For development of SOFC, NEDO adopted 6 entrusted research programs in fundamental technologies, including output power increase of cylindrical strips type cells by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Other programs are (1) elucidation of aging mechanism and improvement of long term stability by National Institutes of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry, (2) output power increase of plate type cells by Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp., (3) output power increase of cylindrical type cells by TOTO LTD., (4) plate type modules of short start-up time by Sumitomo Precision Products Co., Ltd., and (5) super long life by Kyushu University. (The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) May 30, 2005, The Chemical Daily June 1, 2005, The Denki Shimbun (electricity) June 7, 2005 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology), June 15, 2005.)
@NEDO announced adoption of a FC R&D program proposed by Mie Prefecture etc. In cooperation with 9 organizations, such as Daido Institute of Technology, Daido Steel Co., Ltd. and Ritsumeikan University, Mie Prefecture made a proposition of research theme, gResearch for countermeasures against cell aging by water management.h Mie prefecture makes collaboration with Faculty of Engineering of Mie University. The prefectural Center for Promotion of Science and Technology is involved as the stronghold to promote the research by gathering prefectural researchers, university professors and students. (The research will be made for 5 years since 2005. The Chunichi Shimbun May 31, 2005.)
@In R&D of PEFC, NEDO entrusted development of a system for visualizing distribution of materials and reactions in stacks and behavior of materials to a group of Yamanashi University, Waseda University, Shimadzu Corp., Hitachi, Ltd., Tokyo Electron, Ltd. and Fuji Electric Advanced Technology Co., Ltd. Other R&D programs of PEFC are (1) elucidation of aging mechanism of cells by Japan Automobile Research Institute, (2) fundamental researches for cost reduction of stationary FC and for high performance stacks by a group of Asahi Glass Co. Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., Nippon Oil Corp. Ltd. and Tokyo Institute of Technology, (4) fundamental technology of reforming catalyst by another group of Hiroshima University, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd. and Toshiba FC Systems Corp. and (5) development of auxiliary subsystems by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. and Ebara Ballard Corp. (The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) May 31, 2005.)
@NEDO decided to entrust development of ceramic reactor of the next generation to 4 companies and 3 institutes, including Hosokawa Powder Technology Research Institute, Kyocera Corp., Toho Gas Co. Ltd. and Denso Corp. (The Chemical Daily June 3, 2005.)
2.Policies by Local Governments
(1) Kanagawa Prefecture
A group of firms gKanagawa Research Group for Eco-Energy Townsh are studying construction of a new model town gTwin Cityh for coexistence with ecology. On May 28, 2005 it will establish a new organization gKanagawa Eco-Energy Town Grouph for collaboration between citizens and the prefectural government for realization of towns compatible with ecology and economy and also strong to disaster. The local government will participate the activity. Soliciting citizensf participation, it will promote installation of combined systems of solar photovoltaic cells and fuel cells and also creation of town models where networks accommodate energy demand and production of houses. In this fiscal year this concept will be studied and it is expected to become concrete in the fiscal year of 2006. (The Nikkan Kensetsu Kogyo (construction) and The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction) May 27, 2005)
(2) Yamaguchi Prefecture
The Industrial Technology Center of Yamaguchi Prefecture (Ube city) organized FC research group of Yamaguchi Prefecture. It will have 4 meetings annually and aims to create a project for technological development by collaboration among industrial, academic and governmental sectors. The research group studies markets, and it also investigates research items of FC and opportunities for local manufacturing firms, such as parts manufacturers. It is planned to start a full-dressed research in the fiscal year of 2006 and the estimated budget for the study in 2005 is 2.5 million yen. (The Chugoku Shimbun May 28 and June 11, 2005.)
