THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, DECEMBER 2005

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1.National Policy
2.Movements in International Organizations
3.Verification System for Home-use FC
4.Technology Development of SOFC
5.Development of PEFC Elementary Technologies
6.Development and Demonstration of Home-use FC Systems
7.Demonstration of Stationary PEFC
8.FCV Forefront
9.Development and Construction of Hydrogen Stations
10.Technology Development of Hydrogen Formation and Purification
11.Development and Business Deployment of Micro FC
12.Business Activity and Deployment Related with FC
13.Forecast of FC Market

1.National Policy
New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) decided 31 research items in gstrategic PEFC technology development for technology development of the next generation FC.h The objects are researchers in universities and public institutes, and the purpose is to promote necessary R&D for realization of FC technologies necessary in period of FCV real propagation around 2020 – 2030. The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Nov. 7, 2005.
2.Movements in International Organizations
(1) IPHE
IPHE consisting of 15 countries authorized 10 projects moved by US, Russia etc. The countries moving the project share the cost, and the countries participating IPHE can freely use the results. The authorized projects include followings;
@gTransportation of hydrogen containing gas by existing natural gas pipe lines and extraction of hydrogen at the endh moved by EU,
@gDevelopment of systems for reversible hydrogen storage in solid and purification, and their unification with FC power supplyh by Russia,,
@gDevelopment of DMFC with high-endurance ion exchange membraneh by US.
The Chemical Daily Oct. 27, 2005.

(2) ICAO
Recently it passed deliberation of ICAO to carry methanol cartridges for portable small size DMFC into an aircraft, and it will also be discussed in IATA. If the discussion proceeds smoothly, it would be possible since Jan. 1, 2007. It was approved in a subcommittee on harmful substances in UN as a transportation standard in recommendation of harmful substances, i.e., gThe Orange Bookh in Dec. of 2004. Following this, the discussion started in ICAO since the spring of 2005 and the discussion was made for about 2 weeks in Montreal from the end of October. The items passed these discussions are flammable liquids, such as butane, formic acid and reformed methanol. A small size FC fueled with these liquids will be permitted to use them in aircrafts. The Chemical Daily Nov. 10, 2005.
3.Verification System for Home-use FC
On Oct. 21, 2005 Japan Electrical Manufacturers Association announced that it started operation of a verification system for home-use FC. In 2004 it established examination committee on verification system of home-use FC (the chairman Prof. Shoda of Tokyo University of Science). The Committee consists of persons from energy industries, consumers associations etc. together with experts. They discussed machinery and testing methods of verification. It started operation from December of 2004, and the system will be efficiently used hereafter in verification for government etc. The verification is made by the following three organizations;
@@Japan Electrical Safety and Environment Technology Laboratory,
@@Japan Gas Appliances Inspection Association and
@@Japan Heating Appliances Inspection Association.
They will also support the business in safety aspect. The 2 sets of PEFC installed in the official residence of the prime minister in April of 2005 are the first ones verified by this system. The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Oct. 24, 2005.
4.Technology Development of SOFC
Meidensha Corp. and Siemens Power Generation reached a fundamental agreement of business collaboration on development, manufacturing and sales service of SOFC systems in Japan. Making full use of Meidenshafs ample experience of dispersed power sources and Seemensf SOFC technology, they will send competitive products to Japanese market. They will further discuss establishment of a joint venture business and it will be realized within one year. By adding Seemens SOFC in its line-up of dispersed power sources, Meidensha will strengthen their power generation business. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Kensetu Tsushin Shimbun (construction) and The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Nov. 9, 2005.
5.Development of PEFC Elementary Technologies
(1) Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.
On Nov. 1, 2005 Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. announced that PEFC metal separators has been developed together with Kansai Paint Co., Ltd. The company said that the cost can be reduced to be half, keeping the high electric conductivity and endurance, by changing surface treatment of stainless steel base plate from gold plating to resin coating (The thickness of the resin is 30 micron m.). Since December they will start shipment of samples mainly to makers of mobile equipments and they anticipated mass production in 2007. In this development the company has developed the resin of good conductivity and endurance together with Kansai Paint Co., Ltd. having high technology of painting resins. The new product is coated with the resin by electrodepositing method developed by the company for semiconductor lead frames. The composition of the resin is not declared, but it is complex material of multiple kinds of electro-conductive materials. By adopting the electrodepositing method, the resin can be coated uniformly on uneven surface and edges. The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) and The Chemical Daily Nov. 2, 2005.

(2) Mitsubishi Electric Corp.
On Nov. 10, 2005 Mitsubishi Electric Corp. published that it developed a simulator for accurately evaluating performance of PEFC membrane for short time. The method is to estimate conductivity by proton migrating in the electrolyte membrane. In conventional methods, the examination was done by using a real FC and the material to be tested, so that it takes sometimes several months for prepration before the measurement. By the newly developed glocalized molecular orbit method,h the calculation is made by selecting parts of high polymer accordingly to the movement of electrons. Therefore inputting molecular structure of the high polymer, the calculation is completed after 4 days. The inaccuracy is within 20% and the results are near to real measurements. The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology), The Denki Shimbun (electricity),The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Fuji Sankei Business Eye and The Chemical Daily Nov. 11, 2005.

