THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, FEBRUARY 2005

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1.Governmental Policy and Activity
2.Policy and Activity in Local Government
3.International Cooperation Project
4.Development and Commercialization of SOFC
5.Development for Elemental Technologies of PEMFC
6.Business Deployment of PEMFC System for Home Use
7.The Front of FCV
8.Development of Hydrogen Production and Reforming Technology and the Business Deployment
9.Development of Micro FC
10.Performance Evaluation and Instrument Technology Related to FC
11.Segregation and Storage of Carbon Dioxide
12.New Application of FC

1.Governmental Policy and Activity
According to the current stage budget of the Government for fiscal year 2005, total budget to promote science and technology in Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) was 142.3 billion yen, 3.3% more than that in 2004. And total budget on FC and the related was 35.4 billion yen, 7.7% more than that in 2004. METI is supporting for a spread of stationary fuel cell by conducting three new projects including demonstration tests of stationary fuel cells, using monitoring units for 10,000 homes.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun January 4, 2005 )
Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, METI made a decision for a policy to reexamine a subsidy system to support enterprises using new energy and change the system drastically from fiscal year 2005. Agency for Natural Resources and Energy has subsidized 1/3 of the expenses to introduce new energy so far or less than that depending on the kind of the new energy, but they will basically reduce 10% of the subsidy. And there would be a case of 30% reduction for the present subsidy depending on the kind of the new energy. On the other hand, the subsidy ratio for window power generation is not changed. Subsidy ratio for fuel cell will be set by 10% reduction for the current 1/3, by classifying it in renewable energy because the current fuel cell cost is not competitive yet.
( Denki Shimbun January 7, 2005 )
2.Policy and Activity in Local Government
(1) Aichi Prefecture
Aichi Prefecture made a policy to strengthen promotion of industry in fiscal year 2005 by selecting fuel cell as a countermeasure to raise next generation industry, which is one of new energy and being led to environmental conservation, taking after effect of the 2005 World Exposition, AICHI, JAPAN into account. Aichi Industrial Technology Institute plays a role as the center and they intend to establish a mass production technology by supporting small-to-medium-sized enterprises participating into the development of fuel cell and building up a close cooperation between industries and universities.
( Chunichi Shimbun December 30, 2004 )
Aichi Prefecture intends to hold the Planning Committee for Promotion of New Energy Related Industries on January 26, 2005 and to decide to establish gCouncil for Hydrogen Energy Industry in Aichi Prefectureh. The council will conduct arrangement of the infrastructure and the technology development toward a diffusion of hydrogen energy.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun January 20, 2005 )

(2) Mie Prefecture
Mie Prefecture decided to promote a local area project centered Yokkaichi City and Suzuka City for NEDO project on research and development of PEMFC technology, to be collected publicly in fiscal year 2005. They desire to make the Hokusei area a FC model area through industry-university-government collaboration. They intend to select the concrete projects at gStudy Committee for Rebirth Program of Yokkaichi Coastal Industrial Zoneh.
( Chunichi Shimbun January 16, 2005 )

(3) Fukuoka Prefecture
Fukuoka Prefecture applied gResearch and Development of Hydrogen Utilization Technologies in Fukuokag as the 7th proposal for Special Designated Zone for Deregulation on Structural Reform on January 18, 2005. They will ask for special approvals including omission of test usually requested in case of experiment using hydrogen. Although High Pressure Gas Safety Law imposes pressure and air tightness tests for pressure vessel in advance whenever the experiment is conducted in case of vessel filled high pressure gas and larger size than decided in code. Deregulation they apply this time is to omit these tests.
( Nishinihon Shimbun January 18, 2005 )
3.International Cooperation Project
Atomic Energy Research Institutes of 11 nations and regions such as Japan, the United States and Europe will start collaboration research about the technology to produce hydrogen from water using next generation type reactor. Collaboration agreement on the research will be signed among the Governments within January. DOE in USA will take a lead and Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute and other organizations will take part in the project from Japan, and they will tackle with basic technologies for the time being and assume to realize the technology in around 2020. The process to generate hydrogen is to decompose water by thermo –chemical method combining high temperature taking out of the reactor and chemical reaction. In case of Japan, Japan Atomic Research Institute has been studying the process using High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun January 17, 2005 )
4.Development and Commercialization of SOFC
(1) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. and Kyocera Corporation
Osaka Gas has been developing 1 kW SOFC for home use under cooperation with Kyocera and they attained power generation efficiency of 44% in their operation for system evaluation. They will conduct the operation test at real residence and their target is to put it on market in 2008.
( The Chemical Daily January 3, 2005 )

(2) The Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. and Mitsubishi Materials Corporation
Kansai Electric Power and Mitsubishi Material announced on January 11, 2005 that their low temperature (800) SOFC under joint development attained the necessary durability and the highest level power generation efficiency in the world. And it reached to the targeted technology level to be able to commercialize 50 – 100 kW system for small or middle class companies at the end of 2006. They confirmed there was no performance decay in continuous operation for longer than 1,000 hours by 1 kW class system fueled town gas and attained power generation efficiency of 57.6% by 1kW class module.
( Asahi Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Denki Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun January 12, 2005, Fuji Sankei Business Eye January 17, 2005 )

