for execution of a large scale demonstration test (3 billion yen in FY 2004), research and development, standardization of evaluation method for performance test (14.9 billion yen in FY 2004), positive introduction of FCV by the Government and reexamination of regulations. ( The Daily Automotive News August 2, 2004 )
METI decided 4 items as high priority policies for the first step budgetary request and reported them to Joint Committee related to Economy, Trade and Industry, the Liberal Democratic Party on August 3, 2004. As for the promotion policies on the energy and environmental among the above 4 items, they intend to combine properly large-scale centralized and dispersed power sources. To be concrete, subjects have been taken up, such as support to introduce stationary fuel cell and reinforcement of cooperation between different types of industries on the basic study of fuel cell, simultaneously with promotion of atomic power as the base power source. ( Denki Shimbun August 4, 2004 )
Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, METI will start the monitor project of 400 units scale per year with top runner method (enterprise proposed the cheapest price) from FY 2005, in order to commercialize 1kW class stationary fuel cell for home use. They intend to reduce the cost to one million yen per one unit by continuing the project for 3 years and increasing the number to 5,000 sets in fiscal year 2007. They will ask for the budget of 2.5 billion yen for this purpose. ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun August 18, 2004 )
Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, METI, intends to establish gResearch Center for Advanced Science on Fuel Cellg (tentative name) in the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and to conduct basic researches to improve the performance by collecting the participants of young researchers all over the nation. And they announced that their budget related to fuel cell in fiscal year 2005 will be 35.46 billion yen as the budgetary request base, including 3.3 billion yen for research and development of SOFC and 1.0 billion yen for investment to the new development company to be established, by participation of major 10 companies on fuel cell, as their share for the first year. ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun August 18, 2004, Nihon Keizai Shimbun August 23, 2004, Sankei Shimbun August 25, 2004 )
METI announced their budgetary policies in fiscal year 2005 on August 26, 2004 that they ask for 178.9 billion yen as the total budget for the promotion of science and technology, about 30% more than that of 2004 and the first step budgetary requests for natural resources and energy. The amount of budgetary request in special account for energy was 1080.3 billion yen, 4.2% less than that of 2004, and the special account for electric power source as a part of the special account for energy was 443.6 billion yen, 11.9 % less than that of 2004. METI took up reinforcement of energy conservation as the first priority , based on the reexamination of the basic policy for the countermeasure to prevent global warming. As for the spread of the new energy, they included 35.5 billion yen for technical development and promotion to put fuel cell on market. ( Denki Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily August 27, 2004 )
4.Policy and Activity in Local Government
(1) Yamaguchi prefecture
Yamaguchi Prefecture will start demonstration test of FC cogeneration system from January 2005, using hydrogen fuel at the complex in Syunan City by supplying by-product high purity hydrogen through pipeline directly from Tokuyama Factory, TOKUYAMA Corporation and Nanyo Factory, Tosoh Corporation, which main products of the both companies are sodium. The construction, newly providing about 100 m pipeline from the existing pipeline, will be completed within 2004, and the verification test will be conducted from the early next year for one year. The budget is 30.0 million yen in the fiscal year 2004, entrusted from Ministry of the Environment and the verification research committee has been established, being consisted of related companies and universities on July 20, 2004. Also, they state clearly to install three 1kW class home use fuel cells and one 5kW class commercial use fuel cell in Regional Revitalization Plan, gNew Town Plan to Prevent Global Warming in Syunan Cityh, authorized by the Government in the middle of June.
( Chugoku Shimbun July 24, 2004 )

