(1) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industries
Agency of Resources and Energy decided to establish a research facility specified to hydrogen energy research in 2006 fiscal year in Kyushu University. In rough estimation of 2006 fiscal year budget 1.7 billion yen was included for this facility. About 20 researchers will be recruited from Japan and oversea, and it is intended to make a worldwide top-class stronghold. It will be organized mainly of professors in Kyushu University. A main research theme is metal embrittlement by hydrogen and it will also gather fundamental data necessary for hydrogen utilization. The Yomiuri Shimbun Oct. 8, 2005.
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industries and New Energy Foundation announced on Oct. 12, 2005 that 13 groups were decided to be subsidiaries for the second period 1 kW stationary PEFC operation test (total 225 sets), and operation test results of 10 groups in the first period were evaluated. Three groups, i.e., Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd. - Ebara Corp., Nippon Oil Corp. - Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd., and Osaka Gas Co. Ltd. - Toshiba Fuel Cell Power Systems Corp. show high-level achievement in overall evaluation. The top is Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd. and Ebara Corp., and the rate of energy source reduction is in average 21.8%, and the average rate of reduction in
CO2 exhaustion is in fairly high level, i.e., 35.7%. The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Chemical Daily Oct. 13, 2005 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) Oct.
(2) New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO)
On Oct. 12, 2005 NEDO decided to start R&D of the next generation FC technology and selected 31 research items making use of advanced research ability of universities etc. Among 31 themes are 12 themes of elementary technology, 9 themes for new concepts and 10 themes of evaluation technology. The Chemical Daily Oct. 13, 2005 and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Oct. 14, 2005
(3) Ministry of Land, Transport and Infrastructure
Ministry of Land, Transport and Infrastructure constituted “Study group on FC Bus Technology” and the first meeting will be held on Oct. 13, 2005. Considering test run on public road, the group will examine whether special technological standard is necessary for bus. The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) Oct. 12, 2005 and The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Oct. 13, 2005.
The ministry will make demonstration of commercial run of FC buses in the fiscal year of 2005. For this purpose companies to participate this trial will be recruited among automobile makers and bus service companies in this year. To gather data as much as possible, companies participating for a definite period will be collected. In the fiscal year of 2006 technological standard for practical run of bus will be established. The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) Oct. 17, 2005.
2.Activities by Local Governments
(1) Hiroshima Prefecture
Hiroshima Prefecture established “Committee of Investigation and Examination for Promoting Propagation of FC etc”. Propagation of hydrogen related technologies is the purpose, and the activities cover the following themes
1) Investigation on possibility of production and supply of hydrogen fuel
2) Examination of active use of special area for structural reformation
3) Examination of demonstration model of hydrogen utilization system using biomass technology in the prefecture etc.
The report will be completed within the fiscal year of 2005. The committee is consisted of 16 members from industries, academic sector and government, and from long range view points the committee will examine expansion of market scale by developing hydrogen related technology and establishment of system quickly responding to needs in hydrogen society. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technologies) Oct. 19, 2005
(2) Mie Prefecture
Mie Prefecture will start “Mie Prefecture Congress for Comprehensive Strategies of Hydrogen Energy” for activation of local economy by hydrogen related new industries and also for growth of hydrogen energy society. Companies, such as petroleum refineries and petrochemical makers working in Yokkaichi city, universities and prefectural and municipal governments are the promoter of this congress, and it will work on technological development and business deployment of hydrogen energy in collaboration among the three sectors. On Nov. 8, 2005 the kick-off meeting will be held and concrete activities will be started. In the case of Mie prefecture, energy sources, such as byproduct hydrogen evolved in industrial complexes, LNG cold heat etc. can be used. In this prefecture demonstration of stationary FC has been made as a field where regulation relaxation in special area for structural reformation can work effectively, and the prefecture undertook investigation of growth of hydrogen society and make-up of model area. The Chemical Daily Oct. 21, 2005.
