(1) Hokkaido Development Agency
On July 13, 2005 Hokkaido Development Agency of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Infrastructure published summary of investigation results for development projects of Hokkaido, which investigation was done in the fiscal year of 2004. Six items .are described including investigation of model projects for construction of hydrogen community focused at heat utilization technology. Investigation of construction of community for utilizing low temperature heat sources, such as snow and ice, is also included. Especially as to models for construction of the hydrogen community, two models were studied; one is Sapporo city as a large city model and the other is Takigawa city as a local city model. Firstly policies for introductory promotion and regal regulation of hydrogen and FC are investigated as well as efforts by companies. Secondly, hydrogen adaptable models were established and industrial policies were studied. Based on these results, it discussed possibilities of creation and development of hydrogen and FC related industries compatible with social trends.
(The Nikkan Kensetus Kogyo Shimbun (construction) July 20, 2005.)
NEDO succeeded in an attempt at Aichi World exposition. In this attempt methane produced by methane fermentation using garbage is supplied to fuel cells, and the fermentation residue is mixed with wood chip to produce compost. Furthermore, the compost is used to cultivate tomatoes, and the harvested tomatoes stand comparison with those obtained in the market.
(The Fuji Sankei Business Eye, July 14, 2005.)
2.Personnel Change in International Standardization
Mr. Fujisawa, the Chief Engineer of Hitachi Ltd. was recently elected as the international chairman of IEC – TC 105. The term of the present Canadian chairman will end at the end of August, and Mr. Fujisawa will take the chair since September 1, 2005.
(The Denki Shimbun (electricity) July 27, 2005 and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) July 28, 2005.)
3.Policies by Local Governments
(1) Aichi Prefecture
For propagation of FCV gAichi Association for Promotion of FCV Propagationh was established on July 1, 2005 to promote related projects by collaboration between the government and firms. Besides Aichi Prefecture, Toyota City and Tokoname City joined together with automobile makers and fuel suppliers including Toyota Motor Corp. and Toho Gas Co., Ltd. Their purposes are publicity and propagation of FC as well as support of FC researches.
(The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) June 29, 2005, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) June 30, 2005 and The Chunichi Shimbun July 2, 2005.)
(2) Yamaguchi Prefecture
Together with Shunan City Yamaguchi Prefecture makes a proposition of a special area called gSpecial Area for Environmentally Benign Industrial Complex.h They are planning gHydrogen Town Model Projecth in which hydrogen formed in factories in Shunan complex is supplied to home-use FC with pipe lines.
(The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (business and technology) June 29, 2005.)
(3) Hiroshima Prefecture
Hiroshima Prefecture is making two competitions for planning of investigation, i.e., new energy vision making for communities (investigation for energy utilization of garbage etc.) and investigation for promotion of FC etc. At the present they are looking for propositions. The latter aims at propagation of hydrogen related technologies owned by firms in the prefecture. Examples are FC, FCV utilizing hydrogen, and hydrogen production using biomass. It is expected that propositions would be based on new energy vision for communities proposed by Hiroshima Prefecture. They will accept propositions for propagation of hydrogen related technology developed by firms, universities and research institutes in the prefecture or those for investigating demonstration models of utilization of hydrogen produced from biomass. The interim review report will be made in the beginning of November of 2005, and the final report will be done by the end of January of 2006.
(The Nikkan Kensetsu Kogyo Shimbun (construction) July 20, 2005.)
(4) Himeji Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Himeji Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized a research group for hydrogen business by 23 member companies. It gives opportunities to participating companies to get hints to enter hydrogen-related industries. In Himeji city hydrogen producing factories and a liquid natural gas base are installed, so that it is considered feasible to create hydrogen-related new business by integrating technologies of member companies in metal, machinery, electric and chemical industries.
(The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) July 20, 2005.)
4.Elementary Technology Development and Commercialization of PEFC
(1) Showa Denko KK
Aiming at 2008 Showa Denko KK taps new market of separators made by molding carbon-resin composite. The company developed 20 – 30 micron m fine graphite powder of optimized shape and graphite content was decreased to 80 weight % and 70 volume %. It succeeded in improvement of electrical conductivity, mechanical strength and endurance simultaneously by making composite with thermosetting resin of polybutadiene or thermoplastic resin of polypropylene and also by adding boron. By this improvement the weight decreases to 1/10 in comparison with metallic separators and the thickness was also decreased to 1.5 mm, while the production rate was increased to be 15 seconds per one sheet. Since the technological target was almost achieved, further cost reduction is being pursued and it is also pursued to make it thinner for space reduction.