@Yamaguchi Prefecture completed a report of demonstration test results of hydrogen FC. Until March the test had been carried out in the southern industrial complex area by the committee of hydrogen FC demonstration, and the 1 kW co-generation system was installed in Tokuyama Works of Tokuyama Corp. High purity hydrogen evolved in a factory producing sodium hydroxide was directly supplied to the FC system and the electric efficiency was 37.2%. It is about 6% higher than fossil fuel reforming type and the start-up time is by 10 minutes shorter. (The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) June 1, 2005.)
(3) Arakawa Ward, Tokyo Prefecture
Arakawa Ward will install home-use kerosene fueled PEFC system in the Haketa-daini Primary School and will begin operation in September. (The Sankei Shimbun June 22, 2005)
3.Introduction of PAFC Plant
Kawasaki City decided to introduce a town gas fueled PAFC cogeneration system of 200 kW output into municipal Tama Hospital. The introduction cost is 170 million yen. Besides PAFC, it will introduce a cogeneration system of diesel generator, a 20 kW output large-scale solar cell system and an ice thermal storage system which makes ice in the night for air-cooling in the daytime. (The Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 28, 2005 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) May 31, 2005.)
4.R, D & D of MCFC
The MCFC research consortium held a meeting for reporting R, D & D results of MCFC at Keidanren hall on June 1, 2005. Under the theme of gCorpus of MCFC R, D & D and Foresight to the Futureh the consortium reported demonstration results of high-pressure operation in the third stage of R, D & D project (2000 – 2004) aiming at early commercialization. In this period tests of a pressurized small generating system and high-performance modules were carried out. For the pressurized small system the goal of 43% efficiency could not achieved but 41% efficiency was observed, and about 5,000 hour operation was made. In the development of high-performance modules high efficiency was achieved at 1.2 MPa. (The Denki Shimbun (electricity) June 2, 2005.)
5.R & D of SOFC
Prof. Matsumoto of Kyushu University begins a research of SOFC to decrease the operating temperature down to
600 by using new materials based on perovskite compounds for the electrolyte and electrodes. He received grants from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for research of gproton – electron mixed conductorh by using the perovskite new materials. He has been making research on perovskites of barium-cesium-yttrium (barium cerate), strontium- zirconium-yttrium (strontium zirconate) and he thinks these substances are suitable for the electrolyte and electrodes. Furthermore, he made accomplishment of high-performance hydrogen-selective ceramic membrane using ruthenium doped perovskite compounds. (The Chemical Daily June 24, 2005.)
6.Development of PEFC Elementary Technology
(1) Showa Denko K. K.
Showa Denko K. K. has developed a PEFC separator using complex material of carbon and resin. The weight of the separator is one fourth of the metal separator, and the conductivity is about 10 times higher than conventional graphite. The materials of this complex are fine powder of graphite and resin such as polypropylene, polybutadiene etc at the ratio of 7 to 3, and they succeeded in increase of the conductivity by adding small amount of boron. The higher the ratio of resin, the easer it is handled but with sacrifice of the conductivity. It is concluded that the above volume ratio is the optimum for making full use of the materials characteristics at their maxima. For manufacturing, the mixture is extruded into sheets with an extruder and then channels for fuel gas and air are formed by press molding. The future tasks are thickness and cost reduction. The thickness is 1.5 mm, and the production cost is high and about several thousand yen per one sheet at the present. (The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) May 23, 2005.)
(2) Ebara Ballard Corp.
On May 26, 2005 Ebara Ballard Corp. set forth that the company strengthens cooperation with Ballard Power System in Canada for development and production of stacks for stationary PEFC. A note on rights and investments will be signed and a formal contract will be made. By this contract Ebara Ballard Corp. can make PEFC stacks by itself. Namely, 1) Ebara Ballard Corp.gets exclusive right of development, production, sales and maintenance of stationary PEFC in Japan from Ballard Power System and 2) Ebara Ballard Corp. invests to development of the next generation 1 kW PEFC stacks. In accordance with this contract Ebara Ballard Corp. capitalize 11.7 million dollars. (The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) May 27, 2005, and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) and The Chemical Daily May 30, 2005.)