3.Experts Meeting for Constitution of Technological Standards
World Forum for Harmonization of Automobile Standards (WP29) by Economic Commission for Europe in United Nations (ECE/UN) has the first expert meeting in Tokyo since Oct. 19, 2005 to determine technological standards of FCV. From nations and areas affiliated to agreement in 1998, experts are participating discussion on unified world standards for FCV considering future trends in technological development. Japan already decided “standard for compressed hydrogen fueled FCV etc.” and presents it as a tentative draft.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of US Department of Transportation agreed on 4 items including safety standard of hydrogen FCV as priority agreement on automobile safety in April of 2004. Further the two countries confirmed cooperation to actively promote harmonization activities for standards in UN/ECE/WP 29. The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) Oct. 20, 2005.
In the experts meeting more than 20 members were present from governments and automobile associations of countries participating WP 29. The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) Oct. 20, 2005.
4.Development and Application of MCFC
(1) Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc.
In Misumi coal burning power plant the company started demonstration of a MCFC system which make use of
CO2 in exhausted gas. The CO2
concentration in the exhausted gas is about 13%, and it is increased to about 80% at the outlet of MCFC, so that effective recovery of
CO2 becomes feasible. In the demonstration concentrated
CO2 is exhausted directly to atmosphere, but in the practical use it would be recovered and stored in deep ocean and/or underground to reduce
CO2 emission. It is estimated that the
CO2 emission per unit output would be reduced by about 6%, if FC of 20,000 kW output is attached to a coal burning power plant of 50,000 kW scale.
The MCFC plant is 10 kW output and produced by Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (IHI). The demonstration is carried out in cooperation with Chubu Electric Power Co., Ltd., and demonstration with a large-scale plant would be started since April of 2006. The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and the Chugoku Shimbun Oct. 6, 2005, The Nikkan Kensetsu Kogyo Shimbun (construction) Oct. 7, 2005, and The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave) Oct. 13, 2005.
(2) Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry
For large-scale cost reduction of MCFC and for business deployment of technology to realize 300,000 kW scale combined cycle power plant of electric efficiency of 70%, Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry started evaluation. By increasing pressure to 20 atmospheres the power density increases double and the cost becomes half. Based on this evaluation, the institute opens technology developed by IHI and soliciting participation by companies which have been developing MCDC, such as Hitachi, Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corp. etc., the institute will promote the next phase for commercialization since 2006. Till now Japan invested 40 billion yen and IHI also invested 10 billion yen for MCFC. In Japan it is thought to be the task to commercialize in the scale of 10,000 kW together with outside pressurized reforming. NEDO requested the institute to classify the task items and evaluation aiming at introduction of new systems. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business znd technology) Oct. 21, 2005.
5.Development Results of SOFC
TOTO Ltd. developed compact SOFC generating components. By decreasing the operating temperature to
500oC the insulating layer becomes thin and by adopting cylindrical cells which are tough against thermal stress, the start-up time can be reduced to 5 minutes. The output power is 50 W – 1 kW. Utilizations in wheelchairs, motor assisted bicycles and portable power sources are anticipated. In collaboration with a system manufacturer the company intends to promote development of the portable FC aiming at the practical use in the fiscal year of 2008.
