THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN,JANUARY 2005

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1.Governmental Policy and Activity
2.Policy and Activity in Local Government
3.Research and Development of MCFC System
4.Research and Development for SOFC and the Companyfs Activity
5.Development of PEMFC for Home Use and the Business Deployment
6.Development of Reforming and Hydrogen Production Technologies
7.The Front of FCV
8.Development of Micro FC
9.FC and Hydrogen Related Instruments
10.New Application of FC System

1.Governmental Policy and Activity
(1) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
According to the outline of preliminary budget for METI in fiscal year 2005, their preliminary budget in total is 1.83 trillion yen including general and special accounts and the total amount is 107.7 billion yen (-5.6%) smaller than that in fiscal year 2004. As for the contents, the budget are given priority to the projects which the main pole is gStrategy To Create New Industries (Toward a Sustainable and Competitive Industrial Structure)h such as fuel cell, robot and nano-technology. Concerning to the fuel cells, 5.5 billion yen are newly assigned to the developments to commercialize PEMFC for automobile and domestic and commercial use.
( Denpa Shimbun December 22, 2004 )

(2) NEDO
NEDO decided the research subjects and the contractors to be entrusted on gResearch and Development for Advanced Basic Technologiesg. The projects are to conduct the basic researches and developments to commercialize PEMFC and 25 subjects have been selected and entrusted to the universities. 19 universities were entrusted, such as Osaka University, The University of Kitakyushu, Kyoto University, Kobe University, Shinshu University and Gunma University, etc. The subjects are related to the basic technologies such as electrolyte membrane and improvement for high performance catalyst.
( The Chemical Daily December 8, 2004, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 9, 2004 )
2.Policy and Activity in Local Government
(1) Yamaguchi Prefecture
gVerification Tests of FC fueled By-Product Hydrogen in Sodium Industryh started in Tokuyama Factory, TOKUYAMA Corporation on December 22, 2004, as allied project between Industry, Government and University in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Yamaguchi Prefecture intends to extend the tests at model houses around the factory depending on the examination of the test results.
( Sankei Shimbun December 23, 2004 )

(2) Mie Prefecture
Mie Prefecture will extend the verification tests of FC. In addition to 2 subjects being continued from fiscal year 2003, they selected 6 subjects as subsidy projects in fiscal year 2004. And ten companies or more will conduct demonstration tests in 2005 in Yokkaichi City and Suzuka City where have been authorized as Special Designated Areas for Structural Reform. The Prefecture intends to establish an intensive industrial area for FC business through the demonstration tests and researches under cooperation with enterprises. These companies are GS Yuasa Corporation (Kyoto City) conducting the verification tests in a farmer, Cosmo Oil Co., Ltd. operating the PEMFC fueled LPG, Fuji Electric Advanced Technology Co., Ltd. (two subjects), Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. and Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd., and the total budget for six subjects are about 260 million yen and the Prefecture subsidizes a half of the expenses. Mie Prefectural Science and Technology Promotion Center and Mie University participate in the project, too.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun December 24, 2004 )
Mie Prefecture newly received proposals both from Kurita Water Industries, Ltd. and Sharp Corporation about the verification test projects for FC being promoted as subsidy projects. Kurita Water Industries, Ltd has proposed the verification test of PEMFC cogeneration system using hydrogen gas separation membrane, and Sharp Corporation has proposed verification of the hybrid system with solar cell.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 24, 2004 )
3.Research and Development of MCFC System
(1) Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry and Okadora Co., Ltd.
Waste Gasification System (Carbonizer and Slagging Gasifier) has been operated smoothly, which has been proceeded with as joint-development by Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI) and Okadora Co., Ltd. (Yokohama City), waste treatment plant maker, and the system will be commercialized in the middle of 2005. Okadora Co., Ltd. has a plan to arrange a lineup of the gasification system and to sell them to Local Governments first. On the hand, CRIEPI intends to develop the dispersed power generation system by combining with MCFC from 2005.
( Denki Shimbun December 6, 2004 )

