THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, March 2005

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1.Governmental Policy and Activity
2.Policy and Activity in Local Government
3.Research and Development of Elemental Technologies for PEMFC
4.Business Deployment of PEMFC Cogeneration System for Home Use
5.The Front of FCV
6.Construction of Hydrogen Station
7.Development of Reforming, Hydrogen Production and Purification Technology
8.Development and Demonstration Test of Hydrogen Storage and Transportation Technology
9.Development of Portable FC
10.Development of Micro DMFC for PDA
11.FC and Hydrogen Related Measuring Technology
12.New FC Technology Development
13.New Application of FC and Hydrogen

1.Governmental Policy and Activity
(1) Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, METI will set up gAdvanced Basic Technology Center for Fuel Cell (tentative name)h who will conduct research and development concentrated for advanced technology and basic technology concerning fuel cell. As the budget for this plan, they included one billion yen in the budget of fiscal year 2005. And they intend to select a top scientist as the head of this center, who is not in governmental service. The base of this center will be placed in the Tokyo Waterfront, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) located in Daiba, Tokyo and this center acts under cooperation with related research departments in the AIST. The center intends to gather young researchers from Japan and also abroad and aims at gSpecialist Group by Young Generationh by bringing up the capable men having the advanced scientific knowledge, and exchanging information with foreign top laboratories.
Fuel cell related budget of Agency for Natural Resources and Energy in fiscal year 2005 is 35.5 billion yen and the budget is assigned to the above center and a subsidy for large scale demonstration test subsidized about six million yen per unit for home use fuel cell and the number of units are 400 in total. And the fuel cells will be installed all over the country and the operation data will be collected and it will verify the performance through monitor.
( Kensetsu Tushin Shimbun January 28, 2005 )
METI starts to develop a high efficiency reactor aimed at energy saving, which is ceramic reactor characterized by quick operation at low temperature, and puts the research forward on the materials and the process technologies from fiscal year 2005. If realized, a micro system of palm size can be made and it is expected to apply the system to small sized SOFC and hydrogen production equipment. The object to develop is a module type ceramic reactor which many cubes of about 1cm3 are integrated and the cube is made by bundling about 0.3`0.5 mm micro multilayer tubes into 1 cm3. It makes low temperature operation possible at about 500 by using selenium and lanthanum gallate instead of zirconia operated at high temperature, and general material including steel can be used as the result. They aim to realize extremely short start-up time by making module compact and it will be realized on-off operation at a minute or a second in the future. And the final target is to realize high output of 5 kW by 1 litter or less in volume. The project budget is 200 million yen in fiscal year 2005 and the total budget until fiscal year 2009 is estimated at 2.2 billion yen. They will realize it through verification tests using prototype unit by entrusting it via NEDO,.
( The Chemical Daily January 31, 2005 )

(2) NEDO
NEDO organized gRoad Map Committee for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technical Development (Chairman: Professor Watanabe, Yamanashi University)h consisted of intellectual persons in university and research institute and the first committee was held on January 27, 2005. Also gTechnical Trend Research Committeeh is to be set up in Osaka Science & Technology Center and the committee will make the detail road map and make up the final plan by holding the second meeting at early in April.
( The Chemical Daily January 28, 2005 )
2.Policy and Activity in Local Government
(1) Shiga Prefecture
Shiga Prefecture starts a development of gSystem Aimed at Energy Security and Environmental Protectionh from fiscal year 2005, which is useful to improve water quality in Lake Biwa by supplying oxygen into the lake, produced by electrolysis of the lake water, and the hydrogen is stored as fuel. They verify the effect and the possibility of realization through the basic test for three years. As the current stage budget of the Prefecture, about 10 million yen is assigned and New Energy Promotion Office of the prefecture and Research Office of Dr. Ito, Doshisya University, will jointly conduct the research and development.
( Asahi Shimbun January 22, 2005 )

(2) Fukuoka Prefecture
Fukuoka Prefecture announced the outline of gStrategy for Hydrogen Energyh on February 9, 2005, which the Prefecture tackles through government-industry collaboration, aiming at establishment and spread of fuel cell technology. They deploy the strategy with three major poles of verification test, research and development and bringing up the capable men. They will construct gHydrogen Stationh which produces and stores high pressure hydrogen, at a campus of Kyusyu University that will move to the Itoshima Peninsula in October this year, and support for research and development of private enterprises and raise engineers. As the related budget of the Prefecture, 135 million yen will be assigned. At the new campus of Kyusyu University, the hydrogen station produces and stores high pressure hydrogen of 40`70MPa by using electrolysis technology, not using compressor, and supplies hydrogen to each facility through pipeline and electric power is generated by fuel cell and FCV is driven in the campus.
( Nishi Nihon Shimbun February 10, 2005 )