(3) Teijin DuPont Films Japan, Ltd. (TDFJ)
TDFJ has completed development of new grade polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) film gTeonex.h Comparing with conventional fluorocarbon resins, it has some advantages, e.g., easy handling. The company suggests usage for a part in the cell or film for manufacturing, and a part maker is now testing the film. The newly developed grade film is promising in its thermal stability from low temperature to high temperature, anti-hydrolysis characteristics in humid atmosphere and anti-reagents characteristics in high proton concentration. It is excellent in molding, and it can be molded and keep its shape in highly acidic conditions. (The Chemical Daily June 2, 2005.)
(4) Kyushu University
Professors Sasaki and Teraoka of the graduate school of Kyushu University developed electrode catalyst using carbon nano filaments (CNF), and with this material the same generating performance can be kept, even when platinum loading amount is decreased to half. It is hard for nano-structure carbon filaments to thinly disperse platinum, but they overcome this difficulty by surface treatment of the filament and by preventing platinum from coagulation. Since now they intend to effectively and efficiently use platinum by optimization of surface structure of CNF and to increase endurance of this electrode catalyst, aiming at practical application of this material. (The Chemical Daily June 2, 2005.)
(5) NOK Corp.
NOK Corp. developed long-life O ring gFP 29h made of fluorocarbon rubber of excellent heat resistance and permeability. The company is making market exploitation in the fields requiring severe specifications, such as FCV parts. (The Chemical Daily June 24, 2005.)
7.Demonstration of Stationary PEFC Systems
A chain convenience store, FamilyMart installed 1 kW output PEFC produced by Fuji Electric Advanced Technology Co., Ltd at a convenience store at Takahamacho, Yokkaichi city, Mie prefecture. This was adopted as one of demonstration programs by Mie Prefecture, and half of the installation cost (40 million yen) is subsidized by the local government. It will supply electric power to 1/3 of consumption by fluorescent lumps in the store, and 560 L of hot water
(40) will be supplied to a care service organization every weekday. (The Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 29, 2005.)
(2) Japan Energy Corp.
Japan Energy Corp. announced on June 8, 2005 that it will start installation of LPG fueled 700 W output PEFC systems into common homes. For the Present installation will be done mainly in Kanto area, and installation of about 30 sets is expected in the first year. Then about 150 sets will be done within 3 years. By a 3 year maintenance contract with users the company undertakes maintenance with annual maintenance fee of 90 thousand yen, but the same amount of money will be paid back as a price for cooperation, such as data supply and answers to questionnaires. Therefore no cost is needed for installation. (The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chemical Daily June 9, 2005.)
(3) Fuji Electric Holdings Co., Ltd.
On June 21, 2005 the company set forth that it will start sales of 1 kW home-use PEFC in the fiscal year of 2008 and it aims at annual sales of 5,000 – 10,000 sets. The target price is 1.5 – 2 million yen per one set and the target of the life is 40 thousands years. The company thinks that 2015 would be the year of real propagation, and anticipates that the price should be decreased to 300 – 500 thousands yen per one set. The third trial set was manufactured in the fiscal year of 2004; the electric efficiency is 31%, and the heat recovery efficiency is 42%, while the operating life is 10 thousands hours. The pre-mass-production trial set is now being assembled, and the targets of the electric efficiency, the heat recovery efficiency and the operating life are 32%, 42% and 20 thousands hours, respectively. (The Denki Shimbun (electricity) June 22, 2005)
(1) Toyota Motors Corp.
The company has finished development of two types of high-pressure hydrogen cylinder for FCV, and got license from the High Pressure Gas Safety Institute of Japan. The cylinders are a 35 MPa type and a 70 MPa type. Using the latter over 500 km mileage becomes possible, while the mileage for the former is 330 km and it is by 10% longer than that with a conventional cylinder. (Fuji Sankei Business Eye May 21, 2005.)