(2) Marubeni Corporation
Marubeni Corporation made a contract with POSCO, major steel company in Korea, to supply three 250kW MCFC made by FCE. The price per unit is about 150 million yen. Both companies intend to jointly develop the MCFC with Asian specification, utilizing this opportunity and to strengthen the relationship toward expansion of environmental business in Japan and Korea. Further, Marubeni Corporation concluded an business agreement with FCE in 2001 and got the sales right in Asia for the MCFC, and delivered 5 units in Japan. And Marubeni Corporation concluded an agreement with Kawasaki Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. in September 2004 and started to develop the original FC under technical support by FCE, and has a plan to sell the MCFC at a half price of present within three years and intends to make a real spread into Asian nations.
( Sankei Shimbun December 20, 2004 ) @
4.Research and Development for SOFC and the Companyfs Activity
(1) Seimi Chemical Co., Ltd.
Seimi Chemical (Kanagawa Prefecture) intends to raise new businesses positively, succeeding to positive electrode material for lithium ion battery, and they will expand their supply capacity for SOFC materials responding to the development stage of customers, because they have got high reputation for their high quality SOFC materials using their own technology. They can supply any oxide compounds for SOFC such as electrolyte, cathode, anode and interconnector. Their citric acid process has features which are uniform in quality and the exhaust water treatment is not necessary. They will introduce the facility with 10 – 15 T/D in 2005 and support the commercialization of SOFC, although the trial production facility with 2 ton per month has been working.
( The Chemical Daily December 15, 2004 )

(2) Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd.
Nippon Shokubai will expand their production capacity for ceramics sheets 10 times, to be used for electrolyte of SOFC. It is processed zirconia powder into sheet, by applying their powder processing technologies accumulated in catalyst field. They will newly install the demonstration test facility in Himeji Works, which can produce 1 million sheets per year and start the facility from June 2005. The investment cost would be 1 billion yen or less. They judged that SOFC system for domestic use will be a practical stage and the demands both from domestic and foreign makers will expand. On the other hand, Nippon Shokubai has concluded an agreement with Sulzer Hexis in Switzerland and supplied the sheet to Sulzer since 2,000 and they have been also under cooperative development with Sumitomo Precision Products Co., Ltd. in Japan.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun December 22, 2004 )
5.Development of PEMFC for Home Use and the Business Deployment
(1) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
Tokyo Gas announced on December 6, 2004 that they will put PEFC cogeneration system for home use on market from February 8, 2005. Two companies, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. and Ebara Ballard Corporation will fabricate the system. The system consists of power generation/ heat recovery unit (about 1m in height, 80 cm in width) and hot water tank (2 m in height, 80 cm in width). The power generation capacity is 1 kW and it can cover 40% of electric consumption in case of model family (4 person). As for utility charge, the town gas consumption increases to 1.5 times but electric procurement decreases about 40% and as the result, 30,000 yen per year is saved in total. Tokyo Gas said that additional 30,000 yen per year can be saved if special charge for FC is applied, which will be newly established. They will distribute 200 units as lease by March 2006 and the users pay 1 million yen for 10 years and cooperate for data collection for 3 years. The area is limited to Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa prefecture and a part of Saitama prefecture where Tokyo Gas supply the town gas and the organization is arranged to maintain the units.
@ ( Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Fuji Sankei Business Eye December 7, 2004 )

(2) Urban Renaissance Agency
URA announced on December 15, 2004 that they will introduce 750 W PEMFC system (made by Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.) fueled town gas, into the house for rent they supply. The first trial will be applied for a part of Urbane Namba West (Osaka) (26 homes among 252) being started the living from March 2005 and the next is a part of Sunvarie Sakuradutsumi (Musashino City) (17 homes among 85) being started the living from next winter in 2005. The size is almost the same as outdoor type air conditioning unit and it will be installed at veranda. In case of standard home (floor area is 70 m2), 74% of electric demand and 92% of hot water demand will be covered and 20,000 yen per year would be saved. The lease charge is the same between two houses, the unit is installed and not installed, however, installed home has a duty to submit data for 3 years as monitor.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Denki Shimbun December 16, 2004, Asahi Shimbun December 20, 2004 )

(3) Misawa Homes Co., Ltd.
Misawa Homes will start sales of PEMFC for home use from February 8, 2005 under agreement with Tokyo Gas, toward users who concluded contracts for independent houses in the capital area (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba Prefecture and Southern part of Saitama Prefecture). The agreement term is 10 years and the payment is 1 million yen including installation and maintenance cost. Installed homes are requested to submit data for 3 years and cooperate for questionnaire.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Fuji Sankei Business Eye December 18, 2004, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 20, 2004, Jutaku Shinpo December 28, 2004 )

