(1) Ministry of Environment
ü@Ministry of Environment decided to introduce a set of hydrogen fueled 2 kW output PEFC into the ministry as a trial operation. The lease rate of the PEFC is 300,000 yen/month and the generation cost is about 700 yen/kWh. Because hydrogen is supplied directly from a hydrogen cylinder, construction for installation is unnecessary and exhausted heat is little. The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Chemical Daily Aug. 23, 2005.
(2) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industries
ü@Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industries decided to establish ügAdvanced Hydrogen Science and Technology Research Centerüh (tentative) by gathering about 40 top experts from Japan and overseas, and it will make research on fundamental mechanism of hydrogen embrittlement for 7 years since 2006 fiscal year. In addition to materials industries, such as steel, aluminum, nonferrous metals etc., participation of users like automobile makers is solicited, and the project will be promoted by collaboration among industries, government and academic sector. Development of highly durable new alloys is expected by elucidating mechanism of hydrogen embrittlement. The Chemical Daily Sept. 7, 2005.
ü@The ministry and ügOsaka FCV Promotion Congressüh will hold a technological conference and a trade fair named ügEXPO Seminar in Osakaüh on Nov. 29 and 30, 2005 in Osaka International Convention Center. It is in a series of activity of ügPublicity for Strategic Promotion of FC Introductionüh by the ministry. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 7, 2005.
ü@In order to speed up cost reduction of home-use PEFC, the ministry recently solidified to release specification of PEFC auxiliary components of 5 companies, Ebara Ballard Corp., Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd., Toshiba FC Systems Corp., Fuji Electric Advanced Technology Co., Ltd. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. Because half of the cost of PEFC systems is those of auxiliary components, such as pumps and blowers, the ministry concluded that the development should be promoted by releasing the specifications as well as by using common components in order to commercialize the systems of price below 1 million yen/set. Concretely, the release will be made without the name of company considering confidential matters of the companies, and the ministry is also examining the range of the common components for releasing the specifications. The Chemical Daily Sept. 16, 2005.
2.PAFC Business Deployment
ü@Anticipating new large scale market of PAFC, such as future power sources for hospitals and small scale hydrogen station, Fuji Electric Advanced Technology Co., Ltd. decided policy to grow up PAFC business to 10 billion yen business. The company considers that sales for hospitals should be strengthened since the next fiscal year, taking account of amendment of the fire fighting law, while it should match other competitive power sources by further cost reduction. Moreover the company aimed at future infrastructure of hydrogen. If the company develops a system in which town gas can be instantaneously switched to LP gas, an advantage that the system can be used usually as well as in emergency is a sales point to hospitals. For hydrogen infrastructure, hydrogen can be produced by operating only the reformer in the night, when the electric load becomes low. Recently the market of PAFC is becoming wide for instance in sewage disposal facilities etc. The exhausted heat can be used for incubation of bacteria and it can also be used in absorption refrigerator for air conditioning. Thus PAFC has characteristics for a widely applicable dispersed power system. It should also be pointed out that PAFC is a power source in RPS (special measure law for utilization of new energy etc.). The Chemical Daily Sept. 16, 2005.
3.Development and Business Deployment of SOFC
ü@Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd. introduced a large-scale production facility producing electrolyte sheets for SOFC in its Himeji factory and enlarged production scale from 100,000 sheets annually to 1 million sheets (5 inch size) annually. Because inquiries are increasing mainly from oversea FC makers and future demand increase is anticipated in the domestic market, the company decided to promote market exploitation by establishing mass production facility. The company is also developing SOFC cells and the company intends to cultivate new business from electrolyte to cell. The company developed thin zirconia sheets by its own powder handling technology and ceramic sintering technology, and it supplied zirconia sheets to a Swiss company, Sulzer Hexis (SH) since 2001. SH produces home-use 1 kW SOFC systems and installed over 100 sets mainly in Europe. In cooperation with Toho Gas Co., Ltd., it started R&D of SOFC cells with the electrolyte technology as core. Though the electrolytes show the same strength as conventional electrolyte materials, excellent ion conductivity is observed in the temperature range from 800oC to 900oC. It is forecasted that small SOFC is propagated in home use and business use from 2008 to 2010, and early commercialization is intended in accordance with this forecast. The Chemical Daily Aug. 24, 2005.