(3) Mie Prefecture
Mie Prefecture starts a lesson on fuel cell technology to such students as technical high schools in the prefecture. Mie Prefecture aims at becoming a center on development of fuel cell and has been conducting verification tests concerning fuel cell by collecting development enterprises publicly all over the country, but there is a problem being short of specialist for the fuel cell in the prefecture. Researchers of enterprises conducting the verification tests teach the fuel cell technologies as lecturers to students of high school and they aim at bringing up the FC specialist in the future.
( Nikkan Kogyou Shimbun February 16, 2005 )
3.Research and Development of Elemental Technologies for PEMFC
(1) Three Bond Co., Ltd.
Three Bond intends to develop olefin system sealing agent for FC as commercial product within a short period, which consists of two liquids and becomes solid by heating. It can select flexibly the condition for hardening by adopting the two liquids system. The sealant is made of telechelic polymer which the main chain is iso-butylene. This sealant is placed on perimeter of sealing surface and hardened by heating. The sealant has excellent features such as, it can keep the flexibility even after the hardening, permeability of hydrogen gas is 1/20, permeability of H2O is 1/100 in comparison with silicon system sealing agent. Although they already have products of sealing agent such as gThree Bond 1152h which adheres both surfaces by placing it between the two and hardening, and gThree Bond 1153h which adheres only one surface, they want to respond to specification requested from users by commercializing the two liquids type. They will put it on market in 2005.
( The Chemical Daily January 31, 2005 )

(2) Hokkaido University and Kyoto University
Assistant Professor Takeguchi, Hokkaido University and Assistant Professor Kikuchi, Kyoto University found that subject, adsorption of CO on platinum catalyst of electrode for PEMFC is suppressed by covering the electrode surface by tin oxide because the tin oxide works as catalyst. Tin oxide solution at jelly state is absorbed into carbon electrode for PEMFC and palladium catalyst of 8 nm in diameter is added over the electrode. As the result, electron state of palladium catalyst is changed and CO adsorption is suppressed. They used the electrode for PEMFC and they could keep the power output at 30% down although they used hydrogen gas with CO of 500 ppm.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun February 1, 2005 )

(3) Asahi Kasei Corporation
Asahi Kasei developed new structure fluorine system polymer membrane which has durability for 4,000 hours at conditions of 100 and low humidification. Although they have made research and development to avoid degradation such as fluorine leakage by hydrogen peroxide attack and oxidation by heat, they attained the durability for 4,000 hours. And they installed batch type production facility of bench scale at their PEMFC project office in order to proceed with the evaluation process under cooperation with FC stack fabricator. The life would be extended 10 times if the membrane with durability for 100 is used at 80. They intend to improve the durability up to 40,000 hours at 100 and reduce the cost, considering the commercialization by Asahi Kasei Chemicals.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun February 3, 2005, The Chemical Daily February 7, 2005 )
4.Business Deployment of PEMFC Cogeneration System for Home Use
(1) ISHIKAWAJIMA-SHIBAURA MACHINERY CO., LTD.
ISIKAWAJIMA-SHIBAURA MACHINERY developed PEMFC cogeneration system for home use under cooperation with Shizuoka Gas Co. and other. The developed system is 1 kW output power using town gas as fuel. ISHIKAWAJIMA-SHIBAURA has been in charge of development of reformer and PEMFC and Shizuoka Gas has presented the test facility and town gas and Takagi Industrial Co., Ltd. (Numazu City) has been in charge of development of hot water tank. They have been conducting the research on improvement of performance and cost reduction at Research Institute of Shizuoka Gas. They intend to install the unit at general home in autumn 2005 and start the demonstration test and then commercialize it in 2006. They have trial calculated that one home can save from 30,000 to 50,000 yen per year as light and fuel expenses in case of 40 A as contracted electric current with utility company.
( Shinano Mainichi Shimbun January 22, 2005 )

