THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, SEPTEMBER 2005

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1.National Policies
2.Policies and Activities by Local Governments
3.Development of PEFC Elementary Technologies
4.Cogeneration Business of Home-Use PEFC
5.Evaluation on Demonstration Results of FC Cogeneration for Multiple Homes
6.FCV Forefront
7.Hydrogen Technology Development for Production, Purification and Reforming
8.Development of DMFC and Micro-FC
9.Development and Business Deployment of Ethanol Fueled FC
10.Large-Output Passive PEFC
11.Development of Metrological Technology Related with FC and Hydrogen
A POSTER COLUMN

1.National Policies
(1) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industries and NEDO
In a series of programs for new energy technology development, NEDO will recruit R&D contractors, in order to promote R&D of the next generation FC of high efficiency, high reliability and low cost for FCV.
(The Chemical Daily Aug. 3, 2005.)

(2) Ministry of Land, Transport and Infrastructure
The Ministry of Land, Transport and Infrastructure selected Wakkanai city and Muroran city as model areas for systems of combined utilization of wind generation and FC. The ministry considers a system supplying hydrogen to FC in housing complexes, hospitals etc. by producing hydrogen from biomass and wind resource, rich resources in Hokkaido. It will draw up policy for promoting industries. In Hokkaido CO2 emission per population is by about 30% higher than the Japanese average, while it is abundant in livestock excreta, wind and natural gas. The expense for investigation is totally 53 million yen and the period is up to the end of this fiscal year. It will be done by contract with private firms.
(The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Aug. 8, 2005.)
The Ministry of Land, Transport and Infrastructure accepted 23 tasks as subsidiary activities for advanced technologies related with housing and agriculture. Among them are gHydrogen fueled FC cogeneration in housing complexh by Osaka Gas Co., Ltd., Toshiba Corp. and Chofu Seisakusho Co., Ltd.
(The Chemical Daily Aug. 15, 2005.)
2.Policies and Activities by Local Governments
(1) Yamaguchi Prefecture
The Center for Industrial Technology of Yamaguchi Prefecture will launch into development of sensors for safe management of hydrogen. The center is considering practically applicable sensors, which can detect hydrogen, town gas and other multiple sorts of gases in concentration from several ppm to several tenth within one second. By making use of its own know-how of detecting multiple sorts of gas using light, the center is also investigating development of functional thin films reacting with hydrogen. At the same time, the center will study materials and structures of hydrogen pipes to establish technologies for supplying hydrogen from an industrial complex to residential areas. As the piping system, they are considering double steel pipes in which hydrogen is in the inner pipe and nitrogen is filled between the inner and the outer pipes. They will measure hydrogen leakage from multiple sorts of steel pipe, easily handled polyethylene pipes, joints, bulbs etc. for checking safety of the hydrogen piping systems. Shunan city in Yamaguchi prefecture is no. 1 city in Japan in byproduct hydrogen production, and a model activity is programmed for supplying hydrogen to home-use FC in the fiscal year of 2006. For this target development of sensors and pipes will be made by two month test from September with about 7 million yen budget in the fiscal year of 2005.
(The Chugoku Shimbun July 22, 2005.)