(The Chemical Daily July 15, 2005.)
(2) Matsushita Electric Industry Co. Ltd.
Matsushita Electric Industry Co., Ltd. has been making efforts for total cost reduction of home-use PEFC systems by cost reductions in components of PEFC stacks, reformers and operating systems. In these R&D optimized catalytic materials, membrane materials and gas diffusion layer materials are used and it was achieved by devising a new molding method to reduce electrode catalyst amount to 1/3 in comparison with conventional ones, i.e., down to 0.1
mg/cm2. In the reformer and the other fuel treatment equipments, characteristics of reforming catalyst, conversion catalyst, selective oxidation catalyst were optimized, and amount of rare earth metal catalyst, cerium oxide can be reduced to 5 g or less. In other elements, down sizing, unification of the inverters and unification of the exhausted heat exchangers were made, while selection of a low cost hot water pump by improving circulation channels and adoption of a low-cost sensing circuit were done for further cost reduction. By these efforts, the electric efficiency at the rated power and that at 300 W output are achieved to be 32% and 26%, respectively, while the efficiency of hot water recovery at the rated output and that at 300 W output are respectively 49% and 36%. Moreover, the electric consumption at start-up was reduced by 30%.
(The Chemical Daily July 19, 2005.)
(3) Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.
Asahi Glass Co., Ltd. strengthens the activities for promotion of MEA business for PEFC. A commercial production facility, whose scale is much larger than that of the present pilot plant, will be constructed aiming at the summer of 2006. Besides the above enlarged supply capacity, trial product of final version will be developed by the end of this year, based on the present membrane of high endurance of 4,000 hour continuous operation under high temperature and low humidity conditions of
120 and 50% humidity.
(The Chemical Daily July 21, 2005.)
5.Development Activities and Operation of Home-Use and Business-Use PEFC Systems
(1) Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd.
Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. started operation of the second trial product of 1 kW kerosene-fueled PEFC system since June 29, 2005 at the central research center. The electric generating efficiency at the output of the system and the overall efficiency including the heat recovery are published to be respectively 33% (LHV) and 70%. By the further test operation it will make effort for solution of the problems concerning the fundamental performance, such as electric efficiency, heat recovery efficiency etc., as well as shortening of the start-up time, controllability and life, These are done aiming at participation into the large-scale national demonstration project since the fiscal year of 2006.
(The Denki Shimbun (electricity) July 1, 2005 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun July 8, 2005.)
(2) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. announced on July 1, 2005 that it made a contract with 5 banks on preference in housing loan. The aimed customers are those planning to adopt its gTES hot water floor heatingh and gFC cogeneration systemh on new house building, reforming or extending, and the other condition is that they are the customers using town gas supplied by Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd.
(The Denki Shimbun (electricity) July 4, 2005.)
Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. recently got prospects that it would install 100 sets of home-use FC gLIFUELh by June of 2005. The target by the end of this fiscal year is 200 sets. 100 sets confirmed to be installed are 1 kW systems assembled of its own town gas reformers and PEFC by Ebara Ballard Corp. and 1 kW systems by Matsushita Electric Industry Co., Ltd. which makes both of the reformer and the PEFC stacks.
(The Chemical Daily July 5, 2005.)
Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. is looking for those who hope to install the home-use cogeneration system.
(The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Nikkan Kensetsu Shimbun (construction) July 7, 2005.)
The aimed R&D goal of PEFC systems to be achieved until 3 years later by Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. are 4,000 start and stop cycles (double the present 2,000 cycles) and 300 W lower output limit. Over 40,000 hour life is also to be achieved together with improvement of maturity and performances of the systems.
(The Chemical Daily July 15, 2005.)
(3) Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and Nippon Oil Corp.
The two companies announced on June 27 that they installed a kerosene-fueled 10 kW PEFC system at Hiroshima Diamond Hotel and started the field test. Because 24 hour electric demand occurs in a hotel and hot water demand is also large, hotels are suitable for use of PEFC. Although kerosene is cheap, it needs high-level technology in reforming, because of its high carbon content. Nippon Oil Corp. takes charge of development of reformers and catalysts, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. made development of FC stacks. The goals of this system are 36% (LHV) electric efficiency of the system and 76% overall efficiency, and commercialization within the fiscal year of 2006 is also the aim.