(2) Bibendum Rally
Michelin Japan, Ltd. sponsored gBibendum Forumh at Kyoto International Hall on June 8, 2005 to discuss tasks for sustainable vehicle society. In gBibendum Rallyh held on this occasion, total 51 low emission cars, such as FCV and electric motor cars, started from the hall and ran to Aichi World Exposition which is now being held consciously of environment. (The Asahi Shimbun and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) June 9, 2005.)
(3) Hitachi group
Hitachi Ltd. and Hitachi Vehicle Energy, Ltd. published on June 9, 2005 that they cooperatively developed a new specific IC device, which enables 1/10 down sizing of a controller for lithium secondary batteries. They make proposal to apply it, for improving the space efficiency, to FCV and hybrid cars, in which lithium secondary batteries are used. (The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave), The Nikkan Dogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chemical Daily June 10, 2005.)
(4) Toyota and Honda
On June 17, 2005, Toyota Motors Corp. and Honda R&D Co., Ltd. got a license from the Ministry of Land, Transport and Infrastructure, and by this license they become able to make FCV in mass production scale. (The Asahi Shimbun, The Mainichi Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Nishinihon Shimbun, The Tokyo Shimbun, The Chunichi Shimbun, The Chugoku Shimbun, The Hokkaido Shimbun, The Kahoku Shimpo, The Sankei Shimbun, The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) and The Fuji Sankei Business Eye June 18, 2005, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) June 20, 2005 and The Chemical Daily (June 21, 2005).)
9.FC Power for Ships
Uzushio Electric Co. (Imabari city, Ehime prefecture) and Hagio High-Pressure Cylinder Co. (Niihama city) started a demonstration program of a FC power system for ships. A cylindrical de-sulfurizer cylinder for LPG fueled FC developed by Hagio High-Pressure Cylinder Co. is applied to FC for ships, and it aims at practical use of FC on board. Because salt content in air on the sea is larger than on the land, reagent for reducing salt content is now being studied, and de-sulfurizing reagent is also developed to remove sulfur content in exhausted smoke. Uzushio Electric Co. began test of ship-use FC with these reagents, while it is gathering data of vibration and rolling characteristic of ships. They planned to start demonstration and evaluation for on-board FC since September of 2005. (The Chemical Daily June 13, 2005, The Ehime Shimbun June 15, 2005, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) June 16, 2005 and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) June 22, 2005.)
10.Demonstration and Installation of Hydrogen Station for FCV
(1) Kansai Electric Power Co., Ltd. and Iwatani International Corp.
On June 2, 2005 these two companies published development of gMobile Station of Liquid Hydrogenh which transports hydrogen in the liquid state and supplies it to FCV and home-use FC. The station carries a 2,000 L liquid hydrogen tank, and it can charge 15 FCV by converting liquid hydrogen to high-pressure hydrogen gas. The station can be carried with a 4 ton class track. Because hydrogen is stored in liquid state, the hydrogen volume transported at a time increased 3 – 4 times compared to the conventional transportation by compressed gas. Demonstration test is started in Shiga technology center of Iwatani International Corp. (Moriyama city), and they aimed at commercialization after 1 year. (The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Chugoku Shimbun, The Chemical Daily, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye, The Kohoku Shimbun June 7, 2005.)
(2) Japan Air Gases Ltd.
Japan Air Gases Ltd. announced that it will participate Bibendum Forum & Rally 2005 and supply hydrogen to 8 FCV. (The Chemical Daily June 7, 2005)
11.Technology of Hydrogen Formation and Reformation - Purification
(1) Waseda University, Tohoku University etc.
A research group of Waseda University, Tohoku University etc. promotes research for practical use of hydrogen absorbing alloys which store hydrogen and evolve it when needed. Silicone gum coated alloy of lanthanum, aluminum and nickel can purify hydrogen up to 99.999% in the process of absorption and desorption. Because low purity hydrogen has tendency of degrading alloys, the alloy is coated with silicone rubber to prevent the alloy from degradation. The storage capacity of hydrogen is 1 wt% of the alloy. (The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) May 30, 2005.)