The company has achieved 55% electric power efficiency in large stationary FC. For the electrolyte lanthanum gallate base ceramics was developed, and to prevent lanthanum gallate from reacting with nickel, ceria base ceramics are introduced as reaction controlling layer. Thus the electric resistance becomes half and stable low temperature operation is realized. The fuel electrode is molded on a tube, and thin films of the electrolyte and the air electrode are formed on the surface. At the present a small cell of 5 mm diameter and 50 mm length was developed for a portable type, and several tubes are bundled to form a stack. The electrode surface is total 85
cm2 and the volume is 0.016 L. When hydrogen is fed, the output of 28 W was recorded at
500oC and 37 W was observed at
600oC. Since now R&D will be further promoted aiming at practical use by improving generating performance and endurance. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technologies), The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nikkan Kensetsu Kogyo Shimbun (construction), The Nishi-Nihon Shimbun and The Chemical Daily Oct. 7, 2005
6.Elementary Technology Research Related with PEFC
Toyo Gosei Corp., Ltd. will ship mass-produced electrolytes and ionic liquids in earnest. The ionic liquids are liquid salts molten at the room temperature without solving them into water and organic solvent. They show high electric conductivity, so that they contribute volume reduction of electric double layer condensers, lithium ion batteries, fuel cells etc. In Oct. of 2004 a real production facility was completed and sample works are carried out. Mass production of several items was decided. The electrolyte solution to be mass-produced is TEA-BF4 in propylene carbonate, and ionic liquid is EMI-BF4. Activities to present proposal to users will be strengthened utilizing advantages of mass-production and high purity technology for ionic liquids and electrolyte solutions. The company intends to get more than 3 companies as stable clients within the fiscal year of 2005. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave) and The Chemical Daily Sept. 26, 2005, and The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Oct. 4, 2005.
7.Development and Demonstration of Business-Use PEFC
To create demand of business-use PEFC for convenience stores, Nippon Oil Corp. decided to make real verification of possibility of air conditioning including cooling by exhausted heat. To verify possibility of utilizing the exhausted heat to heating and cooling by combining kerosene-fueled PEFC of 10 kW output class with an absorption refrigerator, the company started experiment in “Family Mart Tokiwa” of 150
m2 store area. The experiment will be done with a cooperator, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.. The electric efficiency of the equipment is more than 36% (LHV), but for utilization of the exhausted heat for air conditioning, the temperature of recovered heat is low
(65oC) and cooling capacity of the air conditioner used in the convenience store is low (about 6 kW). Then development of a small absorption refrigerator was entrusted to Yazaki Corp. For heating the refrigerator is separated. Because convenience stores are open for 24 hours similarly to hotels, the electric demand is unchanged, but hot water demand is a little compared with hotels, so that to find usage of hot water is the key for propagation. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 28, 2005 and The Chemical Daily Sept. 30, 2005.
8.Demonstration of Home-Use PEFC Cogeneration Systems
(1) Koa Gas Development Corp.
Koa Gas Development Corp. (Iwakuni city) introduced an LP gas-fueled home-use cogeneration system of 750 W output as a trial use. Gathering data of electric efficiency etc., the company intended to use them for future sales etc. The Chugoku Shimbun Sept. 22, 2005.
(2) Toho Gas Co., Ltd.
On Oct. 6, 2005 the company announced that it begins to introduce 1 kW PEFC systems for monitoring. 50 – 100 sets of the systems will be installed for 2 years. The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) The Chunichi Shimbun Oct. 7, 2005.
(3) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
The two companies agreed on development of home-use FC that each company will make collaboration with FC makers for sharing R&D. The companies aimed at efficient R&D by sharing in order to introduce systems of reduced cost and long endurance since the fiscal year of 2008. In 2005 fiscal year demonstration of home-use FC was started with 6 million yen subsidiary per one set from the government, and in the second period Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. will make cooperative development with Ebara Corp. and Matsuhita Electric Industries Co., Ltd., while Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. will do in collaboration with Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. and Toshiba Fuel Cell Power Systems Corp. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Oct. 14, 2005.
(4) Hokkaido Gas Co., Ltd.
The company will start application experiment of home-use PEFC from the end of November in 2005. Three sets will be installed in 3 detached houses of the employees, and data acquisition will be made for 3 years focusing at elucidation of performance and features in application in cold area. The Hokkaido Shimbun Oct. 15, 2005.
(1) Toyota Motor Corp.
On Sept. 28, 2005 Toyota Motor Corp. published that it made a contract of lease sale of its FCHV with Osaka Prefecture. The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) and The Chunichi Shimbun Sept. 29, 2005m, and The Sankei Shimbun Oct. 5, 2005.
(2) Suzuki Motor Corp.