(2) Nagoya City
As a measure to global worming Nagoya City is considering introduction of the FC cogeneration system adopted in the Aichi World Exposition. They are considering municipal facilities for introduction and early realization is also intended. The aim of the city is to draw interest of private firms by visitation etc. for promoting FC propagation.
(The Nikkan Kensetsu Shimbun (construction) Ju.y 25, 2005.)
3.Development of PEFC Elementary Technologies
Prof. Kawakami in the Tokyo Metropolitan University made high polymer proton conductive electrolyte membrane, whose conductivity is 4 times higher than that of Nafion film. It is synthesized by copolymerization of hydrophilic monomer with sulphonic acid group and hydrophobic monomer. Proton can migrate through hydrophilic chains formed by block copolymerization. By the block copolymerization and phase separation, hydrophilic blocks containing sulphonic acid groups occur and thus proton transport channels are formed, so that high proton conductivity can be obtained in comparison with other polymers where sulphonic acid groups occur randomly. The highest working temperature of Nafion is 100, but it is reported that proton conductivity is retained even in high temperature of 250. Because hydrocarbon materials are used, it is cheaper than Nafion, and because halogen is not contained, its impact to the environment is small. Further improvement in endurance etc. is intended for practical application.
(The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) July 26, 2005.)
4.Cogeneration Business of Home-Use PEFC
(1) Panahome Corp.
Since Aug. 1, 2005 Panahome Corp. (Toyonaka city in Osaka prefecture) started sales of 6 houses in Kanagawa prefecture, named gKeihin New City Shonan Otsunookah in which home-use FC cogeneration systems gLifuelh are introduced.
(The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (business and industries), The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nikkan Kensetsu Shimbun (construction) and Fuji Sankei Business Eye July 27, 2005. The Kanagawa Shimbun July 28, 2005. The Chemical Daily July 29, 2005. The Jutaku Shimpo (housing) Aug. 2, 2005. The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave) Aug. 10, 2005)

(2)Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd.
Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. started operation of LPG fueled home-use PEFC of 700 W rated output on Aug. 4, 2005. The company applied to the large-scale stationary FC demonstration project by NEF and it obtained subsidy for 8 sets. This time 1 set was installed in a detached house in Maebashi city of Gumma prefecture among 10 sets freely introduced into10 homes in 8 prefectures. Expenses, such as rental, construction, installation etc., were paid by the company from the subsidy and its own money, so that the users will pay only for consumed LPG. The test period is 2 years.
(The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (business and industries), The Chemical Daily Aug. 5, 2005.)

(3) Nihonkai Gas Co. Ltd.
Nihonkai Gas Co., Ltd. (Toyama city) cooperates with Nippon Oil Corp. in the large-scale demonstration project of stationary FC, and 1 set of LPG fueled PEFC system was installed and started operation in a home in Toyama city on Aug. 8, 2005. The data will be gathered for 3 years and provided to Nippon Oil Corp.
(The Toyama Shimbun Aug. 9, 2005)

(4) Matsumura Bussan Co., Ltd.
The company in Kanazawa city of Ishikawa prefecture installed home-use LPG fueled PEFC gENEOS ECO LP-1hin an employeefs house, and demonstration was started. It will participate the large-scale project of stationary FC by Nippon Oil Corp.
(The Hokoku Shimbun Aug. 9, 2005.)

(5) Hazeyama and Tottori Gas Industry Co., Ltd.
In collaboration with Tottori Gas Industry Co. Ltd., Hazeyama, one company in a group of Tottori Gas Industry Co., Ltd., participates the demonstration project of LPG fueled home-use PEFC systems (750 W) and they will provide data for 3 years aiming at the practical use.
(The Chugoku Shimbun Aug. 16, 2005.)

(6) Kyushu Oil Co., Ltd.
The company announced on Aug. 16, 2005 that 8 sets of FC adopted in the large-scale demonstration project of stationary FC became operated. The PEFC are LP gas types produced by Toshiba FC Systems Corp.
(The Chemical Daily Aug. 17, 2005.)

(7) Nippon Oil Corp. and Ebara Ballard Corp.
On Aug. 17, 2005, Nippon Oil Corp. and Ebara Ballard Corp. announced that demonstration of Kerosene fueled home-use 1 kW PEFC systems started in Yokohama. The demonstration will be done with totally 5 sites including Sapporo city and Sendai city.
(The Sankei Shimbun, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (business and industries), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Dennki Shimbun (electricity), The Chunichi Shimbun, The Hokkaido Shimbun, The Chemical Daily, The Kahoku Nippo Aug. 18, 2005. The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave) Aug. 19, 2005)