(2) Japan Energy Corp.
Japan Energy Corp. developed absorbent of copper oxide which can remove sulfur compounds like carbonyl sulfide (COS) from LPG. By using this absorbent mercaptans, disulfides and COS can be efficiently removed without using hydrogen. In LPG about 3.5 ppm sulfur compounds are contained. Contents of methylmercaptan, dimethylsulfide, dimethyldisulfide etc. are about 0.1 ppm, while COS is contained at 2.9 ppm and over 80% of sulfur compounds is COS. They confirmed endurance of about 1 year. (The Chemical Daily May 31, 2005.)
(3) Konan Electric Co.
Konan Electric Co. (Nishinomiya city) is selling electromagnetic valves gMV1-1.2-NCh whose electric power consumption is decreased to 1/4 – 1/5 compared with conventional valves. The company is expecting to sell them also as valves for hydrogen. The electric consumption of the electromagnetic valve is 1 W (the rated voltage is 24 V.) The operating pressure is up to 20 kPa, and when the minimum diameter of the flow channels is 1.2 mm, 4 – 5 W power is needed for the valve operation. The company is expecting usages in flow of town gas and propane gas for reforming and flow of reformed gas to FC. (The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business nd technology) June 9, 2005.)
(4) Mitsubishi Kakoki Kaisha, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Kakoki Kaisha, Ltd. published that it makes a contract on sales of PSA equipments for hydrogen purification in Asian area including Japan and China with a Canadian company, QuestAir Technologies Inc. (QAR). The products in the contract are gHyQuestorh processing hydrogen at the high rate of over 100 Nm3 per hour and gH-3200h below 100
Nm3 per hour; both are produced by QAR. Mitsubishi Kakoki Kaisha takes these equipments into their line up of hydrogen production systems for industries and FC, promoting their acceptance of orders. In these equipments rotary valve technology is adopted and high-rate switching technology is introduced, so that the equipments become compact ones of high performance. (The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chemical Daily June 14, 2005, and The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Nikkei Sango Shimbun (industries and technology) June 15, 2005.)
12.Hydrogen Supply Systems
(1) Toho Gas Co., Ltd. and Nagoya University
Toho Gas Co., Ltd. and Nagoya University started cooperative research on hydrogen supply systems to both of FCV and residences. They are planning a system supplying hydrogen to about 300 homes from a hydrogen station, which is also supplying hydrogen to FCV, for realizing energy saving and large reduction of
CO2 emission in residences. According to estimation by Toho Gas Co., if 35 vehicles are supplied hydrogen from the station everyday in the early propagation stage, reduction of energy consumption by 24 % and
CO2 emission by 22% can be achieved for a whole system. Hereafter they will make detailed estimation and also undertake demonstration test using the hydrogen station. (The Chunichi Shimbun June 16, 2005.)
(2) Njppon Soken Inc.
Nippon Soken Inc. started development of a micro-grid system with DESS consortium consisted of 20 firms including Mitsubihsi Electric Corp., Meidensha Corp., Taisei Corp., etc. This micro-grid system concept aims to realize efficient load following operation of electric generation and heat recovery in cases of FC cogeneration systems introduced to apartment houses, hospitals and so on. 87 million yen subsidiary was received from the Ministry of Environment. Low-cost controlling systems will be developed, and they will establish systems realizing over 40%
CO2 reduction in apartment houses by optimum control. A concrete scheme of the system is that hydrogen produced by a single reforming equipment is supplied to homes with pipe lines, and a control equipment will be developed for optimized operation coping to various electric and heat demands patterns of homes. In demonstration of the micro-grid system going on in Aichi World Exposition, 300 million yen is paid for the control system and the total cost is over 8 billion yen, but the control system cost for 50 – 100 homes is estimated to be reduced to 10 million yen. (The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) June 21, 2005.)