(4) Nippon Oil Corporation
Nippon Oil Corporation announced on December 20, 2004 that they will put LPG fueled 750 W PEMFC system for home use on market from March 1, 2005. The trade name is gENEOS ECO LP-1h and the production will be entrusted to Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. The power generation unit is 1 m in width, 1 m in height and 0.45 m in depth and 200 kg in weight. And the hot water tank is 200 L in capacity, 0.75 m in width, 1.9 m in height, 0.44 m in depth and 120 kg in weight and the water temperature is 65. In case of model family, 60% of electric consumption would be covered. 150 units will be sold in Kanto District including Tokyo and other 10 prefectures as rental in 2005 and the market will be extended to all over the nation after 2006. They aim at sales of 100,000 units per year in 2013. Their policy is to keep rental method for the initial 3 years and the rental charge is 60,000 yen per year.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Nihon, Keizai Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Denki Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Fuji Sankei Business Eye December 21, 2004 )
6.Development of Reforming and Hydrogen Production Technologies
(1) National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology found the effective catalyst to reform gasoline. This catalyst is combined with 4 kinds of metals, nickel, rhenium, strontium and zirconium, and the nickel is introduced to raise a stability of the catalyst and the strontium is added to raise a durability for sulfur. Hydrogen could be produced by being reacted with gasoline at 580 which reaction temperature is lower than 200 in comparison with it of existing unit. Improving the process from now and aiming at reaction temperature less than 500 , hydrogen could be produced using the heat of exhaust gas from automobile in case reforming at this temperature level becomes possible.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun November 29, 2004 )

(2) Institute for Reduction & Smelting Technology-22
Institute for Reduction & Smelting Technology-22 (Kochi Prefecture) intends to develop the slagging furnace for waste both in Tohoku and Shikoku District in 2005, which the waste can be reused as civil materials for roadbed or energy. Wastes from the special products in the areas such as apples and citrons, are treated and hydrogen, CO and carbon as solid can be obtained at the same time. The furnace inside temperature is 1600-2000 . The treating capacity; 5 tons/d, hydrogen production; 360 m3/d, CO production; 6000 m3/d and the construction cost is 1 billion yen.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 7, 2004 )

(3) Tokyo Institute of Technology
Professor Otsuka and his group, Tokyo Institute of Technology developed the technology to produce high purity hydrogen from raw materials such as wooden waste and used papers. The new process is, papers and plastics are reacted with high temperature sodium hydroxide solution and sodium carbonate, hydrogen and methane are produced, using original catalyst. It has special features that organic materials could be basically used as raw materials without exhaust of CO and CO2, and high purity hydrogen can be produced with low cost.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun December 10, 2004 )

(4) Corona Corporation and Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd.
Corona Corporation announced on December 21, 2004 that they developed high performance steam reforming unit of kerosene to be applied for home use FC cooperatively with Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. The reforming rate is 80% and start up time to extract hydrogen is 45 minutes. Technologies owned by Corona for kerosene combustion burner and hydrogen production catalyst owned by Idemitsu are combined. The both companies intend to complete PEMFC system furnished the reformer in March 2005 and start demonstration test and proceed with improvement researches such as durability and short time start up. Corona Corporation said that they will popularize it as target of 2010 by solving the subjects including cost reduction by mass production effect.
( Sankei Shimbun ,Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily December 22, 2004, Fuji Sankei Business Eye December 23, 2004 )
7.The Front of FCV
(1) The Peoplefs Republic of China
In the observation activity of Shanghai Committee, Politics and Trades Association of Peoplefs Republic of China, the related person made open to the public that FCV would be tentatively introduced into Olympic in 2008 and The World Exposition in 2010. On energy consumption, it is anticipated that The Peoplefs Republic of China will be ahead of Japan in 2004 and become the second largest energy consumption country in the world. In The Peoplefs Republic of China, petroleum occupies approximately 25% of total energy consumption and automobile occupies approximately 70% of gasoline consumption. The research of substitute energy for automobile has been an urgent subject.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun December 2, 2004 )

(2) Suzuki Motor Co., Ltd. and General Motors Corporation
Suzuki Motor Co., Ltd. announced on December 3, 2004 that they developed a light FCV gMR Wagon-FCVh cooperatively with GM, licensor, on which compressed hydrogen cylinder with maximum charging pressure of 70 MPa was loaded. It has been already authorized by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. 200 km driving distance by one charge has been achieved. Test on public road will be carried out from January 2005.
( The Daily Automotive News, Chunichi Shimbun December 4, 2004, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 6, 2004 )

(3) Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd.
Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd. attained the technology level to extend driving distance to 200 km from present 120km, by raising the pressure of compressed hydrogen gas for FCV to 70 MPa. They intend to exhibit the 70 MPa tank at Tokyo Motor Show which will be opened in late October 2005. Although it will be commercialized by the consortium gHydrogen 700h to whom Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. and others participate, it will be exhibited as new model car, boarding it on the new type vehicle improved gFCV-K-2h which is light vehicle. The company stated that they will aim at a driving distance equivalent to gasoline vehicle in the future, by proceeding the research and development further. And the hybrid vehicle will be also exchanged to the new type preceding this, they intend to sell 300 vehicles a year to public agencies and enterprises from summer 2005.
( The Daily Automotive News December 14, 2004 )