(The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chugoku Shimbun June 28, 2005, and The Chemical Daily June 29, 2005.)
(4) Toshiba Corp.
For commercialization of home-use PEFC, Toshiba Corp. established a new structure. In this new structure Toshiba FC Systems Corp. produces the stacks and a subsidiary company, Toshiba Home Techno Corp. assembles the systems. The reformers are partly made by the company, but they are basically got from outside.
(The Chemical Daily July 22, 2005)
6.Development of Portable PEFC
Bantec Co. (Nasu-Shiobara city, Tochigi prefecture) finished development of small and portable low-pressure type PEFC systems of 600 W output in cooperation with Q M Soft Co. (Fukuoka prefecture). Hydrogen absorbing alloy is used for fuel storage. Two types, gshoulder type portable earth saverh and gcaster type portable earth saver,h are produced and they begin to sell them since July 13. The weight of the shoulder type and that of the caster type are respectively 26 kg and 48 kg, and the price is 2.5 million yen. The usages are thought to be emergency, disasters, tunnel construction, leisure and so on.
(The Chemical Daily July 14, 2005, The Tekko Shimbun (iron and steel) July 21, 2005 and The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave) July 22, 2005.)
(1) Honda R&D Co., Ltd
On June 24, 2005 Honda R&D Co., Ltd. made press-exhibition of its FCV gFCX,h whose license (Honda ZBA-ZC2) was obtained from the Ministry of Land, Transport and Infrastructure. The maximum speed and the range are respectively 150 km/h and 430 km. Hydrogen is stored in 156.6 L tank at 35 MPa pressure. The present price is several hundred millions yen, but Mr. Kami, the chief researcher, stated gthe price in 2010 would be 10 millions yen and that would be 5 millions yen in 2010. The propagation to general uses would be made till 2020, otherwise the technology would disappear.h
(The Nikkan Jidosha Shinbun (automobile), The Tokyo Shimbun and The Chunichi Shimbun June 25, 2005.)
On June 29, 2005 America Honda Co. leased a FCV gFCXh to a citizen living in California, and the lease will be made for 2 years at 500 dollars per month. It will be used as a commuter car. Hydrogen is supplied at a research center near the userfs home. The comments as a user will be reported to the company.
(The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun and The Tokyo Shimbun June 30, 2005, and The Mainichi Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Chugoku Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye and The Kahoku Simpo July 1, 2005.)
Honda R&D Co., Ltd. begins to examine its withdrawal from California FC Partnership (CaFCP) in order to concentrate its resources at its own research themes by withdrawing the resources from basic research for development and to prepare for future competitive era. Companies participating CaFCP need to pay 84,000 dollars, but Honda R&D Co., Ltd. stated that it is not the money, but it is the point that the initial purpose of CaFCP has been achieved.
(The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) July 1, 2005.)
Honda R&D Co., Ltd. announced start of lease of FC Bikes since 2009.
(The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun, The Tokyo Shimbun, The Chugoku Shimbun and the Kahoku Shimpo July 21, 2005.)
(2) Volvo group
Swedish Volvo group started development of FC for onboard power sources. Volvo Technology and Norwegian STATOIL established a specific company and made development to install FC on a commercially available model car within several years. They think installation on large trucks to be promising, especially in US and Japan, where drivers have habit to take rest and nap while the engines are idling.
(The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) June 25, 2005.)
(3) Idemitsu Kosan Co, Ltd.
A FCV gFCXh car made a record of total range of 20,000 km on June 27, 2005. The car was leased by Honda R&D Co. Ltd. to Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. in March of 2004.
(The Chemical Daily July 4, 2005.)
On July 4, 2005 Daimler Chrysler Japan Co., Ltd. (DCJ) published that it established a center for development of advanced automobile technology in Yokohama. It will make developments in accordance with trends in Japanese market. The themes of the development are onboard two-way information exchange technology, FC technology, driver support system including crash prevention, and so on.
(The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun July 5, 2005.)
On July 30 and 31, 2005, JHFC sponsored by Japan Automobile Research Institute and ENAA will hold events of FC in gSun Rural Oogata Areah in Oogata village in Akita Prefecture.