13.Development of Micro-FC and DMFC
(1) DuPont America
This US company published MEA gDuPont GenIVh for DMFC. With this MEA the output density can be increased by about 20%, and the weather endurance and the reliability are two times increased. With this MEA the electric efficiency could be increased and continuous operation time could be largely expanded. (The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) and The Chemical Daily May 26, 2005.)
@E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co. announced on June 9, 2005 that it will newly establish a research facility for development of paints, resins, electronics materials etc. exclusively for automobile, and it will be in Nagoya city. It is mainly for Toyota Motors Corp., and in this automobile center 40 research staffs will be working including staffs from 5 domestic venture companies. They will be engaged in development of fluorocarbon materials, high-performance fibers, materials for FCV, water paints and so on. (The Nihon Keizai Shimbun and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) June 10, 2005.)
(2) Kashihara Manufacturing Co.
Kashihara Manufacturing Co. (Osaka city) developed a technique for perfectly welding ultra-thin metal plates of 0.1 mm thickness at low cost. Within 2005 it will make the automated machines of various usages at the price of about 10 million yen, and sales activity will be focused into micro-FC and electronics parts makers. By using this machine liquid leakage from a sealed fuel container in micro-FC can be prevented. The company completed this development by applying micro-plasma technology using argon gas by getting cooperation with the Advanced Manufacturing Center of the National Institutes of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Tsukuba city). (The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) May 31, 2005.)
(3) Seiko Instruments Inc. (SII)
Seiko Instruments Inc. finished development of a new small size PEFC of large output and high efficiency, in which metal hydride, i.e., sodium borohydride is used as fuel. The size of this micro-FC is 125 mm X 50 mm X 30 mm and the voltage is 5 V. The company aims at real use in digital cameras, DVD etc as power devices. In this system stable reaction proceeds by hydrogen gas control mechanism, though it is passive type. When the pressure decreases by discharge, catalytic solution is flowed into the fuel container by the pressure difference, and the reaction proceeds at the room temperature to form hydrogen. When hydrogen gas fulfills the container, flow of the catalytic solution is stopped because of the low-pressure difference. The metal hydride of sodium borohydride as the fuel does not emit
CO2 when producing hydrogen, and it does not degrade catalyst performance as in DMFC. For the present they are aiming at a system of 1 W as a power source of mobile phones, and in the future they have plan to increase the output to about 3W to cope with demand of digital cameras. (The Denki Shimbun (electricity) June 7, 2005.)
(4) Cosel Co., Saito Mfg. Co. etc.
Cosel Co. and Saito Mfg. Co. (both in Toyama prefecture) made development of small size PEFC for mobile electronics equipments together with the Toyama Prefecural Industrial Technology Center, and it generates electricity by using hydrogen from methanol. They adopted cyclic systems in which up to half of power generated by the FC is used to produce hydrogen, so that generation can continue independently, as far as methanol is supplied. The electrode area is 10
cm2, and the electric output is 70 mW, so that the output density is 7 mW/cm2. The output is aimed at 100 mW at the level of practical use. (The Toyama Shimbun June 10, 2005.)
(5) Star-micronics Co.
Star Precision Co. will exhibit a new product of piezoelectric type diaphram micro-pump gSDMP305h in a trade fair of bio-industry gBIO2005h to be held on June 15 - 19 in Philadelphia to search for needs in US. This pump is featured by low electric consumption, low sound noise and low electromagnetic noise. The maximum flow rate is 5 mmL and it is 3 times higher than gSDMP205h developed in 2004. It is anticipated that it would be used as a pump for fuel supply in micro-FC for mobile phones. (The Shizuoka Shimbun June 15, 2005.)
14.Development and Business Activities of Metrological and Simulation Technologies
(1) Kei Planning Co.