(8) Tsurui Sangyo Co., Ltd.
The company in Niigata city announced on Aug. 18, 2005 that it participates the large-scale project of home-use LP gas fueled ENEOS ECO LP-1 and it will begin the demonstration on Aug. 19, 2005.
(The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Aug. 19, 2005.)
5.Evaluation of Demonstration Results of FC Cogeneration for Multiple Homes
On Aug. 18, 2005 Toyota Motor Corp., Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd., Chubu Branch of Urban Renaissance Agency and Toho Gas Co., Ltd. set forth demonstration results of home-use PEFC done from February of 2005. In comparison with conventional house using electricity and town gas, about 13% reduction of energy consumption and about 23% reduction of exhausted CO2 were achieved. Two sets of home-use FC cogeneration were installed in residences for official participants to Aichi World Exposition. Electricity and heat by them are supplied to 4 homes, and a micro-grid supplying electricity and heat were formed using 1 set for 2 homes. By test for 5 months from February to June, it was made clear by calculation that about 8.3% reduction of energy consumption and about 6.1% decrease in CO2 exhaustion were realized in comparison with a case that 1 set is installed in 1 home. In the case of a housing complex further reduction can be expected by the load leveling effect of changing loads. Hereafter up to the end of September including summer, operational data gathering and analysis will be made to examine the reduction effects and to establish optimum operation and control method.
(The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (business and industries), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) and Fuji Sankei Business Eye Aug. 19, 2005.)
6.FCV Forefront
(1) Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Corp.
On July 29, 2005, the two companies made decision of passing up establishment of a joint venture for FCV development.
(The Asahi Shimbun July 30, 2005. The Nishi-Nippon Shimbun and The Chugoku Shimbun July 31, 2005.)

(2) Honda R&D Co., Ltd.
On Aug. 4, 2005, Honda R&D Co., Ltd. announced that it participates in a research group gLiquid Hydrogen Consortium,h which was formed by GM, BMW and parts makers in US and Europe for packing technology of liquid hydrogen for FCV to study standardization of couplers. Honda R&D Co., Ltd. said gCooperative development of FCV is not the purpose. Compressed hydrogen is the favorite of FCV fuel for Honda,h so that information gathering seems their purpose. As to FCV, the president, Mr. Fukui made comment gThe range and cost would be fairly improved for further 10 yearsh showing thought of the commercialization within 10 years.
(The Yumiuri Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, and The Tokyo Shimbun Aug. 4, 2005. The Mainichi Shimbun, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Tokyo Shimbun, The Chunichi Shimbun, The Chugoku Shimbun, The Nishi-Nippon Shimbun, The Hokkaido Shimbun, Fuji Sankei Business Eye and The Kahoku Shimpo Aug. 5, 2005.)
7.Hydrogen Technology Development for Production, Purification and Reforming
(1) JRCM etc.
JRCM, an R&D institute of metallic materials, Nippon Steel Corp. and Teikoku Oil Co., Ltd. have been making cooperative technology development for hydrogen production from coke oven gas (COG). Recently they have constructed a bench-scale testing plant in Nippon Steel Corp. and started operation. On July 25, 2005 the completion ceremony was held at the plant site, and the plant will be fully operated since August for the technological verification and feasibility study. This is the project named gTechnology development of hydrogen production using gases from steel production processesh subsidized by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industries from 2001 to 2005. The Tsukuba University, the Gumma University and the Tohoku University are in cooperation with them in the form of subsidiary studies etc. The fundamental research was done till the last fiscal year, and verification of technological feasibility will be done using this plant as the next step. The main points of this technological development is to develop technology of hydrogen conversion using methane etc in COG by using sensible heat contained in COG and also exhausted heat in steel production processes.
(The Tekko Shimbun (iron and steel) July 25, 2005.)

(2) Mitsubishi Materials Corp.
Mitsubishi Materials Corp. completed technological development of CO2 separation and recovery from gas mixture, and by this technology the recovery can be made by 80% less energy at the highest reduction than by conventional methods. An ionic liquid absorbs only CO2 and phase separation occurs in this liquid phase when CO2 is liquefied. The unique point of this technology is to separate liquid CO2, as it is, from the ionic liquid mixed with CO2 In the conventional gas separation method, CO2 is compressed to liquefy it again for storage and transport. The company is planning demonstration of the facility using this new method within 2 years. Besides energy conservation effect, it is estimated that the recovery cost would be 6 yen/kg, though the cost of conventional method is 10 yen/kg.
(The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (business and industries) July 27, 2005.)