(The Sankei Business Eye July 5, 2005.)
8.Other Mobile FC Power Sources
Species Co. (Tokyo) developed a two-leg walking small robot gSpecies FCh powered by an installed FC. It is 50 cm tall and it weighs 4.2 kg. A compressed hydrogen cylinder of 16 L capacity is set at the neck and it is operated by a personal computer with wireless LAN. A power source of 5 FC stacks is set at arms etc, and operation can be done for 1 hour by one charge of hydrogen. The annual sales target is 10 sets.
(The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) June 28, 2005. The Asahi Shimbun, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Chunichi Shimbun, The Hokkaido Shimbun and The Fuji Sankei Business Eye June 30, 2005.)
9.Development of Hydrogen Forming and Reforming Technology
Taiyo Oil Co., Hagio High Pressure Container Co., Uzushio Electric Co. and Ehime University carry out collaborative development of a new high-performance desulfurizer for LPG. By using spattering instead of conventional dipping, catalyst of reduced metal amount with enlarged surface area is being developed aiming at long life and down sizing.
(The Chemical Daily July 21, 2005.)
10.Development and Commercialization of Micro-DMFC
By cooperation with Hitachi Ltd., Hitachi Cable Ltd. finished development of metallic material suitable for practical use as separators for DMFC. By applying nano-technology they can realize long life necessary for separators of DMFC. Stainless steel surface is claded by titanium based methanol-anticorrosive metal, and nano-size noble metal powders are attached on it to improve electric conductivity and corrosion resistance. According to the company, the life of the separators increased to 3,000 hours and it is 5 times longer than that of the conventional metallic separators. The production cost of this new separators assuming mass production is estimated to be decreased to 1/50 to 1/100.
(The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) June 30, 2005.)
(2) NTT DoCoMo, Inc. and Fujitsu Research Center
The above two published that they made trial products of DMFC for the third generation mobile phone gFOMA.h The energy capacity is increased by 3 times. Call for 6 hours is possible at its longest, and continuous 8 hour call can be made, when it is combined with a built-in lithium ion battery. The electric energy capacity is increased by increasing the methanol concentration from 30% to 99%. The mobile phone is mounted on the charger connected to the phone, and the cartridge of 18 cc fuel capacity is fitted to the charger. They aimed at practical use in 2007.
(The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave), The Chunichi Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye and the Chemical Daily July 7, 2005.)
(3) KDDI Corp.
In gWireless Japan 2005h KDDI Corp. exhibited two types of DMFC; one is to charge the lithium secondary battery in the mobile phone and the other is a mockup of DMFC built-in a mobile phone. These two are developed by collaboration with Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp., respectively. The outputs of these two are both about 1 W. The former type cooperatively developed with Hitachi, Ltd. is a cartridge type, and the duration by one charge is about 1 hour for a 2 mL capacity cartridge or 5 hours for another 5 mL cartridge. The latter type developed with Toshiba Corp. is a type of a built-in tank, whose capacity is 20 mL, and the duration by one charge is about 20 hours, comparable to 7 lithium secondary batteries.
(The Chemical Daily, July 21, 2005.)
(4) Chemics Co.
Chemics Co. (Sagamihara city) developed a small DMFC, which can easily be assembled and disassembled. The width and height are both 4.6 cm and the thickness is 3 cm. The output is 50 mW using methanol solution of 10% concentration. It is thought to be useful for understanding structure of FC, and the company aims at sales to universities, research institutes and firms making FC R&D. The price is 33,000 yen per one set and the annual sales of 5,000 sets are expected.
(The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun July 14, 2005.)
11.Business Concerning Micro-FC Development
An organization for standardization, gMobile PC Extended Battery Life Working Grouph (EBLWG), organized by major PC related companies like Intel, published guideline concerning standardization of FC for a note-type PC. The guideline covers fields of electricity, machinery, control, heat, environment and regulation of FC for PC, and describes new technology of non-built-in types FC replacing AC adapters. In a note-type PC electric demand changes depending on functions, but electric supply by FC is rather constant, so that high technology is needed to adjust FC to this purpose. The guideline by EBLWG provides all necessary information for developing FC fitted to consumersf needs. It becomes driving force in this business field.
(The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave) June 28, 2005.)