The company (Yokohama city) begins to sell an analytical apparatus of methanol concentration gMethanolyser M1.h The measuring principle is to measure the boiling temperature change by the concentration change, and by this apparatus time needed for measurement is only about 8 minutes, while the conventional apparatus needs several hours. It can also be applied to small amount of methanol solution (8 mL). In the conventional apparatuses infrared light is irradiated to the methanol solution and oscillation of methanol molecules is observed (infrared spectrometry). The price of the apparatus is about 2.5 million yen, while the price of this new apparatus is 0.63 million yen. The company aims to sell the new products to DMFC research institutes and makers, and the 200 sets are expected to be sold in the first year. (The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) May 24, 2005 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) May 25, 2005.)
(2) Shizuoka University and others
On May 25, 2005, Prof. Okano in Faculty of Technology of Shizuoka University published development of simulation software for FC development by collaboration with Canadian Victoria University. By this simulation, place and rate of water formation are calculated for each hydrogen channel in FC together with water amount exhausted to the outside, and remaining water distribution can be simulated. This is useful to develop some device to prevent the water freezing in cold climate. By using this software, FC development can be made efficiently by reducing trial assembly of the stacks. Prof. Okano is expecting development of simulation software for FC systems as a whole till 2007 by collaboration with Victoria University. (The Nikkan Kogyo Simbun (business and technology) and The Shizuoka Shimbun May 26, 2005, and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) May 27, 2005.)
(3) Takasago Ltd.
Takasago Works developed an apparatus gMIU seriesh for multi-channel impedance measurement, and it is developed for battery related fields such as FC and lithium battery. To measure internal resistance within a cell, impedance measurements should be done by changing the frequency, but conventional apparatuses are mainly made for measurement of a single cell and they are inconvenient for measurement of multiple cells connected in series. With this new product, AC impedance measurement is done in the frequency range from 10 mHz to 5 kHz. At the maximum, 41 channels can be measured with a single apparatus and 640 cells can be measured simultaneously by cascade connection using 16 sets. The data acquisition of high rate and large capacity can be done quickly with PC using LAN, and the data can be displayed graphically in Cole-Cole plots. The company is considering addition of functions of data analysis. (The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave) June 20, 2005.)
(4) Okazaki-mfg. Co.
Okazaki Works (Kobe city) finished development of fluorocarbon (PFA resin) coated super-fine thermocouple. (The diameter of the wire is 0.06 mm.) The thermocouples are produced in Akashi Factory, and they willl be soled since July 1. The company expects usage in FC and also in medical thermometry. (The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) June 23, 2005.)
15.Collaboration between Academic and Industrial Sectors
Yokohama National University and Hitachi Ltd. made a comprehensive R & D contract. The R & D items in this contract are improvement of injection performance into engine cylinders, energy management for hybrid cars and development of non-platinum catalyst for FC. By this comprehensive contract, participation of multiple researchers and systematic approaches become easier in addition to participation by individual relations. It is also being considered to allocate budget to collaborative researches. (The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave), The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) and The Chemical Daily June 14, 2005, and The Fuji Sankei Business Eye June 15, 2005.)
Fuji-Keizai completed a report on market for environment solution business, and according to this report the FC market will grow up from 4.4 billion yen in 2004 to 71.2 billion yen in 2008. (The Chemical Daily June 22, 2005.)
------------ This edition is made up as of June 24, 2005. ---------------
A POSTER COLUMN
Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. started sales of cogeneration systems for detached houses since first half of 2005. The company concluded that it takes more time to realize real propagation of town gas fueled PEFC and decided to sell 1 kW cogeneration systems using gas engines, while this gas engine systems have been sold as gEcowillh by 40 town gas companies including Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. and Toho Gas Co., Ltd. The electric efficiency is 20% and lower than that of FC, but the efficiency of overall energy utilization is increased up to 80% or more by hot water supply using exhausted heat. The sales price is estimated about 500 thousand yen when subsidiary can be obtained from the government. Total sets installed till now is 12 thousands. (The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) May 31, 2005.)