4.R&D of PEFC Elementary Technology
(1) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
ü@In August Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. achieved total 40,000 hour electric power generation in long term PEFC small single cell test started in 1998. The company stated that by this achievement they could accumulate knowledge on conditions for long endurance and aging factors. MEA of 40,000 hour endurance is that made 5 years before, and MEA improved later are now under the operating test. The final goal is aimed at over 90,000 hours. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Aug. 26, 2005.
(2) Asahi Kasei Corp.
ü@Asahi Kasei Corp. has developed new fluorocarbon polymer electrolyte for PEFC. By reconsidering structure from molecular level, it succeeded in optimization of structure in proximity of sulfonic acid group and also in large improvement of thermal stability and mechanical characteristics in high temperature. Especially the onset temperature of thermal decomposition became
393üÄ and it is 76üÄ higher than that of conventional one. Thermal stability of fluorocarbon sulfonic acid polymer depends on structure where sulfonic acid group attached, and it was found that the thermal stability is remarkably improved by increasing number of
CF2 units to 4 or more from conventional 2 repeating units. By adopting short side chain structure, the mechanical characteristics (the glass transition temperature) are improved, while proton conductivity is increased by increasing exchange group density. Thus they examined synthetic method for the 4 or more
CF2 units and the short side chain structure without long connecting chain, and they developed highly economic production technology. By these improvements the glass transition temperature became
144üÄ by increase of 19üÄ and the proton conductivity increased from 0.1 S/cm2 to 0.14
S/cm2. The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) and the Chemical Daily Sept. 14, 2005.
5.Development, Demonstration and Business Deployment of Home Use PEFC Systems
(1) Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd.
ü@Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. newly set a project for real mass production of home-use PEFC, ügLow Cost Project.üh The company decided a policy for promoting the propagation by realizing 1 kW PEFC of 10 year life and less than 1 million yen price since 2008. The company has been making full development from town gas reformers to PEFC stacks. By utilizing these accomplishments, they set the following goals; endurable on-off switching frequency shall be over 3,000, while the operating life shall be over 60,000 hours and the operating temperature shall be increased by
10üÄ aiming at high efficiency. The Chemical Daily Aug. 23, 2005.
(2) JA Zen-Noh and Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd.
ü@On Sept. 13, 2005 the central organization of Japan Agricultural Cooperatives, JA Zen-Noh, started demonstration test of home-use PEFC systems for practical use with Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. The FC used is a LP gas fueled 700 W PEFC and one set is installed in a dormitory of a sales and technology center in Hiratsuka city, Kanagawa prefecture to supply electricity and hot water to the janitorüfs rooms. The Nihon Nogyo Shimbun (agriculature) Sept. 14, 2005 and The Chemical Daily Sept. 16, 2005.
(3) Saibu Gas Co., Ltd.
ü@The company will start demonstration test of cogeneration systems of home-use PEFC since Oct. Using subsidiary from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industries, the company will introduce 10 systems of different makers into employeesüf houses. The data will be accumulated and they will be used for selection of system makers. The Nishi-Nihon Shimbun Sept. 16, 2005.
(1) Toyota Motor Corp.
ü@On Sept. 2, 2005 Toyota Motor Corp. set forth that hydrogen leakage was found from a fuel tank of ügToyota FCVüh in US, and total 16 cars, i.e., 14 cars leased in Japan and US and 2 cars lent to Aichi World Exposition, were voluntarily recalled. New cars leased since July, 2005 are not included. The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Tokyo Shimbun, The Chunichi Shimbun Sept. 3, 2005.