(3) TOTO Ltd.
TOTO and FCT (FuelCell Technology Inc.) in Canada reached a mutual agreement on January 12, 2005 to cooperate in development of SOFC system for condominium. FCT will commercialize the power unit based on SOFC developed by TOTO, which can be operated at high efficiency and for long time.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun January 13, 2005 )

(4) Hosokawa Powder Technology Research Institute
Hosokawa Powder Technology Research Institute of Hosokawa Micron Corporation Group developed composite material to increase power generation efficiency of SOFC more than two times in comparison with conventional material. They improved oxygen ion conductivity by improving the bonding structure of metal particles like nickel oxide according to their own device. The Research Institute improved raw materials consisting of SOFC cell and they dispersed uniformly particles of metals or metal oxides such as nickel oxide with ferromagnetism or excellent heat resistant zirconia and made a space between the particles. In case to use the developed composite particles as material, power generation performance can be improved from 0.3 W/cm2 to 0.8 W/cm2. The Research Institute is conducting joint development of SOFC cell with material company and starting the sales of the equipment to make composite material.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun January 19, 2005 )
5.Development for Elemental Technologies of PEMFC
(1) Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.
Dai Nippon Printing announced on January 13, 2005 that they will participate into material business for PEMFC. The first business considering real market development is a catalyst transfer film to make MEA (Membrane Electrode Assembly), which carbon, platinum catalyst and ink are coated uniformly on raw film and the catalyst layer is transferred to proton exchange membrane by thermal transfer method. Their Kansai Research Institute has been delivering the sample by using trial production facility. The second business is metal separator which is gold plated SUS304 to improve corrosion resistance and conductivity. The thickness is 1.1 mm and they can make ditch freely for gas passage by utilizing etching technology accumulated in lead frame.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Fuji Sankei Business Eye, The Chemical Daily January 14, 2005 )

(2) Seiko Giken Co., Ltd. And F J Composite
F J Composite developed a technology to mix carbon and phenol resin in fine powder of several 10 m, which is used for separator. Seiko Giken designed a highly precise metal die by utilizing manufacturing technology of metal die for optical disc. Although they have been formed so far by heating raw material for hardening, they developed a technology to make original separator without heating by devising the compression process of raw material. Although the time to make one separator was around ten minuets it has been shortened to around 10 seconds. Although the production cost was 10,000 yen per one separator it can be reduced to 1,000 yen. Seiko Giken will start the trial production line in their works by investing 100 million yen.
The maximum separator size is to be A4.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun January 18, 2005, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbbun January 19, 2005, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun January 21, 2005 )
6.Business Deployment of PEMFC System for Home Use
(1) Sekisui House Corporation
Sekisui House Corporation will sell private house furnished home use PEMFC from March 2005 in Tokyo. The sales price is comparatively higher than an ordinary house but the heat and light expenses are reduced. The private house will be sold at the housing site in Musashino City, where is 10 minutes on foot from Kichijoji Station and there was once automobile training center. Total number of the houses are 31, and PEMFC will be furnished for 7 houses among them, which Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. will sell on lease from February this year. Total sales price is estimated 100 -130 million yen and the purchaser have to conclude lease agreement with Tokyo gas Co., Ltd. but, the lease rate (1 million yen per 10 years) is included in the sales price of the house. According to the trial calculation for the first 3 years, the heat and light expenses can be saved by approximately 60-110 thousands yen per year.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun January 8, 2005 )

(2) Toho Gas Co., Ltd. and others
The 3 companies, Toho Gas, Co., Ltd., Rinnai Corporation and Toshiba-Hitachi Electric Industrial Systems Corporation developed a communication system which gas equipments are connected to IP (Internet Protocol) such as internet or mobile phone. From December 2004, adding them to FC systems installed and tested at ordinary homes, the reliability and convenience of the communication system will be evaluated through monitoring the equipments and failure notices.
( The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun January 19, 2005 )
7.The Front of FCV
(1) Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. will start sales of FCV, gFCXh on lease from 2005, which is 2 doors, 4 seats compact car which can start even at subzero atmospheric temperature. The lease charge is 800 thousands yen per month and they will aim at sales for local governments and energy enterprises in cold districts.
( Denki Shimbun January 11, 2005 )
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced a plan on January 11, 2005 that they will sell FCX on lease for approximately 500 dollars per month for private use in the USA.
( Mainich Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun January 12, 2005, Sankei Shimbun, The Daily Automotive News January 13, 2005 )