On Sept. 29, 2005 the company set forth a light FCV “IONIS” to be exhibited in Tokyo Motor Show. A device for operating brake etc by electric signals is introduced, and the set of handles and other operating devices can be moved to the left or right seat to utilize efficiently limited room in the car. The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) and The Shizuoka Shimbun Spet. 30, 2005, and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) Oct. 31, 2005.
10.Development of FC Forklift
On October 11, 2005 Toyota Industries Corp. (Kariya city, Aichi prefecture) announced that it completed development of a forklift “FCHV-F” in which a hybrid system of PEFC and large capacity condenser are equipped. It was developed together with Toyota Motor Corp. The voltage of the system is 80 V, and the rated load is 2.5 ton. Components, such as FC stacks, high-pressure hydrogen tank etc., are installed together as a module, considering interchangeability with conventional batteries. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Chunichi Shimbun and Fuji Sankei Business Eye Oct. 12, 2005, The Denki Shimbun (electricity)and The Chemical Daily Oct. 13, 2005, and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) Oct. 17, 2005.
11.Technology Development of Reforming, Forming and Purification of Hydrogen
(1) Japan Atomic Energy Research Agency
New generation high-temperature gas reactors (HTTR) draw much attention as a main hydrogen supply process. This atomic reactor generates heat over
900oC. Utilizing this heat, hydrogen is produced by thermal decomposition using a cyclic process involving iodine and sulfuric acid (IS hydrogen producing method). It was made clear that this method is the most promising process from viewpoints of environment and cost in comparison with water vapor reforming of fossil fuel, electrolysis of water, coal gas etc. If it is used exclusively for hydrogen production, HTTR of 600,000 kW output could supply hydrogen to 600,000 FCV cars. The reactor can be used for electric generation and also for cogeneration. In our country, Japan Atomic Energy Research Agency constructed a third generation HTTR experimental reactor in a research center located in Ooarai. Using this reactor heat was generated at
950oC, and hydrogen production was succeeded by the IS process. The research agency expresses their intension that in the fiscal year of 2006 they hope to construct a hydrogen production pilot plant which produces hydrogen at a rate of 20 – 30
m3/h by the IS process. In US Bush administration decided a project to develop the fourth generation high-temperature gas reactor (VHTE) until 2015 by a large-scale budget of 125 billion yen. The Chemical Daily Sept. 30, 2005.
(2) Tohoku University
Professor Takamura and his co-workers, in graduate school of technology research of Tohoku University, experimentally made a home-use reformer for FC in collaboration with Nippon Sheet Glass Co., Ltd. and Gas Bureau of Sendai City. The reformer is a 6 cm cube and it can produce hydrogen at 10 L/min. from methane by partial oxidation method. By unification of oxygen permeable ceramics and heat resistant stainless steel separator, they developed oxygen permeable membrane module of 6 cm square and stacked 20 modules. Four pipes are attached to the module to supply gases. By supplying air to the module from one side, oxygen in air is converted to oxide ion and permeated the module, while nitrogen flow through the module. Supplying fuel gas such as methane, it reacts with permeated oxygen to form CO and hydrogen. Because of partial oxidation, start-up performance is good and reforming efficiency is high because pure oxygen is used. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Oct. 21, 2005.
12.Development of Hydrogen Storage Technology
(1) Tokyo Metropolitan Industrial Technology Research Institute
A group consisting of Tokyo Metropolitan Industrial Technology Research Institute, Japan Association for Promotion of Industrial Technology, Nasu Denki-Tekko Co., Ltd. and Tokai University has succeeded in making iron – titanium alloy (FeTi) for hydrogen storage by a simple method of mechanical alloying (MA method). The alloy is formed by rotating materials (iron powder and pure titanium powder) with agitating balls in a container. The hydrogen storage capacity is larger (1.8 wt%) than those of hydrogen storage alloys of rare earth metals and the materials are inexpensive, but initial hydride formation of this alloy is difficult and repeated treatments under high temperature (730 K) and high pressure (6.5 MPa) are needed for activation treatment. In contrast to this the MA method is a method using rotational and vibrational energy. The powder materials crashed repeatedly with the agitating balls and the powder is stricken and extended to form alloy. It is elucidated that nanometer size crystalline structure is formed by this method, and it is thought that the high hydrogen storage capacity is attained by this structure. Although it takes long time to form the alloy, the method and the structure of the equipment are simple so that large-scale equipments can be easily made. It has also another advantage of low anxiety of contamination. Since the cost is low and the real feasibility is high, they are aiming at practical use. The Chemical Daily Oct. 12, 2005.