(2) Western Japan Branch, Urban Renaissance Agency
Western Japan Branch, Urban Renaissance Agency opened gUrbane Nanba Westh to the press members on January 20, 2005, which is condominium installed PEMFC cogeneration system for home use. This system can supply 74% of electric demand and 92% of hot water demand. As the result, 12-13% of light and fuel expenses can be saved. The condominium is two buildings of 14 stories and for 252 homes. The residences installed FC are 26 among 252 and the room arrangement is 4 rooms with a combined use room for dining and kitchen.
( Nikkan Kensetsu Kogyo Shimbun January 24, 2005 )

(3) Tokyo Electric Power Company, Osaka Gas Co., Ltd
It was announced on January 25, 2005 that Tokyo Electric Power and Osaka Gas were in final stage to invest for Towa Real Estate Development Co., Ltd. who is under reconstruction of the company. They expect diffusion of all electrified condominium or introduction of domestic FC using town gas.
( Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun January 26, 2005 )

(4) JAPAN ENERGY CORPORATION
JAPAN ENERGY announced on January 31, 2005 that they started real activity on PEMFC for home use, using LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas). They will install 700 W class unit made by Toshiba Fuel Cell Power Systems Corporation at their LPG station in Kawasaki and establish organization for performance inspection and maintenance. The power generation efficiency is 34% (LHV base) and heat recovery rate is 39%. They will introduce two similar units by spring in 2005 and prepare for real marketing to be started from May in 2005 as rental lease method. The rental fee would be 60,000 yen per year which is the same level as Nippon Oil Corporation.
( Asahi Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun February 1, 2005 )
5.The Front of FCV
(1) Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Honda started a lease of FCV, gFCXh to Hokkaido Government on January 27, 2005. The lease charge of 800,000 yen per month is offset by cooperation of Hokkaido to collect data for the driving.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Fuji Sankei Business Eye January 28, 2005 )

(2) Toyota Motor Corporation, Hino Motors, Ltd.
FC bus has been opened to the public at Toyota Museum, which connects between two sites, Nagakute and Seto of the 2005 World Exposition in Aichi, Japan. It is gFCHV-BUSh, hybrid type FC bus driven by PEMFC and nickel-hydrogen battery, jointly developed by Toyota and Hino.
( Sankei Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun February 1, 2005 )

(3) Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Motors and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced that they are under study to jointly develop FCV. They will catch up with preceding companies by utilizing technologies owned by MHI.
( Tokyo Shimbun, Nishinihon Shimbun February 8, 2005 )

(4) Escort Car for VIP in the 2005 World Exposition
The Japan Association for the 2005 World Exposition opened FCV to the public, which courtesy group will use to escort VIP visiting the 2005 World Exposition. The selected FCV are gFCHVh by Toyota and gF-Cellh by Daimler-Chrysler Japan. Both companies will contribute each two cars at no charge.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Chunichi Shimbun February 8, 2005 )
6.Construction of Hydrogen Station
(1) Mazda Motor Corporation
Mazda Motor Corporation opened a hydrogen station to charge hydrogen to hydrogen vehicles at Ujina district, head office of the company in Minami Ward, Hiroshima City. A driving test to commercialize hydrogen rotary engine (RE) vehicle will be carried out. Gas pressure from gas cylinder will be controlled to meet with the hydrogen RE vehicle. The station has a capacity to be able to charge hydrogen for 10 vehicles per day.
( Chugoku Shimbun February 17, 2005 )
7.Development of Reforming, Hydrogen Production and Purification Technology
(1) Saitama Institute of Technology and ECODEVICE Co., Ltd.
ECODEVICE Co., Ltd. (Kawaguchi City) announced on January 26, 2005 that they started the commercialization of advanced catalyst which CO in hydrogen was oxidized at room temperature. It is the technology Specially Nominated Professor Tanaka, Saitama Institute of Technology developed and they will proceed with the commercialization under his instruction. The advanced catalyst is a kind that surface of titanium oxide loaded platinum is covered by iron oxide, and it has an ability which 80 % of CO is oxidized at 30 and converted into CO2 . And also it has selectivity for oxidation, which CO is oxidized but hydrogen is hardly oxidized. They expect that it is used not only for PEMFC system but also there are needs for air conditioning because CO in the air is also oxidized.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun January 27, 2005 )