(4) Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced on December 17, 2004 that the sales of next generation type FCV gFCXh has been authorized by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, which is strong in low temperature (capable of starting at -20). They will start sales from 2005 as lease, targeting for the cold districts where the temperature become subzero. And the company announced on December 20, 2004 that they will sell it as lease to The Hokkaido Government Office.
( Asahi Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News, Chunichi Shimbun December 18, 2004, The Daily Automotive News, Hokkaido Shimbun December 21, 2004 )
8.Development of Micro FC
Kanagawa Industrial Technology Research Institute developed a micro PEMFC of which size is equivalent to the needle point (0.2 mm diameter). Drastic down sizing has been realized by utilizing fine machining technology, and they confirmed the performance of 1 mW/cm22 power density and succeeded for lighting LED. The MEA consist of electrode with platinum catalyst and electrolyte and 0.2 micro meter thickness gold film is made by vapor deposition, which results in wiring function. For the base plate, heat and acid resistant plastics is utilized. At this moment, 13 pieces of PEMFC are connected in series in 1 cm2 base plate, and the target for the time being to increase power density up to 10 mW per one FC. Further more, increasing volumetric density of the unit up to about 100 times in comparison with existing one, and the performance will be improved to be applicable to the cell phone by 2006. Their policy is to proceed with joint development with enterprise.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 6, 2004 )
9.FC and Hydrogen Related Instruments
(1) OVAL Corporation
OVAL developed ultra high pressure type mass flow meter gUltra-Mass MK IIh. In case to apply it for high pressure hydrogen gas up to 95 MPa and temperature range from -50 to 93 , highly accurate flow measuring is possible. The weight is 14 kg and the price is estimated as 4 ` 5 million yen.
( The Chemical Daily December 7, 2004, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun December 8, 2004, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun December 14, 2004 )

(2) Hitachi, Ltd. and Okayama University
Hitachi and Okayama University jointly developed wireless sensor system to detect efficiently small hydrogen leakage. Net worked small sensors by wireless system, can detect where and how much hydrogen leaks at real time. It will be commercialized in around 2008 for safety purpose of hydrogen stand. Principle of the hydrogen sensor utilizes the phenomenon that electric current changes when hydrogen molecule is adsorbed in ion exchange membrane provided on the electrode, and cost reduction by mass production is expected by utilizing of semiconductor wafer production process. Further more, heater will start up instantly when hydrogen molecules are detected at ambient temperature, and temperature of the sensor is elevated which results in accurate measurement of hydrogen concentration. This can detect hydrogen molecule concentration less than 100 ppm. Prototype sensor size is 75 mm ~ 3 mm, and they stated that more down sizing is possible ,while the size is 5 cm square in case of the prototype stage combined with battery and communication circuit.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun December 8, 2004 )

(3) Niigata University
Professor Harada et al, Faculty of Engineering, Niigata University announced on December 22, 2004 that they developed a hydrogen gas sensor which can detects quicker than conventional sensor and the size can be reduced. The detector part of this new sensor is always energized and potential difference by detecting hydrogen gas make alarm buzzer work within 0.1 second in case of more than 100 ppm concentration. The detector less than 5 g can be manufactured, by forming chip. The products will be manufactured by a venture fund firm established by Techno Link Co., Ltd (Niitsu City) and will be marketed by KAZAMA Corporation (Niigata City). According to Techno Link, they will manufacture several hundreds of samples by the end of 2005 and plan to deliver to 20 ` 30 domestic and foreign companies for trial use, and the price is estimated as about 200 ` 300 thousands yen.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun December 24, 2004 )
10.New Application of FC System
GS Yuasa Corporation started the demonstration test of DMFC developed by themselves on December 13, 2004, to apply it into green house to cultivate strawberry at Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture. Gathering data for one year, the data will be utilized for commercialization in 2007. The power out put of the DMFC is 1 kW, the size is 48 in width, 85 cm in depth and 72 cm in height, and it can be operated for about 2 weeks with fuel filled in 230 litter tank. Installing one unit for about 990 m2 green house owned by farmer in Suzuka City, the unit is used as electric power source for lighting to make up sun light during 2 hours before dawn, the discharged CO2 is used for photosynthesis of strawberry, and the exhaust heat is utilized to keep the temperature of the green house. The project utilizes fund from subsidy system for FC demonstration test of Mie Prefecture and Suzuka City.
( Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily, December 14, 2004 )