ü@JHFC (The secretariat office is in JARI) sponsors ügFCV Caravanüh and 6 FCV from Japan and overseas will make high-speed run of 380 km from Tokyo (Ariake) to the Aichi World Exposition (Nagakute). On the way events like trial drive will be done. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 6, 2005, The Chemical Daily Sept. 8, 2005 and The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Sept. 9, 2005.
(3) Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
ü@On September 16, 2005 Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. announced that it leased Shizuoka Prefecture one FC driven bike, ügFC-me.üh The fuel is methanol (54% aqueous solution) and DMFC is used as power source. In legal sense it is a first class motor driven bike. The performances are as follows; the maximum speed, the weight and the power are respectively 40 km/h, 69 kg and 0.58 kW. The tank capacity is 3.2 L and about 100 km (at 30 km/h on flat road) is the mileage for tankful fuel. The rate of lease is 105,000 yen/month including cost of fuel supplied with a polyethylene container by the company and insurance. The company is considering extension of lease period and increase of cars together with lease to outside of Shizuoka prefecture. The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Mainichi Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Tokyo Shimbun, The Chunichi Shimbun, The Shizuoka Shimbun, and The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Sept. 13, 2005, and the Chemical Daily Sept. 14, 2005.
7.Development of Hydrogen Technology for Formation, Purification, Storage and Transportation
(1) Samtech Corp.
ü@Samtech Corp. (Osaka prefecture) announced that mass production of hydrogen storage tanks of 70 MPa maximum charge pressure became in sight. Durability against the pressure can be obtained by winding carbon fiber on an aluminum thin liner. The American subsidiary company Samtech International Inc. (SII) produces the liners, while Samtech Corp. winds carbon fiber on them and sets specified valves in a newly constructed work in Habikino factory. Samtech Corp. and SII have been challenging to super-high-pressure tanks using design and production technology of light and high pressure tanks for aeronautical industry. They begin to ship trial test products to main automobile makers. At the same time Kawasaki Precision Machinery, Ltd. (Kobe city), in cooperative relation with Samtech Corp., developed a combination valve for 70MPa tanks. In this valve an electromagnetic valve and a decompression valve are unified, and it got a license from The High Pressure Gas Safety Institute of Japan (KHK). The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Aug. 22, 2005.
(2) Hiroshima University
ü@Hiroshima University has succeeded in development of graphite based material and magnesium based material, both effective in hydrogen storage for FCV. The graphite based material decreases hydrogen release temperature, while the magnesium based material can absorbs over 5% hydrogen within 1 minute in the room temperature and releases it at
160üÄ in vacuum. Mr. Ichikawa, an assistant in the center for research support and development of natural science of the university developed nano-meter scale composite material of graphite hydride (CHd) and lithium hydride (LiH). The hydrogen release temperature is largely decreased to
300üÄ and it absorbs hydrogen up to 8wt%. Mr. Hanada, a research staff of the center, and his co-workers succeeded in material design of nano-scale composite of magnesium hydride
(MgH2) with niobium oxide (Nb2O5), which absorbs over 5wt% hydrogen within 1 minute at the room temperature and rapidly releases it in vacuum at
160üÄ. They aim at decrease in the temperature down to 100üÄ for graphite based material. A tank will be made and endurance test will be done for magnesium based material. The Chemical Daily Aug. 24, 2005.
8.Hydrogen Fueled PEFC Generating Systems for Emergency and Disaster
(1) Iwatani International Corp.
ü@On Aug. 25, 2005 Iwatani International Corp. published development of hydrogen fueled PEFC systems for emergency and disaster in collaboration with Ebara Ballard Corp. A low-weight high-pressure hydrogen supply system by Iwatani International Corp. is combined with PEFC produced by Ebara Ballard Corp. They will be sold since 2006. The output power is 850 W, and 5 sets can be operated in parallel connection to supply 4.2 kW at the maximum. A hydrogen cylinder of about 5.2
m3 capacity is set in the main part and the duration is about 5 hours by continuous operation. The size of the main part is 730 mm X 890 mm X 600 mm, and the weight is about 70 kg. The price is not yet determined, but the sales price at 1 million yen or less is the goal. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chemical Daily Aug. 26, 2005.