(2) Mie Prefecture
Mie Prefecture starts a demonstration test of new power generation system combined solar cell and fuel cell, under cooperation with private companies. The test will be conducted at International Center for Environmental Technology Transfer (ICETT) in Yokkaichi City where has been approved as Special Zone for Structural Reform toward accumulated industrial area. The system is to electrolyze water by electric power generated by solar cell which has been installed in the Center and to store the hydrogen in tank and to generate electric power by 9.9 kW PEFC in case of need. The PEFC is to be manufactured by Hydrogenics Corporation, and Hitachi Zosen Corporation is in charge of hydrogen production facility using electrolysis of water and Mie prefecture subsidizes a half of the expense of 84 million yen.
( Chunichi Shimbun July 24, 2004 ) A project to establish the base of fuel cell development will be started in Mie Prefecture. The verification test by stationary fuel cell is to be decided in August and 6 companies such as Cosmo Oil Co., Ltd., Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K., Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. and Fuji Electric Advanced Technology Co., Ltd are to be selected. Mie prefecture intends to generate a new industry by offering the place for the verification tests and accumulating the development bases. ( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun August 2, 2004 )

(3) Miyagi Prefecture
Promotion Council for Natural Energy and Energy Conservation in Miyagi Prefecture, consultative organ with the Governor of Miyagi Prefecture made open to the public that they intend to make up Basic Plan to promote Natural Energy and Energy Conservation by September 2005. The basic plan contains the targets and the concrete projects toward popularization on the natural energy and the energy conservation such as solar cell, utilization of solar heat, wind power, hydro power and fuel cell in Miyagi Prefecture.
( Nikkan Kensetsu Shimbun August 3, 2004 )

(4) Fukuoka Prefecture
Hydrogen Energy Strategic Committee in Fukuoka (Chairman : Yagi, Vice President of Nippon Steel Corporation) has been established on August 3, 2004, organized by Fukuoka Prefecture and Kyushu University. 144 organizations participated from industries, academies and governments and they will make researches for fuel cell and hydrogen storage technology, utilizing a large quantity of byproduct hydrogen generated when iron ore is refined at iron and steel works and the related companies would come together in the future. It is planned to establish gHydrogen Campush dealing with hydrogen only, at Motooka area from where Kyushu University will move.
( Nishinihon Shimbun August 4, 2004 )

(5) Sizuoka Prefecture
Sizuoka Industrial Research Institute of Sizuoka Prefecture has developed FC plant fueled methane generated from garbage by utilizing microbe. They developed technology to increase microbe density in reactor so far and realized a method to generate methane gas efficiently from small amount of garbage. It seems to take several years more to commercialize.
( Fuji Sankei Business Eye August 23, 2004 ) @
5.Development and Demonstration Test of SOFC
Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. (J Power) will conduct continuous demonstration operation of 25 kW system with internal reforming from April 2005 at their Technology Development Center, toward commercialization of new structure SOFC which the cell structure is simplified and the number of parts are reduced 40%. The cell is supplied by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and J Power will assemble the system. They plan to conduct the demonstration operation of 150-200 kW plant for 10,000 hours from 2006, which is consisted of 25 kW sub module.
J Power has developed tubular cell with horizontal stripes under cooperation with MHI and they have conducted demonstration operation for 7,000 hours by 10 kW scale and also for 755 hours with internal reforming type. And they developed new structure module to reduce cost according to the above fruits. The reformer is an independent cartridge structure and improved the availability for various fuels and the maintainability. 25 kW sub module is consisted of 5 cartridges bound 100 cells and the system is integrated with reformer, to be carried out the demonstration operation. Absorption chiller will be installed as heat utilization and the total thermal efficiency will be realized 70% or higher.
Although town gas is used as fuel for the time being, demonstration test is planned to change fuel at next stage and final target is to realize several 1,000 kW class combined with coal gasification. As cost target, they will attain around 1.5 million yen / kW within several years and finally aim at 200 thousands yen per kW.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun August 19, 2004 )@
6.Developments of Fundamental Technologies for PEMFC
Specially assigned Assistant Professor, Kondo and his group, Tokyo University developed technology to utilize ash of chaff as production material for high strength magnesium alloy. They paid an attention that chaff contains 94-98% silicon dioxide as the result of detail analysis of chaffs obtained in Japan and Thailand. The ash and magnesium are mixed at 1:1 ratio in weight and then heated at 500 for 10 minuets. Magnesium silicide can be obtained as the result. Magnesium alloy can be applied for separator of PEMFC as it is light and has an excellent corrosion resistance.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun August 2, 2004 )
7.Demonstration Operation of PEMFC
(1) NEF (New Energy Foundation)
NEF will start operation of 2 units of 1 kW class, fueled pure hydrogen as field demonstration test of PEMFC, installed at residences in Tokyo and Oita Prefecture at the end of August. This is verification for the concept to install one large reformer at condominium and hydrogen is supplied to each fuel cell installed at homes through pipeline.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun August 19, 2004, The Chemical Daily August 20, 2004 )