(2) Hokkaido University
The group of Professor Ichikawa, Catalysis Research Center, Hokkaido University developed gComposite Metal MTB Catalysth, by which methane gas produced from excreta of cattle is selectively converted to benzene and hydrogen. A composite metal which precious metals such as Mo and Rh are combined, is loaded on silane adorned zeolite. In case methane was converted at approximately 750, 5 atm, benzene was produced together with hydrogen at selective rate higher than 90%. Approximately 15% methane was chemically converted to benzene and hydrogen. According to the demonstration test using large scale demonstration plant, they succeeded to produce 58 kg benzene and 120 m3 hydrogen per day, from 200 m3 reformed biogas (99% methane concentration) per day adding several % hydrogen or CO2, produced from excreta of cattle.
( Asahi Shimbum January 28, 2005, Hokkaido Shimbun Januay 29, 2005, The Chemical Daily January 31, 2005 )
8.Development and Demonstration Test of Hydrogen Storage and Transportation Technology
(1) Kawasaki Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. announced on January 26, 2005 that they succeeded to develop a container specialized to carry liquid hydrogen and transport long distance of approximately 600 km. Hydrogen storage tank of 6 m in length, 2.6m in width and height, and 14.65 m3 in volume is integrated in the container. The most advanced technologies such as high heat insulation to control evaporation of liquid hydrogen lower than 0.7% per day and protection function for vibration were introduced. On January 26, 2005, approximately 5.5 m3 liquid hydrogen was carried, taking 10 hours, from liquefaction base in Amagasaki City to Ariake Hydrogen Station in Tokyo through highway etc. It can transport more hydrogen than tank truck and also it can be transported using railway or ship.
( Asahi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Denki Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun January 27, 2005 )
9.Development of Portable FC
VANTEC CORPORATION (Shiobara City) developed a set of PEMFC which can be carried on onefs shoulder. 5 kg weight of nickel hydrogen storing alloy which can store 1,000 L hydrogen and PEMFC were combined. The total weight is 20 kg because the control unit and others were improved. As it is silent, it is promising as portable power sources for disaster districts and construction sites. It can be utilized as 100 V AC or 24 V DC power source. The power output is the maximum 1 kW and 15 sets of note type PC can be operated for 1.5 hours. It will be sold in March 2005 at about 2.5 million yen per 1 unit.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun January 25, 2005 )
10.Development of Micro DMFC for PDA
(1) NTT Corporation and KDDI Corporation
NTT DoCoMo, Inc. and KDDI Corporation are planning to elongate available hours of the mobile phone up to 10 times (20 hours in case of TV phone), by combining lithium ion battery and DMFC and charging the battery with the power produced by FC. At the end of September in 2004, DoCoMo, Inc. developed a stand type micro FC, 152 mm in length, 57mm in width and 16mm in thickness cooperatively with Fujitsu Laboratories, Ltd. And KDDI is developing micro FC cooperatively each with Toshiba Corporation and Hitach, Ltd., but the theme toward down sizing have not been yet got over. Technology Development Division, KDDI Corporation said that they would like to commercialize it in around 2007.
( Chugoku Shimbun January 22, 2005 )

(2) Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute and NITTO DENKO CORPORATION
Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute and NITTO DENKO CORPORATION developed a fluorine type polymer electrolyte membrane for high density methanol FC, which the durability is improved to 6 times in comparison with the existing one and the electrical conductivity is increased to 2 times in comparison with general goods on market, due to irradiation of radioactive ray, and also succeeded to produce continuous rolled film. Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute already have got excellent results for the development of electrolyte membrane for PEMFC and produced the excellent membrane for DMFC this time. To be concrete, it is a process that gradioactive ray are irradiated to fluorine polymer electrolyte membrane for the first and active points necessary for graft polymerization are produced in the polymer chain. Then chemically cross linked graft molecule chains are introduced by graft polymerization and the graft chain is sulfonated after further cross linking by irradiation of radioactive ray, and electrolyte membrane having ion exchange radical is produced.h
( Genshiryoku Sangyo Shimbun February 10, 2005 )
11.FC and Hydrogen Related Measuring Technology
(1) OVAL Corporation
OVAL developed a low cost and compact volumetric liquid flow meter which is used polyether ether ketone (PEEK) resin and started sample works for FC and other production processes. The meter has such performances required by stationary FC system as heat resistance, mechanical strength and wear resistance and it has high reliability. The company expects the meter to be utilized by such purposes as flow control of feedstock to reformer and precise control of pure water for internal circulation. The price of the sample is about 50,000 yen.
( The Chemical Daily January 25, 2005 )