(2) Hitachi Group
Hitachi Industries Co., Ltd. and Hitachi, Ltd. have developed a high-pressure compressor for charging hydrogen. Hydrogen is compressed by two steps; by the first step it is compressed to 40 MPa and by the second step it is compressed up to 84 MPa. Hydrogen molecule is small and leaks easily from the cylinder, so that to decrease gap between the inner surface and the piston unique technologies are applied, for instance copper is mixed in piston ring material. What the two companies developed is a compressor for “off site” hydrogen station. Hydrogen is carried to a station by a special carrier at 19.6 MPa, and it is compressed and stored at higher pressure. The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) Oct. 17, 2005.
13.Development of Micro FC for Portable Equipments
(1) KDDI Corp.
On September 26, 2005 KDDI Corp. published that it has developed two types of trial micro DMFC for portable phones in cooperation with Toshiba and Hitachi. The sizes of these two are the same as or a little bit larger than a portable phone, and communication can be done really with them. They will be exhibited in CEATEC Japan to be held since October 4. The one type developed with Toshiba is based on au portable phone “A5509T” and it is a large capacity type using 99.5% methanol, the inner fuel storage capacity being 7
cm3. The duration by one charge of methanol is about 2.5 fold larger than that of conventional batteries. By hybrid with lithium battery, it can be used at high power of 300 mW for 24 hours. The other type developed with Hitachi is based on “W32H” and methanol aqueous solution of less than 60% is used, the fuel capacity being 3
cm3. The small FC is set under the liquid crystal layer, so that the size is almost the same as the conventional one. The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and Fuji Sankei Business Eye Sept. 27, 2005, and The Chemical Daily Sept. 28, 2005.
(2) LG Chemistry
LG Chem Ltd. set forth that DMFC was developed and it will be commercialized within this year. With a cartridge of 200
cm3 a note-type personal computer can be used for more than 10 hours. The DMFC developed by this company has 4,000 hour endurance at 25 W power output, and the volume is less than 1 L, the weight being 1 kg. Besides personal computers, it is assumed to be applicable to portable players and portable phones for receiving digital television broadcasts. The Chemical Daily September 30, 2005.
(3) Olympus Corp.
On September 30, 2005 Olympus Corp. announced that it entrusts development of hydrogen producing component to Kinetics in England. The hydrogen producing equipment is needed in development of hydrogen fueled FCs. These FCs of small size, high power output (10 W or less) and long run will be necessary for civil portable equipments in future ubiquitous environment. Utilizing hydrogen formation by heating solid ammonia borane (chemical reducing reagent) they are developing a hydrogen producer. This reagent composed of hydrogen, nitrogen and boron is non-poisonous white solid and hydrogen is released by heating. The hydrogen content is high (20%) and energy efficiency is also high. Kinetics is the largest research institute for science and technology in Europe, and about 10,000 employees are working. They aimed at FC for fourth generation portable phones etc. in which change in the peak power is large and long run is needed. The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chemical Daily Oct. 3, 2005.
In various types of fuel charging methods for mobile micro DMFC Toshiba anticipates that a promising type is that of charging fuel from an outside bottle-shape cartridge to the inside tank, and Toshiba promotes practical use of this type. In comparison with a type of exchanging the cartridge set inside, the former type can charge to multiple DMFCs set inside and it can be designed freely to fit the mobile equipments. For the propagation Toshiba thinks standardization of the fuel injector is needed. The Chemical Daily Oct. 11, 2005.
