THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN No.116, January 2006
- Test Operation of Home-Use SOFC System Started -

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1.National Policies
2.Activity by A Local Government
3.Energy Saving by PAFC etc.
4.Development and Demonstration of SOFC
5.Development of Elementary Technology for PEFC etc
6.Rental Business for Demonstration and Commercialization Plan of Home-Use PEFC
7.Demonstration of Business-Use PEFC
8.FCV Forefront
9.FC for Backup Power Sources in Disaster
10.Development of Micro-FC and DMFC for Portable Equipments
11.Development of New Type of FC
12.Development of Periphery Technology

1.National Policies
@On November 18, 2005 NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) announced that demonstration of power supply by a program for a dispersed energy supply system using new energies would be started in Tango city, Kyoto prefecture. The system was constructed in gKyoto Eco-Energy Projecth which was entrusted to Fuji Electric Systems Co., Ltd., Nisshin Electric Co., Ltd., Kyoto Prefecture etc. In this system electric power is supplied to public facilities, the municipal hospital and so on by controlled combination of bio-gas electric power generation and storage batteries in addition to natural energies such as solar photovoltaic generation and wind power generation. In the bio-gas generation gas engines and FC are combined using unused resources of food waste from food factories. By using an electric grid of Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc., the balance between demand and supply is pursued in a virtual micro-grid. The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Chemical Daily Nov. 21, 2005.
@Construction of ga demonstration facility of new electric network systemh was begun. Iit is one activity of NEDO and entrusted to NTT Facilities, Inc., NTT Building Technology Institute, Tohoku Fukushi Daigaku University and Sendai City. On November 21, 2005 the ceremony for beginning the construction was held in The First Campus of Tohoku Fukushi Daigaku University located in Kunimigaoka, Aoba-ku, Sendai city. The Nikkan Kensetsu Kogyo Shimbun (construction) Nov. 22, 2005.
@On Dec. 12, 2005 NEDO set forth that it decided 12 subsidiary research items in international cooperative research on basic technology for safe utilization of hydrogen etc. in 2005 fiscal year. gResearch of fibrous metal of boron based hydrogen storage materialsh (Toyota Central Research Institute, Fribourg University in Switzerland and Tohoku University) and gR&D of porous chelate hydrogen storage materials technologyh (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and Rutgers-The State University in USA) are included. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Dec. 13, 2005 and The Chemical Daily Dec. 14, 2005.
2.Activity by A Local Government
@Kanagawa Industrial Technology Research Institute is developing 2 varieties of DMFC, i.e., a micro-array type and a coin type.
@In the micro-array type, cells are set in micro-holes of 50|200 micron m diameter fabricated on a photo-sensitive glass plate. Its advantage is to make it at low cost. The glass plate can be easily treated and endurable against chemical reagents and heat. Nafion solution is injected into the hole, and after drying and thin film formation anode catalyst and cathode catalyst are applied. Then gold thin film is formed by vacuum deposition, and pattern is formed with a metal mask. Gold wires are set through holes and they attached to both electrodes. On each cell less than 1 micron L of 5% methanol solution is dropped, and output of 0.5 W/cm2 was observed for a cell of 200 micron m diameter.
@In the case of the coin type, 5wt% nafion solution mixed with platinum-ruthenium black is painted uniformly on carbon paper to form anode catalyst layer. MEA is formed by sandwiching nafion film with the anode layer and cathode made using platinum black catalyst. In a case of coin shape with air pore and fuel supplying inlet, MEA and a titanium mesh spacer are assembled. In the case 0.15 cc of 5% methanol can be stored. Power density of 25 mW/cm2 was confirmed, and hereafter 30 mW/cm2 will be aimed at. The Chemical Daily Nov. 22, 2005.
3.Energy Saving by PAFC etc.
@Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. collected results of trial habitation in its experimental apartment house gNEXTh for 10 years. In energy saving experiment including cogenerations by PAFC and gas engines, total energy consumption was by 30% reduced. The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Nov. 28, 2005 and The Sankei Shimbun Dec. 6, 2005.
4.Development and Demonstration of SOFC
(1) Kyocera Corp. and Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
@The above two companies have developed a home-use cogeneration system by SOFC. For introduction into market in 2008 fiscal year the system is under trial operation in an experimental residence gNEXT 21h of Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. since Nov. 28, 2005, and quality of the system and energy saving effect is watched. The power generation is 1 kW, and the electric efficiency was over its goal of 45% (LHV). This performance is by more than 5% higher than electricity supplied to homes by usual power stations. Furthermore, hot water of 70oC is supplied to the bath and floor heating. The generator (the SOFC system) is 48 cm deep, 98 cm high and 70 cm wide, and the hot water supplier is 40 cm deep, 145 cm high and 65 cm wide. The Asahi Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industry and technology), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave), The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction), The Kyoto Shimbun and the Chemical Daily Nov.. 25, 2005, The Mainichi Shimbun Nov. 27, 2005 and the Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave) Nov. 28, 2005.