(2) SEKISHO
SEKISHO (Simodate City) obtained the first approval for business in special designated area for new energy in Tsukuba City and they will start test operation of PEMFC cogeneration system fueled LPG for home use at the companyfs residence, under development by Nippon Oil Corporation.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun August 27, 2004 )
8.The Front of FCV
(1) Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Honda announced on July 29, 2004 that they received approvals from US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and CARB (California Air Resources Board), to sell FCV, gFCXh installed their own FC stack. The stack made by Honda is adopted metal pressed separator and aromatic electrolyte membrane. And it is simple structure and the number of parts are a half in comparison with conventional and the output density is improved to 2 times or more by down sizing. The possible power generation range is from -20 to 95.
( Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Sankei Shiombun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun July 30, 2004 )
Honda announced on August 24, 2004 that they have developed hybrid bicycle provided with motor, FC bicycle, electric motor bicycle as environmentally friendly bicycles, which are near level to commercial products. FC bicycle is provided with their FC system. FC stack is arranged at center of the body and auxiliary equipments are arranged at periphery. The same body size has been realized as the same class engine commuter.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Fuji Sankei Business Eye August 25, 2004 )

(2) Iwatani International Corporation
Iwatani International Corporation will challenge the driving demonstration test of 550 km, between Tokyo and Osaka, by using 2 FCV, FCHV made by Toyota and FCX made by Honda to be leased from Iwatani. They are to be driven 550 km starting from Hydrogen Station at Ariake, Tokyo to the site of low emission vehicle fair to be held on August 18 in Osaka City, and hydrogen is charged on the way at service area of high way by using transportable hydrogen station and special carrier car exclusively used for FCV developed by Iwatani.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun July 30, 2004 )

(3) Tamagawa University
A demonstration drive of hybrid solar car gApollondeanh, furnished both solar cell developed by the Research Institute, Tamagawa University and FC, has been carried out at the station square of JR Shinjo Station on August 4, 2004. This can be driven even in bad weather or at night and succeeded about 4,000 km driving across the Australia Continent in 9 days on December 2003.
( Kahoku Shimbun August 5, 2004 )

(4) Suzuki Motor Corporation and General Motors Corporation
Suzuki Motor Corporation and GM announced on August 5, 2004 that they obtained the permission for 700 atm hydrogen gas storage system for FCV jointly developed by Suzuki and GM, from The High Pressure Gas Safety Institute of Japan. The demonstration test on a public road will be started within 2004. This 700 atm hydrogen gas storage system has been developed by Quantum Technologies in the USA and Sumitomo Corporation delivered this to Suzuki.
( Asahi Shimbun, Mainich Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Fuji Sankei Business Eye August 6, 2004 ) @
9.Developments of Reforming and Hydrogen Production Technologies
(1) Kyoto University
Research group of Professor Eguchi, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University developed a high performance catalyst made of copper, manganese and alumina to produce hydrogen from DME. 100% conversion rate has been realized at 380 , 100 lower than the existing copper-zinc –aluminum catalyst, due to the increased catalyst activity at the low temperature because the copper is uniformly and highly dispersed by forming the spinel structure using citric acid complex method. The produced catalyst generates hydrogen by partial oxidation of DME by the catalytic reaction of copper and alumina. As the catalyst can be used at low temperature environment, improvement of catalyst life would be expected. This group are going to proceed with the development of catalyst which has higher catalyst activity at lower temperature than this time in the future and also going to tackle with a development of catalyst which DME can be directly used as a fuel for FC.
( The Chemical Daily July 26, 2004 )