(5) Kurita Water Industries, Ltd.
The company developed “solid methanol” which can be applied to DMFC for mobile equipments. In application of DMFC to portable phones and personal computers utilization of methanol is limited from safety consideration because of its flammability, and besides it leakage is also anxious. By solidification the above problems can be solved. The company intends that it will promote the business deployment together with an electric appliance maker and they wish to start the sales since 2007, if possible.
The developed solid methanol is based on clathrate technology and by this technology methanol is contained in host compound of natural substance. By solidification the volatility is lowered and leakage can be avoided, so that it can be omitted from lists of dangerous substances and powerful drugs, and it can be carried into an aircraft. When it is in contact with water, methanol is solved into water. It was confirmed that DMFC works with this solid methanol. The solid methanol can be molded into beads, pellets, sheets and so on. It is a unique feature that the host compound is reusable by reacting with methanol again. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chemical Daily Oct. 21, 2005.
14.Development and Business Deployment of Evaluation and Measurement Technology Related with FC and Hydrogen
(1) Chino Corp.
On September 22, 2005 the company announced that it exchanged a memorandum with FC center of Yuan Ze University in Taiwan on 5 year collaborative research of FC measurement and evaluation technology. The company installed “FC 5000”, a compact measurement and evaluation apparatus for DEFC and DMFC in the center. The company already installed an FC evaluation apparatus in Shanghai Jiaotong University, China, and this is the second case. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 23, 2005, and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) and The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave) Sept. 27, 2005.
(2) J-Power (Electric Power Development Co.)
J-Power begins sales of MEA for PEFC and cells for test and evaluation. Observing the fact that there are few firms accepting order of experimentally assembling MEA for researchers and that highly reproducible cells for test and evaluation are also lack, the company decided to sell them. The standard MEA is made of 50 mm square electrode and 80 mm square membrane, and catalyst by Tanaka Kikinzoku Hambai K. K., electrolyte membrane by Du Pont K. K. and carbon paper by Toray Corp. are used. The company announced that materials developed by the client or other materials ordered by the client can also be used and large membrane of smaller than 100 mm square can be made by negotiation. The price is lower than 20,000 yen and delivery of the products is made about 1 week after the acceptance of order. In the cells for test and evaluation a separator developed by the company is used. Design of the structure for preventing supplied gasses from leakage as well as good contact with MEA for high performance is realized, so that stable test and evaluation can be done. The price would be 400,000 yen. They will be sold as a test for a meanwhile, and it is intended that decision of business deployment will be made watching reaction in the market. Cooperation will be made with Micro (Kashiwa city, Chiba prefecture) for sales. J Power has been dealing mainly with DME-fueled FC, while it has know-how of hydrogen-fueled FC. The company decided to open the technology of hydrogen fueled FC and to keep research results on DME related technology closed. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 29, 2005.
(3) Murata Manufacturing Corp.
The company completed development of methanol sensor for small size FC and it starts shipment as samples. Utilizing the fact that propagation speed of ultrasonic wave in methanol solution depends on the concentration, the concentration is calculated from propagation time of ultrasonic wave. By unification of an impulse ultrasonic wave transducer based on multi-layered piezoelectric materials technology with specific IC for driving and control, small size of 12
× 25 × 85 mm outer dimension is realized with light weight of 1.9 kg. The resolution of methanol concentration or precision is less than 0.1 wt.% at the room temperature, and low electric consumption of below 20 mW was aimed at. The power source voltage is DC 5V and the temperature range is from
10oC to 90oC. It can be set in mobile DMFC systems. The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave) Oct. 3, 2005 and The Chemical Daily Oct. 4, 2005 .