(2) New Japan Eco System Co.
ü@New Japan Eco System Co. (Chiba city) developed new hydrogen fueled FC of mono-generation type ügmirabo 2üh for auxiliary power sources, such as uninterruptible power sources in emergency. A continuous monitoring system for cell aging is added with transmission function to personal computer, and this new one has advantage over conventional ones in maintenance and generating efficiency. The generating efficiency is 46% and the lease rate of 2 kW output type is about 300,000 yen/month. The first product was installed in the Ministry of Environment. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 5, 2005.
(3) Material & Energy Research Institute Tokyo, Ltd.
ü@On Sept. 5, 2005 Material & Energy Research Institute Tokyo, Ltd. (Chino city, Nagano prefecture) announced that it finished development of portable small FC for emergency power sources and for charging portable phones and note-type personal computers. The policy for practical use is to establish a joint venture with a Chinese firm in charge of production and to start sales in autumn of 2006. For hydrogen storage aqueous solution of sodium boron hydride is used. The hydrogen content of the aqueous solution is high and relatively inexpensive. Because it can be supplied with a cartridge, long time operation can be done. The size of 200 W trial product is about 25 cm long, 17 cm wide and 17 cm high (box), and the weight is 7 kg. Continuous 2 hour operation can be done by one charge of fuel. Two types, i.e., 40 – 100 W type for portable equipments and 100 W – 1 kW for emergency power sources will be produced, and the price is estimated to be 100,000 – 200,000 yen/100 W. The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) Sept. 7, 2005 and The Chemical Daily Sept. 9, 2005.
9.Development of Micro FC for Portable Equipments and Related Technology
(1) Casio Computer Co., Ltd.
ü@The company will complete development of FC for digital cameras and portable phones around 2007. At the beginning installation in note-type personal computers was examined but it was abandoned except those for corporate bodies. A reliability test facility necessary for commercialization of mobile equipments was introduced at the stronghold in Ome city. FC the company is now developing is reformer type PEFC, and the size is 10.7 mm high, 22 mm wide and 21 mm long. Till now the company developed an integrated micro reformer consisted of catalytic burner, evaporator, CO remover, sensors etc. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Aug. 22, 2005.
(2) Yachida Co., Ltd.
ü@The company (Kamo city, Niigata prefecture) succeeded in development of a super-micro heat exchanger (50 mm X 70 mm) by diffusion joint technology. In this process jointed materials are heated and pressed and atomic level diffusion strengthens joint. The company started its sales. In the demonstration it was proved that the heat exchanger is endurable against the pressure up to 150 atmosphere, and pores and chokes were not observed. Because solder is not used, it is anti-corrosive, and heat exchange ability per unit volume increased 5 fold compared with plate type exchangers. The company anticipates demand for cooling micro FC and also for micro-reactors and chemical experimental plants. They are selling them by 10 and the price is 100,000 yen per each. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 14, 2005.
ü@On Sept. 16, 2005 Toshiba announced that it made trial products of portable music player combined with micro DMFC. Two types, i.e., hard disc drive type (HDD) and flash memory type, were announced. By injecting methanol solution of almost 100% concentration, they work. In the case of HDD, DMFC is attached on the back of ügGigabeatüh the company is selling, and the size is 6.5 cm wide, 12.5 cm long and 2.7 cm thick. By injecting 10 mL methanol it works for 60 hours, which is 4 fold longer than conventional lithium battery driven Gigabeat. For the flash memory type it is 3.5 cm wide, 11 cm long and 2 cm thick, and about 35 hour operation is possible by injecting 3.5 mL methanol. Further improvement will be searched aiming at practical use since 2007. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Tokyo Shimbun, The Chunichi Shimbun and The Fuji Sakei Business Eye Sept. 17, 2005; The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Dempa Shimbun (Electromagentic Wave) Sept. 19, 2005; Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Chemical Daily Sept 20, 2005.
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