(2) Babcock Hitachi K.K.
Babcock Hitachi K.K. will develop the market for the hydrogen station for FCV and PEMFC in addition to the onsite hydrogen production unit for industrial use. They have been now in charge of hydrogen production part for home use PEMFC in NEDO project. They have been adopting auto-thermal reforming and developing the high performance catalysts applied to DSS (Daily Start and Stop) operation such as CO shift catalyst (platinum) and CO selective oxidation catalyst (ruthenium) in addition to combustion catalyst (honeycomb-palladium).
( The Chemical Daily August 5, 2004 )

(3) Japan Nuclear-Cycle-Development Institute
Japan Nuclear-Cycle-Development Institute developed the hydrogen production process called gHybrid Thermo-Chemical Processh, being combined thermo chemical process and electrolysis, and succeeded to produce hydrogen efficiently at low temperature of 500-550, by achieving simple configuration of the unit and at the same time low temperature process for the whole production process. Accordingly this success leads to hydrogen production, not only by high temperature gas reactor but also by existing FBR such as gMonjuh and gJoyoh.
( Atomic Journal August 19, 2004 )

(4) Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute
Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute announced on August 26, 2004 that they succeeded an automatic operation of the hydrogen production unit from water using thermo chemical process. This is the method to use heat of electric heater and they succeeded the continuous operation for one week by making it automatic. And it would result in commercialization in the future by fabricating the large prototype unit. To be concrete, hydrogen is extracted with 3 stage chemical reaction, putting iodine and sulfur dioxide into water. Although the fundamental technology has been developed on August 2003, the longest continuous operation has been limited to 20 hours because manual control of supply velocity for feedstock has been required. The research team built in the unit which measures the composition of the feedstock with supersonic and developed the computer system to deal with the measured data and succeeded to control the supply velocity of the feedstock automatically. 30 L/h hydrogen was produced by the experiment.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun August 27, 2004 )

(5) Nippon Denko Co., Ltd.
Nippon Denko Co., Ltd. received orders of pure water production units for hydrogen station for FCV and stationary type FC to be installed at store or home. It has been developed by applying the technologies for industrial use pure water production unit and purification unit for pool or well water. And they will open up the new market, based on the received order.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun August 27, 2004 ) @
10.Development of Hydrogen Storage Technology
(1) Hiroshima University
Specially assigned Professor Fujii and his group, Natural Science Center for Basic Research and Development, Hiroshima University developed a large capacity hydrogen storage material which can be installed on FCV. It is a particulate material, synthesized lithium hydride and magnesium amide at rate of 8 to 3 and the hydrogen storage capacity is 7 wt %. It can occlude and release hydrogen at higher pressure than 1 atm even at 150 .
( Chugoku Shimbun July 28, 2004 )

(2) Kyushu University, et al
Professor Sugimura, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyushu University, starts a development of hydrogen station which can generate high pressure hydrogen of 40 MPa utilizing a high pressure hydrogen energy generator (HHEG) of Mitsubishi Corporation, under cooperation with Kyushu Electric Power Co. Inc., Mitsubishi Corporation and KYUKI CORPORATION (Fukuoka City). The demonstration test will start from May by installing the station at new campus of Kyushu University within 2005. Although HHEG, supplying pure water to polymer membrane and energizing it under high pressure, can generate high pressure hydrogen and oxygen by theory of electrolysis and the tank pressure is kept constant by using magnetic position sensor in order to prevent high differential pressure applied to the membrane. It is stated that purity of hydrogen and efficiency are high and power consumption will be less than a half.
( Nikkan Kogyo, Nishi Nippon Shimbun August 3, 2004 )