(4) Yamaguchi University
Prof. Okamoto of Yamaguchi University developed new electrolyte membrane for micro FC. He and his co-workers noticed plastic material of polyimide used in IC, and synthesized new electrolyte membrane by reacting it with sulfonic acid compound. By applying it to DMFC using methanol of 50% concentration, they succeeded in output of 50
W/cm2. Prof. Okamoto said “Because the new electrolyte membrane can be simply synthesized, it is competitive with Nafion membrane in cost.” The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) Oct. 5, 2005.
15.R&D of Micro-grid Connected with FC
Faculty of Engineering of Nihon University (Kooriyama city) begins R&D of the next generation micro-grid combining FC with biomass, wind and solar cells. The target is formation of independent network of “local products, local consumption” which is free from the network of an electric power company. The university has been making demonstration of hybrid electric generation (the maximum power of 40 kW) combining wind power and solar photovoltaic generation. Adding FC developed by Shin-Nihon Eco System Co., they will make use of FC for stabilization of the micro-grid. The Kahoku Shimbun Oct. 6, 2005.
(1) Ebara group On September 29, 2005 Ebara Corp., Ebara Ballard Corp. and Ballard Power Systems Corp. announced their final agreement that rights related with production, development etc. of stationary FC stacks are owned by Ebara Ballard Corp. Besides exclusive rights of production, development, sales and maintenance of stacks, rights of improvement and sublicense are also owned by Ebara Ballard Corp. The license fee is 23.6 million dollars. Furthermore Ebara Corp. shares 18 million dollars as a part of expense for development of the next generation 1 kW class stacks of 40,000 hour endurance in Ballard Power Systems Corp. Preparing for future real sales of commercial FC, Ebara Corp. begins to promote preparation for producing the stacks by itself. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) The Fuji Sankei Business Eye and The Chemical Daily Sept. 30, 2005,and The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave) Oct. 6, 2005.
(2) Material & Energy Research Institute Tokyo, Ltd.
On occasion of the 20th anniversary year of the establishment, Material & Research Institute Tokyo, Ltd. shifts from research to business. Making use of accumulated hydrogen storage technology using sodium boron hydride, FC products will be developed, and it is aiming at growth as an enterprise by making a product in China. The product is portable FC of 200 W output developed by the institute, and the assumed application is emergency use in disaster. By changing cartridge of liquid, it can be used for necessary illumination, power sources for various equipment and charging of portable phones. The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) Oct. 4, 2005.
(3) Sumitomo Corp.
Sumitomo Corp. group is trying to increase real demand of catalyst for FC, aiming at 25% market share in the fiscal year of 2008. The catalyst is that developed by an Italian company, Acta Spa, and the group made contract with Acta Spa on exclusive license for sales in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Acta’s achievements are the platinum catalyst layer of controlled platinum amount at the world minimum and inexpensive metallic catalyst applicable to alcoholic fuels of methanol and ethanol, but it is also dealing with catalysts applicable to fields other than MEA and FC. They promote collaboration with research division or institute in universities and companies, and business deployment by cultivating new usage is hurried up. The FC catalyst of this company is metallic catalyst of nickel and cobalt with platinum and applicable to PEFC and SOFC. The company is also making development of MEA, catalyst for producing ethylene by dehydration of ethanol and so on. The Chemical Daily Oct. 17, 2005.
------------ This edition is made up as of October 21, 2005. ---------------
A POSTER COLUMN
Exhibition of Rotary Engine Car of Hydrogen and Gasoline
On October 4, 2005 Mazda Motor Corp. announced that it would sell hydrogen rotary engine cars based on the sport car “RX-8” in 2006. It will be leased to governments and firms at the rate of 1 million yen per month, and it will be exhibited in Tokyo Motor Show to be opened since October 21. The rotary engine developed independently by Mazda works by feeding either hydrogen or gasoline. The selection can be made with a switch by the driver. In the case of full charge the range is 100 km by hydrogen and 549 km by gasoline. The company stated “It can be produced at the cost of one fifth of FCV.” The Mainichi Shimbun Oct. 5, 2005.