(2) General Motors Corporation
GM opened to the public a next generation FCV gSequelh with electronic control at North American International Auto Show. It can be driven 300 miles (480km) with one hydrogen charge and power generation capacity is increased by 25% more than the existing FCV.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun January 11, 2005 )
Replying to the interview at Detroit, Vice President Larry Burns, GM opened to the public the companyfs plan which they aim at sales in Chinese market, after establishing the mass production system for FCV by 2010.
( Tokyo Shimbun, Chunichi Shimbun January 12, 2005 )
8.Development of Hydrogen Production and Reforming Technology and the Business Deployment
Mitsubishi Kakoki Kaisha Ltd. (Kawasaki City) announced on January 12, 2005 that they developed high efficiency and compact hydrogen production unit gHyGeiah, which high purity hydrogen (99.999%) of 50 m3 per hour can be produced from town gas. The demonstration test will be carried out at the companyfs factory from the end of January and they will start the sales from March. In case of the HyGeia, town gas to produce hydrogen can be reduced 20 % or more in comparison with their conventional type. And the installation area of the unit is about a half of the conventional unit. From now on, they intend to develop the units which have capacities of 100 m3, 200 m3 and 300 m3 per hour to produce hydrogen from town gas and also the unit to produce hydrogen from fuels such as LPG.
( Denki Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun January 13, 2005, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun January 17, 2005 )
9.Development of Micro FC
(1) Toagosei Co., Ltd.
Toagosei Co., Ltd. developed the low cost electrolyte membrane of DMFC for PDA. They filled hydrocarbon electrolyte into porous material made of polyolefin system polymer, applying fundamental technology of gmicro pore filling membraneh developed by Assistant Professor Yamaguchi, Tokyo University. The unit price is 1/2 and the proton conductivity is 3-4 times in comparison with existing fluorine membrane and the power generation efficiency can be increased by 20 % as methanol crossover can be restrained to 1/3-1/4 in fluorine system membrane. The thickness of the electrolyte is several 10m and it is rolled product. Durability for continuous operation longer than 4,000 hours has been proved.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun January 5, 2005 )

(2) Takasaki Radiation Chemistry Research Establishment of Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute and Nitto Denko Corporation
JAERI Takasaki and Nitto Denko announced that they jointly developed electrolyte membrane for micro DMFC which 30 % methanol solution can be used. In case of the newly developed membrane, they succeeded to make molecule net work structure densely by using radiation cross linking process for fluorine system polymer membrane after graft polymerization and to restrain methanol cross over to 1/10. The durability is improved up to 6 times in comparison with a membrane developed by JAERI 3 years ago and electric conductivity is 2 times of a membrane on market. Nitto Denko succeeded to establish manufacturing technology for continuous raw film toward mass production.
( Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, The Chemical Daily January 7, 2005 )

(3) Tokuyama Corporation
Tokuyama (Shunan City) announced on January 14, 2005 that they developed electrolyte membrane which can restrain methanol cross over at 10% and be marketed with the price of 1/10`2/10. Utilizing manufacturing technology of ion exchange membrane for table salt production, methanol permeability has been reduced and electric resistance has been improved by making it thin. Also they developed a special resin to paste thinner electrode on membrane. Utilizing existing production line of a subsidiary, ASTOM Corporation, the organization to deliver membrane of annually some 10 thousands square meter, which are width of up to 80 cm and thickness of 20`40 micro meter, has been established.
( Chugoku Shimbun January 15, 2005, Nikkei Sangyo, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, January 17, 2005 )
10.Performance Evaluation and Instrument Technology Related to FC
(1) CHINO Corporation
CHINO will put 2 models of pressure and heat resistant separate type thermometer and humidity meter on market in the middle of February this year. New products are 2 models, those are gHN-CJAh which indicates temperature and relative humidity and gHN-CJCh which indicates humidity and dew point and the specification is optimized for FC evaluation test.
( Denpa Shimbun January 14, 2005, Fuji Sankei Business Eye January 19, 2005 )

(2) Hydrogenics Corporation
Hydrogenics in Canada will provide 10 kW output FC power module and the related test facility to Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI). JARI has been conducting the research for FC stack performance test and standardization and introduces these facility to establish the procedure of performance test.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun January 21, 2005 )
11.Segregation and Storage of Carbon Dioxide
Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. announced on January 18, 2005 that they discovered the characteristics of Ba2TiO4 (barium 2 titanate) to adsorb CO2@effectively. Barium 2 titanate is produced from the barium titanate which is main raw material for ceramic condenser, by adding barium carbonate and sintering it at high temperature. The produced barium 2 titanate has the characteristics to adsorb CO2 by heating up to 550 ~ 750 and desorb CO2 by heating up further to above 800. As there is no deteriorations by repeated reaction, it is possible to reuse. The barium 2 titanate of 250 cc has the capacity to adsorb CO2of 75 litters. To stabilize CO2 discharged from FC system, and to segregate and store CO2 into underground stratum or ocean, become feasible.
( Kyoto Shimbun January 19, 2005 )
12.New Application of FC
GS Yuasa Corporation (Kyoto City), installing DMFC at a farm yard green house in Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture, started the verification test to promote growth of strawberry cultivated in the green house. The maximum output of DMFC is 1 kW and the electric power is utilized as power source for lighting and the CO2 discharged at 100 ppm per hour promotes the growth of strawberry. And the heat is also utilized for heating the green house. Term of the verification test is by October 2005.
( Tekko Shimbun January 20, 2005 )