(3) Nagasaki Institute of Applied Science
Nagasaki Institute of Applied Science developed a nano-technology material having special structure, a new nano-carbon material. Professor Fujii of the Institute said that though the object is to apply it to lithium ion battery, the material can be utilized for hydrogen storage. Comparing to nano-carbon made of only carbon, the material is chemically more stable.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun August 16, 2004 )
11.Trend of Micro FC for Mobile Apparatus
(1) IEC/TC
WG10 to deal with interchangeability regarding to the micro FC will be newly organized in IEC/TC105, based on the proposal from Japan, and the standard guide line for specification of FC and fuel cartridge, etc. will be established by 2007. Mr. Fumio Ueno, Toshiba Corporation will be assigned to the international chairman of the said WG.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily August 3, 2004 )

(2) ALPS ELECTRIC CO., LTD.
ALPS ELECTRIC developed micro pumps for such applications as recirculation of water solution or make up of methanol in mobile FC. Several types of pumps have been developed and the minimum size product is 4 mm in diameter and 1 cm in length and it is based on a principle to suck liquid by magnetic force generated when to supply electric current. Also they developed sensors to control fuel flow and methanol concentration of solution, to optimize power generation conditions.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun August 14, 2004 )
12.Instrument Technologies for FC and Hydrogen
(1) Tohoku University
Professor Yamanaka et al, Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University, jointly with TOPPAN Printing Co., Ltd., Yamatake Corporation and Ball Semiconductor Inc. USA, developed high performance spherical hydrogen sensor which utilize surface acoustic wave (SAW). It can measure a wide range of hydrogen concentration from 10 ppm to 100 %. Proto type sensor is 1 mm crystal ball in diameter and the surface is coated by a thin palladium alloy film by using evaporation deposition, to adsorb hydrogen selectively. The research group discovered a phenomenon that SAW circulates only on the equator of crystal ball and not deviates. Applying this theory, high sensibility can be realized successfully by amplifying and detecting the change of SAW when palladium alloy thin film adsorbs the hydrogen.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun August 6, 2004 )

(2) Okazaki Manufacturing Company
Okazaki developed temperature sensor for FC, applying sheathed thermo couple. The developed sensors are thermo couples with sheath which outside diameter are 1.6 mm and 3.2 mm. And in case of multi-purpose type, nickel/chromium alloy is applied for positive element and nickel/aluminum alloy for negative element and the sheath material is Inconel. For the high performance type, ultra long life is realized by applying copper/nickel alloy for negative material and high hydrogen resistant material for sheath. The stable measurement is possible, even at high operating temperature of 1,000 for SOFC. They intend to invest 100 million yen to their Fukuoka factory so that they construct the exclusive production line having a capacity of annually 100,000 pieces.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun August 17, 2004 )
13.New Business Development Related to FC
(1) Energy
4 LPG retailers, Ichitaka Co., Ltd. (Sapporo City), Mitsuuroko Co., Ltd. (Tokyo), KAMATA Co., Ltd. (Tokyo) and SANWA Co., Ltd. (Maebashi City), announced on August 4, 2004 that they jointly established a new firm, gEnergyh (Tokyo) who will conduct design, sales and research and development of LPG co-generation system. The capital is 50 million yen. They will install LPG fueled 4 kW PEMFC fabricated by Plug Power Inc. in USA at house exhibition center in Tsukuba City and they will start demonstration test, being opened to the public, for one year from the end of August 2004.
( Denki Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Hokkaido Shimbun, August 5, 2004 )

(2) Shizuoka Resources Association and Shizuoka Gas Co., Ltd.
Shizuoka Resources Association and Shizuoka Gas Co., Ltd. announced a plan to install FC power generation system at school lunch center in Shizuoka City in 2005, using mixed fuel of natural gas and bio gas generated from garbage, and to start the demonstration test from 2006. Garbage from the center, 300 kg per day, will be treated by small size methane fermentation reactor.
( Shizuoka Shimbun August 17, 2004 )