(3) Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. developed PEM water electrolysis method in which oxygen gas liquid separator, hydrogen gas liquid separator and ion exchange membrane filter are unified. It is realized to make the system compact, simple and cheap, and furthermore, improvements in energy efficiency and cell endurance are expected. The unified equipment is not influenced by the heat of electrolysis, and circulation is done in the hydrogen electrode side to keep the stacks in a uniform temperature. According to the initial performance test, the current density, the average cell voltage, the current efficiency (at the electrolysis pressure of 0.7 MPa) and the energy efficiency are, respectively, 1 A/cm2, 1.63 V, 98.2% and 89.4%. By making separators, electric distributors and MEA laterally uniform and by reducing contact resistance and pressure loss, the energy efficiency of 82.6% at the current density of 2 A/cm2 was achieved.
(The Chemical Daily Aug. 2, 2005.)

(4) Nippon Steel Corp.
Nippon Steel Corp. developed technology to efficiently produce hydrogen from sludge in sewage. In this process oxygen is added into sludge dried in a furnace and organic substances in the sludge are partly oxidized. Thus the organic substances can be converted into hydrogen containing gas. The amount of hydrogen production is double of that by methane fermentation, and the treatment cost is about half of burning treatment. With an experimental facility of about 10 ton/day 150 m3 of hydrogen can be produced from 1 ton of dried sludge. The residue after the treatment is molten ash and it is reusable as building material. The production cost is estimated less than 20 yen/m3 of hydrogen. Furthermore, sludge is not burnt out, so that fuel such as heavy oil is unnecessary and energy consumption becomes half of the conventional burning treatment. The treatment cost, therefore, is estimated to be 10,000 yen/ton of sludge. At present about 2.1 million tons of sludge occurs annually, and about 70% is buried after burning.
(The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Aug. 5, 2005.)
8.Development of DMFC and Micro-FC
(1) Nagoya Institute of Technology
Prof. Nogami and his group of graduate students in Nagoya Institute of Technology developed electrolyte membrane, which can improve electric generation performance of DMFC. Permeation of methanol is suppressed by inorganic component impregnated into surface of Nafion, so that the current density becomes 1.5 times higher than before. Because it is difficult to impregnate polymerized inorganic component, metal alcoxide as the precursor of inorganic component is impregnated first and then it is polymerized by sol-gel method. Describing in detail, Nafion is dipped into alcohol solution of the alcoxide to impregnate the inorganic component, and then it is dipped into acidic solution for hydrolysis of the alcoxide. The polymerization proceeds by dipping it into alkali solution, and it is further dipped into phosphoric acid solution to increase the proton conductivity. In the polymerization the conditions of the temperature, concentration etc. of the acidic solution and alkali solution are important. When the thus modified Nafion membrane is in contact with methanol, the expansion is hard to occur.
(The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun Aug. 1, 2005.)

(2) Seiko Instruments Inc.
Seiko Instruments Inc. has developed small size FC of high efficiency, in which hydrogen is produced from metal hydride, i.e., sodium boron hydride (NaBH4) at the ambient temperature. The rate of hydrogen production is controlled by its unique controlling mechanism by using hydrogen pressure change in the FC. By this mechanism a passive type of large-output FC can be made without any auxiliary component like pumps. Sodium boron hydride produces hydrogen when it is mixed with water, but malic acid is adopted as catalyst to increase the controllability. It was confirmed that the prototype system can be operated for about 8 hours at output of 1 W and 5 V. A charger for mobile phones, a digital camera and a note type personal computer are forecasted applications.
(The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Aug. 2, 2005 and The Chemical Daily Aug. 5, 2005.)

(3) Millennium Cell, Inc.
A development team in Millennium Cell, Inc. (New Jersey), in which Dow Chemical etc. are participating, made contract of financial support with NCMC to develop a commercial production process of FC cartridges aiming at practical use of portable FC. What Millennium Cell is developing is a system producing nigh quality hydrogen from Sodium Boron Hydride.
(The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chemical Daily Aug. 4, 2005.)