(3) Nagoya Institute of Technology
Prof. Nogamifs research group in the graduate school of Nagoya Institute of Technology developed glass electrolyte workable under non-humidified atmosphere. Platinum carrying carbon (Pt/C) and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) are added as dispersing agent into sol solution to form the above product by sol-gel method. Being different from Nafion membrane, the same output was obtained with this glass electrolyte under non-humidified atmosphere as under humidified atmosphere. The group stated that addition of Pt/C is important in synthesis of the glass electrolyte working under non-humidified condition, and it is effective on increasing dispersion of PVP. The research group is now making research to prepare highly electro-conductive glass electrolyte by the sol-gel method using metal alkoxides. In this experiment 2-propanol was added together with Pt/C and PVP, and two kinds of the glass were synthesized. FC was assembled using these two and the performance was measured under humidified condition and non-humidified condition. The output was almost diminished after 2 hours for the cell of nafion under non-humidified condition, but decrease in the output started after 2 hours for the cell made by 2-propanol addition, while no decrease is observed for the cell with the PVP glass. The maximum output under humidified condition was 8.4 mW/cm2. The Chemical Daily Nov. 14, 2005.
6.Development and Demonstration of Home-use FC Systems
(1) Osaka Gas Co. Ltd.
Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. has promoted cooperative development of home-use PEFC systems together with 4 electric manufacturers. On Oct. 27, 2005 the company declared that it concentrated into cooperative development with Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. and Toshiba FC Systems Corp. They are developing methods for cost reduction and demonstration of endurance. Until now 15,000 hour operation was achieved for endurance test of stacks. Since September it shifted to development aiming at continuous operation to easily improve endurance. Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. and Toshiba FC Systems Corp. prepared the systems of 700 – 750 W output. The Sankei Shimbun Oct. 28, 2005.

(2) Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd. and Sekisui House, Ltd.
The two companies announced on Nov. 11, 2005 that they started sales of detached houses in Musashino city, Tokyo prefecture. In these houses home-use PEFC cogeneration systems gLIFUELh are installed. The FC are installed at 7 detached houses in subdivided land gCommon Stage Kichijoji, Sakuranomori,h and they are sold by Sekisui House, Ltd. since Nov. 12, 2005. The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Nov. 11, 2005, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) Nov. 14, 2005, The Mainichi Shimbun and The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave) Nov. 17, 2005, and The Sankei Shimbun Nov. 18, 2005.
7.Demonstratioin of Statioinary PEFC
In collaboration with Mie University, Mie Prefecural Technology Promotion Center, Sinanen Co., Ltd. and Mie Shinagawa Industry Co., Ltd., Kurita Water Industries Ltd. installed a business-use LPG fueled 5 kW PEFC system at a laboratory of Mie Prefectural Technology Promotion Center in Yokkaichi city, Mie prefecture and started demonstration. For hydrogen purification hydrogen permeable membranes were introduced from a US company. The capacity of hot water storage is 370 L. The operation is being made since October of 2005 to March of 2006. Based on the demonstration results business-use systems will be developed and they are aiming at sales to convenience stores and family restraints. They got subsidiary from Mie Prefecture. The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chemical Daily Nov. 26, 2005.
8.FCV Forefront
(1) Kyushu Kyoritsu University
Prof. Yamaguchi and his co-workers of Kyushu Kyoritsu University (Kitakyushu city) completed pipe type EV driven by PEFC (300 W, 24 V). A hydrogen storage tank is on board and it can be fully charged within 15 minutes. The range is about 120 km at 20 – 25 km/h by full charge. A condenser is installed as an auxiliary power source for start-up, so that smooth acceleration can be done. Isohata Kogyo Co., Ltd. (Tokyo prefecture) is in charge of manufacturing. This group has been continuously developing small size electric car of 4 wheels since 3 years before. EV has been commercialized and 30 cars were sold in Japan. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Oct. 25, 2005.

(2) Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Corp.
Mr. Watanabe, the president of Toyota Motor Corp. and Mr. Richard Wagner, the Chairman of General Motors Corp. met in Tokyo on Nov. 2, 2005 and discussed renewal of cooperation contract, since cooperative research contract on advanced technologies, such as FCV, will be expired in the end of March in 2006. They confirmed to continue the cooperation. It is presumed that production plan at a joint venture factory of Toyota and GM in California, US was also discussed. The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Mainichi Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Tokyo Shimbun, The Chunichi Shimbun, The Chugoku Shimbun, The Nishinihon Shimbun, The Kahoku Shimbun and The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Nov. 2 – 3, 2005.
9.Development and Construction of Hydrogen Stations
(1) Kyushu University etc.
An experimental demonstration facility, gHydrogen Stationh was completed in Ito campus of Kyushu University on Nov. 7 by Kyushu University, Kyushu Electric Power Co., Inc. and Mitsubishi Corp. In this station hydrogen is produced by water electrolysis and it is supplied to FCV. It produces hydrogen to be charged for 3 FCV cars per day. The cost of a series of demonstration is 10 billion yen. The Nishinihon Shimbun Nov. 9, 2005.