(2) TOYO INK MFG. CO., LTD and Yokohama National University
TOYO INK and Yokohama National University discovered a phenomenon that an electric resistance of gpyrroropyrroleh pigment mixed nitrogen, of which original electric resistance is 100 Giga Ohm cm, is reduced to Mega Ohm cm when to contact with hydrogen, and concluded that such phenomenon can be applied to hydrogen detecting sensor. The sensor was trial manufactured by a process that is to form comb type transparent electrode of metal oxide compound on a surface of glass base plate for the first, to paint paste state organic compound mixed pyrropyrrole with nitrogen over the electrode and dried naturally. The size is about 1 cm2. As the manufacturing process is simple, the sensor is expected to be commercialized with price of 200`300 yen.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun January 26, 2005 )

(3) Tatsuno Corporation
Tatsuno developed a stationary type hydrogen dispenser for FCV applicable to hydrogen charging of ultra high pressure of 70 MPa. The developed dispenser has been installed at Hydrogen Safety Research Station in their Yokohama Factory. The schedule is, to convert auxiliary equipments of the dispenser such as compressor and accumulator unit to be applied to 70 MPa within fiscal year 2005 and to evaluate the safety for 2 years, 2006 and 2007. The development cost of this dispenser is 30 million yen.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun February 15, 2005 )
12.New FC Technology Development
(1) Toho Gas Co., Ltd., TYK CORPORATION and CHUBU UNIVERSITY
Toho Gas, TYK and CHUBU UNIVERSITY developed FC utilized electrolyte made of glass material and succeeded power generation at middle temperature range of 300. This glass material is modified phosphate glass and contains a lot of water in order to allow easy movement of hydrogen ion. And also as the heat resistance of the glass material is high of 400, the deterioration is restrained and the quantity of electrode catalyst is kept, and it leads to lower cost because moisturizing system can be eliminated. This FC can be so called as intermediate type between PEMFC and SOFC, and weak points of both FC are supplemented by the broad waste heat utilization and easy start and stop. They intend to commercialize it from now, by establishing durability of the glass material and the mass production technology and improving electrode performance.
( Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun February 2, 2005 )
13.New Application of FC and Hydrogen
(1) Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is studying a test flight of unmanned large scale airship equipped with solar cell and FC to keep stationary state for long duration. This is in a link of gStratosphere Platformh program for missions such as communication, broadcasting and traffic monitoring from 20 km altitude.
( Sankei Shimbun January 30, 2005, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun February 1, 2005 )

(2) NTT FACILITIES, INC and others
4 organizations, NTT FACILITIES, NTT Architecture Laboratory, Tohoku Fukushi University and Sendai City, announced on February 8, 2005 that they launch a demonstration test of quality grade electric power supply system, utilizing new energy power source within 2005 in Sendai City. Constructing distributed power system of 940 kW in total consisting of solar cell, natural gas co-generation and FC, and once gathering power from each distributed power source into high quality power supply unit, the power is distributed to the public facility by classifying them into direct current, high quality grade A and B. Power from utility grid will be used for supplement. Installing an energy center to be gathered the distributed power at the campus of Tohoku Fukushi University, the power is supplied to university, welfare facility and water treatment facility in the city.
( Denki Shimgun, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun February 9, 2005 )

(3) DESS Consortium
gDESS Consortium which is organized by The Japan Research Institute, Limited and aims at establishment of the network system (Micro Grid) of distributed power source such as FC, jointly with 26 companies such as EBARA CORPORATION, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. and MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORPORATION, launched the project to develop low cost control system which is the core of the network system within fiscal year 2005, and to demonstrate the system in fiscal year 2006. The object is to develop a low cost control system to establish network of the distributed power source such as renewable energy and energy conservation type power source, basically used independently from utility grid. To be concrete, the imaged system is to install the center at one location to control the network and to provide PC (Personal Computer) level control unit at each power consumer site.
( Nikkan Kigyo Shimbun February 15, 2005 )

(4) Tokai University
Professor Nishi Professor Uchida et al, Tokai University, developed an actuator which moves at high speed by absorbing hydrogen. About 1 micro meter thickness hydrogen storing alloy of lanthanum and nickel is adhered on a resin base plate of about 2 cm length and 1 mm width. The alloy deforms and expands about 20 % when the hydrogen storing alloy absorbs hydrogen. This is the conventional actuator mechanism, however, the deforming speed becomes double and the actuator working speed becomes 100 times if the hydrogen storing alloy is covered by 0.1 micro meter thickness palladium. Concretely speaking, the time to start movement is shortened from 100 seconds to 1 second and the time to conclude the movement is also decreased from 100,000 seconds to about 1,000 seconds. The reason is understood that hydrogen is absorbed efficiently by catalytic effect of the palladium.
( Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun February 17, 2005 )