(4) NTT DoCoMo, Inc.
NTT DoCoMo, Inc. made decision of promoting three items for the power sources of a next generation mobile phone. They are FC, lithium ion battery and solar cells, FC being the main item. In collaboration with a research center of Fujitsu, Ltd., NTT DoCoMo, Inc. is making development of DMFC to charge lithium ion battery built in the phone from outside, but development of built-in FC is also being made aiming at commercialization after 2008. According to the future FC development schedule, commercialization of the charger type will be done in 2006 and then production of the built-in type for practical use will be started in 2008. The final target is to replace lithium ion battery by FC.
The Chemical Daily Aug. 8, 2005.
9.Development and Business Deployment of Ethanol Fueled FC
Sumitomo Corp. and its subsidiary company, SUMMIT MEDI-CHEM,LTD. get exclusive sales license of FC catalyst in Japan, Korea and Taiwan from an Italian VB, Acta Spa which developed the catalyst. This is a catalyst for ethanol fueled FC and larger output is anticipated theoretically than DMFC. The Italian VB developed technology by which fine metallic catalyst of 0.3 – 0.7 nanometer diameter can be dispersed, and it succeeded in reduction of platinum catalyst to 1/10 for DMFC. Concurrently the VB developed ethanol fueled FC using catalyst of cobalt, nickel and iron. Being different from poisonous methanol, ethanol can be carried into aircrafts. Hereafter it is anticipated that commercialization will proceed, and they will sell it to research institutes, universities and firms. Five million yen sales as a sample in the first year and 5 billion yen sales in 2008 are the target.
(The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun Aug. 15, 2005.)
10.Large-Output Passive PEFC
DAIDO METAL CO., LTD. launched into development to make passive PEFC of several hundreds W output. In this passive type FC, auxiliary components, such as pumps, blowers, humidifiers etc. are not necessary. This company is developing, producing and providing various FC from a super-miniaturized single cell of several mW output to 70 W FC for a racing car (a mini-car) for economy runs. The company is planning to enlarge FC output and it will strengthen market exploitation making full use of their unique features of compact light-weight passive FC.
(The Chemical Daily Aug. 16, 2005.)
11.Development of Metrological Technology Related with FC and Hydrogen
(1) Hitachi, Ltd.
Hitachi, Ltd. finished development of a hydrogen sensor of thin film TFT semiconductor and a system for hydrogen detection using the sensor. The details are as follows. The performances of the sensor are high sensitivity of 100 ppm and short response time of less than 1 second. The system consisted of sensor nodes with several sets of the sensors, access points, a server etc. can detect hydrogen at multiple sites and the data are gathered by wireless transmission. An experiment of hydrogen leakage was made, and the following points were confirmed. Hydrogen concentration data were sent to the server within 3 seconds after the sensor detected the leakage. Hydrogen concentrations at 10 sites were measured and distribution of hydrogen concentration in air was displayed on the server.
(The Chemical Daily July 28, 2005.)

(2) Yamari Industry
Yamari Industry (Takatsuki city in Osaka prefecture) produces temperature sensors for FC in mass-production scale. A new factory will be built in the headquarter area and 2 production lines of full automation will be constructed for sheathed thermocouples used for temperature measurement in FC reformers etc. It is expected that the production started in December, aiming at the annual production of 500 thousands for FC.
(The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Aug. 1, 2005.)

------------ This edition is made up as of August 19, 2005. ---------------

A POSTER COLUMN

Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. Changed Policy to Sell Gas Engine Type Cogeneration Systems
Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. will begin to sell gas engine type cogeneration systems for home use since January of 2006. Till now the company has been injecting its power into PEFC systems, but it changed policy watching the delay in PEFC development. The company adopted gas engine type cogeneration systems as an alternative. These systems have been sold by other town gas suppliers as gEcowillh and the company is considering to develop them to new merchandises competing with all electrified residences. A 1 kW output engine by Honda R&D Co., Ltd. is set in Ecowill, and the energy efficiency is higher than that of the PEFC systems. Thus it is suitable for homes of much hot water consumption.
(The Asahi Shimbun Aug. 5, 2005.)