(2) Honda R&D Co., Ltd.
On Nov. 15, 2005 Honda R&D Co., Ltd. announced that it started an experiment of a hydrogen supply system for home, gHome Energy Station (HES) IIIh in California, US. The station has functions of hydrogen supply by reforming natural gas and cogeneration with PEFC. They will confirm necessary electric power for usual homes, necessary performance in hydrogen production for FCV and so on. A small and high-performance reformer was newly developed for this new system, and about 30% volume reduction was realized in comparison with the conventional system. The start-up time is shortened to 1 minute, while 25% increase in electric power output and 50% increase in hydrogen storage are achieved. The Sankei Shimbun, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Nov. 16, 2005.
10.Technology Development of Hydrogen Formation and Purification
On Nov. 7, 2005 GS Yuasa Corp. published that a new technology of hydrogen production was found. By this technology hydrogen can be produced from methanol at low temperature from 30oC to 90oC. The company aims at practical use of this technology for portable equipments until fiscal year of 2007. The newly found fact is that hydrogen is formed, when a little air is fed to the structure of electrolyte sandwiched between a fuel electrode and an air electrode. Air supply is about 1/10 for DMFC and oxygen is lack. Thus they succeeded in hydrogen production. One of the features of this hydrogen production equipment is that little CO is contained in the formed gas. Hereafter the company promotes cooperative development with an electrolyte maker. Improvement of hydrogen production efficiency and reduction in the size are the aims. The company anticipates that this technology would be fully used in PEFC for automobiles and homes in the future. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Kyoto Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye and The Chemical Daily Nov. 8, 2005, The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Nov. 9, 2005 and The Tekko Shimbun (iron and steel) Nov. 17, 2005.
11.Development and Business Deployment of Micro FC
Canon Inc. developed hydrogen PEFC for digital cameras, small size printers and personal digital assistants, and it aims at practical use after 3 years. Hydrogen is stored in alloy in a cartridge and combined with FC to form the system. No CO2 is exhausted. Three types were made as trial products; a relatively large power source for a small size printer, a medium size power source for a digital camera and a small size power source for a personal digital assistant. The size of the smallest type of several W output is 3 cm X 4 cm, and the duration by one charge of hydrogen is the same as that of a lithium ion battery of the same size at present, but 2 – 3 times longer duration is the goal. It is anticipated that if these FCs are used in all small size products like a digital camera by the company, CO2 exhaustion is reduced by 1.5 billion tons per year. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Oct. 25, 2005.
12.Business Activity and Deployment Related with FC
(1) Vantec Co., Ltd.
Vantech Co., Ltd. (Nasu Shiobara city) sold FC combined with hydrogen storage alloy for efficient utilization of natural energy on Nov. 15, 2005. It is called gEarth Saver 4800,h and the output is 4.8 kW. The company sold it to Wakkanai New Energy Research Group in Wakkanai city, Hokkaido prefecture at the price of 50 million yen. By connecting with a windmill power generator, generated electric power is used for water electrolysis to form hydrogen, and it is stored in the alloy for FC fuel. The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) Nov. 7, 2005.

(2) Pemeas
A German Company, Pemeas, established Tokyo office to really enter to FC market in Japan and Asia. It begins to work on important companies and research institutes for propagation of MEA and technology development. The company was FC R&D division of Hochst (now Sanofi-aventis) and in 2004 it became an independent company by support of a consortium consisting of important companies in Japan, US and Europe. In 2005 it took over electrode division of an Italian Company, De Nora, E-Tek and it is dealing with MEA and electrodes. In their MEA hydrocarbon electrolyte membranes are used and the membrane is highly reliable, inexpensive and efficient in methanol reaction in comparison with fluorocarbon electrolyte membranes. An MEA for high temperature (120 – 200oC), Celtec P has wide allowance of CO, and Celtec V for low temperature (60 – 120oC) effectively prevents methanol from cross over. They are for DMFC, PEFC etc and do not need humidifying process. At present evaluation test and field test are proceeding in important companies in Europe and US. The Chemical Daily Nov. 10, 2005.
13.Forecast of FC Market
On Nov. 17, 2005 Fuji-keizai Co. published research results that FC market scale in 2020 would be 1,300 billion yen. The estimated markets are 900 billion yen for automobile, 307.5 billion yen for home and 67.1 billion yen for business and industries. The key point for propagation is the manufacturing cost, and at present it is estimated to be 8 million – 10 million yen/kW output. By mass production of components it is anticipated to decrease about 2.5 million yen in 2008. In 2010 it would be 1.2 million yen/kW, and it is forecasted that demand for home-use FC would be secured firstly by subsidiary. As to FCV, mass production is anticipated after 2010, and concrete action for practical use would be not so high. Commercialization of portable equipments would begin since 2007 and it would be accelerated after 2010. However by improvement of conventional batteries in performance, the market scale in 2020 is estimated to be around 14.4 billion yen. The Nikkeii Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) Nov. 18, 2005.

------------ This edition is made up as of November 20, 2005. ---------------