12.Metrological Technology Related with FC and Hydrogen
Kyoto Electric Industry Co., Ltd. (Kyoto city) announced on July 7, 2005 that it succeeded in development of built-in methanol sensors for FC in collaboration with a US company, ISSYS (Integrated Sensing Systems). It is a micro-sensor made by using micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS). They are expecting to use it for DMFC for a note-type PC and a portable video camera. By inserting this sensor into a pipe supplying methanol, measurement of the methanol concentration can be done in real time without influence of atmospheric temperature and byproducts.
(The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Kyoto Shimbun July 8, 2005.)
13.Business of Cogeneration Equipment for Food Recycling
Nihon Ecopower Corp. held an exhibition for invited people in Tokyo Ecopower Generation Center located in Edogawa Ward. In the exhibition a recycle equipment for food garbage named gEcogeneh was shown and it will be commercialized since July 1. gEcogeneh uses biomass FC generator and it draws attention as an urban recycling equipment, which totally processes garbage disposed in its own community. This company succeeded in electric generation by biomass FC in 1999, and these FCs are sold as mass production products in combination with equipments for regenerating processed water. When garbage like food residue except a few varieties is injected, whole processes from smashing garbage through methane gas formation to electric generation are automatically made. Daily processed amount is 300 kg/day, and 15 kg garbage can be injected once. Generating power by methanization is 48 kW at its maximum. Mr. Fujihwara, a representative executive, said gIn China FC development is proceeding and the FC is cheap. By using the Chinese made FC, cost reduction can be done and mass production became feasible. We are expecting it as a final urban recycling equipment.h The sales in the first fiscal year are expected to be 120 sets and 2.4 billions yen.
(The Shokuhin Sangyo Shimbun (food industry) June 27, 2005.)
------------ This edition is made up as of July 22, 2005. ---------------
A POSTER COLUMN
Eight Wheel Electric Car gElicarh on Public Road
Eight wheel electric car gElicarh developed by Keio University together with about 30 companies including Eneserve and Daiwa House Industry Co. obtained a official number plate, and it firstly ran on public roads around Mita campus of Keio University. The length of the car is about 5 m and the width is about 2 m. This silver car can accommodate 5 persons. To increase the stability on curves 4 wheels are attached in the front and the 4 wheels in the rear.
The energy consumption is about 1/4 and very efficient in comparison with gasoline cars, and its acceleration is higher than that of high-class sport cars. The digits in the number plate 370 means its maximum speed of 370 km/h, and it takes only 7 seconds to accelerate the car to 160 km/h. The up-to-date lithium batteries on board can be charged within about 4 minutes and the range by one charge is about 200 km. The researcher told that disadvantages of conventional electric cars could be overcome.
It is planned that about 200 cars would be produced in 2008 by order.
(The Nihon Keizai Shimbun July 5, 2005.)
Increasing Presence of Hybrid Cars
Movement toward enlarging hybrid car market is being activated. Toyota Motors Corp. promotes production in US and China, while Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Honda R&D Co. Ltd. also begin to produce hybrid cars in US. Honda developed a new hybrid system and will install it in new Civic in autumn. Because of oil price increase, needs for hybrid cars of low oil consumption are anticipated to become much more than before.
In the world 50,000 hybrid cars Prius have been sold. It is in 1969 that Toyota started the development of hybrid cars. Then staffs in the development have believed possibility that great revolution may happen, and they grew up it to be a main low emission car through many trial and errors.
In 2004 Toyota sold 2.6 times more hybrid cars of all types than in the previous year. Mr. Watanabe, the president enthusiastically asserted gIt is earnestly anticipated that the worldwide sales become 1 million as early as possible, and hereafter car types to be produced and market areas shall be made precise.h As to Honda the worldwide sales of the present Civic type increased by 18.5% in comparison with the previous year, and total 28,424 cars were sold. Impetus is expected in the market by the new hybrid systems to be installed newly.
According to estimation by the Ministry of Environment, difference in price of new cars between gPriush of Toyota and a base car gAlionh is 550,000 yen, but when the car runs 50,000 km for 5 years using advantage in tax, the difference in expense of purchase and maintenance decreases to be 118,000yen. If the mass production would be accelerated hereafter, the price difference would be decreased furthermore.
(The Fuji Sankei Business Eye July 19, 2005 and The Yomiuri Shimbun July 20, 2005.)