(2) Tokyo Institute of Technology
@Assistant Professor, Ihara and co-workers of a research center of carbon circulation and energy of Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed a new type of SOFC, in which solid carbon deposited on the fuel electrode by thermal decomposition of hydrocarbons such as propane can electrochemically react with oxygen in air. It can generate electricity repeatedly and it is portable, so that it is called grechargeable direct carbon FC (RDCFC).h The electrolyte is YSZ and cermet (nickel and gadolinium doped ceria) is used as a fuel electrode. By charging solid carbon for 5 min, 83 min duration at the maximum and 52 mW/cm2 maximum power density were recorded. Stable generation is possible at power density of 44 – 50 mW/cm2. Because a fuel tank and a fuel supplying pump are not necessary, downsizing is possible, so that real use is expected as the next generation portable FC. For the SOFC developed by this research group, propane is used as hydrocarbon for solid carbon deposition, but methane, butane and so on can be used at high operating temperature of 800|1,000oC, and diversification of fuel is anticipated. Furthermore, increase in the output, examination of thermal insulating structure and research for long stability of generating performance will be made to aim at real portable FC. The Chemical Daily Dec. 5, 2005.
5.Development of Elementary Technology for PEFC etc.
(1) Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.
@The company begins proposition activity of new usage of stainless steel based porous metal gCelmeth for components of PEFC and DMFC. In comparison with carbon materials, its electrical resistance is low and it is also superior in thermal conductivity, strength and endurance, so that low cost and downsizing of FC could be realized by using it as collectors with gas flow channels and diffusion layers. The Celmet is porous materials in which pores are connected with each other, and its porosity is over 90%. Nickel based Celmet is produced mainly for anodes of nickel hydrogen cells by Sumitomo Electric Toyama Co., Ltd. and its market share is high. The Celmet for FC is stainless steel based material and its development is being done by gslurry applying method,h in which slurry containing metal powder is applied on polyurethane foam surface and then sintered it to form porous metal of open pore structure. The Chemical Daily Nov. 28, 2005.

(2) Honjo Chemical Corp.
@Honjo Chemical Corp. (Neyagawa city, Osaka prefecture) has developed fulleren derivatives for electrolyte in cooperation with Prof. Oshima and co-workers in Faculty of Engineering, Osaka University. Its arrangement of strongly acidic functional groups is optimized by chemical synthesis technology, so that it is superior in proton conductivity and thermal stability in high temperature range. In addition to this, its characteristic point is low tendency of hydrolysis. The electrolyte membrane of this derivative is highly stable in high concentration methanol and swelling of the membrane is suppressed. Hereafter the company is planning to begin sample work of this material mainly for the membrane material, three phase interface materials etc. in the FC fields. The company has intention to achieve practical use within 3 years. The Chemical Daily Dec. 15, 2005.
6.Rental Business for Demonstration and Commercialization Plan of Home-Use PEFC
(1) Nippon Oil Corp.
@The company announced that a kerosene fueled home use PEFC system gENEOS ECBOYh has been developed in collaboration with Ebara Corp. and Ebara Ballard Corp., and it would be commercialize by rental since March 20, 2006. The rated output, the electric efficiency, the temperature of exhausted hot water and the operating temperature are 950 W, 35%, 65oC and from –10 to 40oC, respectively. The fuel is specified kerosene by the company, gENEOS FC kerosene,h and it will be delivered by a drum and poured into a tank in home. Installation of 100 sets is forecasted in the fiscal year of 2006 in 11 prefectures, namely Kanto district, Yamanashi, Nagano, Niigata and Shizuoka in addition to main cities in Hokkaido and Tohoku district. In 2007 fiscal year sales of 500 sets are planned. The maintenance system will be set up. The rate of lease is 60 thousands yen per year and 60% of domestic electric consumption could be covered. The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Mainichi Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industry and technology), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nikkan Kensetsu Kogyo Shimbun (construction), The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction), The Hochi Shimbun, The Tokyo Shimbun, The Hokkaido Shimbun, The Kahoku Shimbun, The Chemical Daily, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Dec. 1, 2005.

(2) Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd.
@The installed home use PEFC cogeneration systems gLifuelh by the company reached 100 sets on Dec. 2, 2005. Until the end of 2005, 200 sets are planned to be introduced. Over 180 set installation is fixed including 100 sets under operation. The goal of the first year can almost be foreseen. The company planned about 200 set installation in 2006 fiscal year. Main installation sites are detached houses, and 30% among the installed 100 sets are for newly built houses, 70% being for used houses. The main areas are Tokyo prefecture (60%) and Kanagawa prefecture (30%), while the others are Chiba prefecture and southern parts of Saitama prefecture. The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Dec. 5, 2005, The Chemical Daily Dec. 6, 2005 and The Dempa Shimbun (electromagnetic wave) Dec. 7, 2005.

(3) Toyota Motor Corp.
@On Dec. 7, 2005 Toyota Motor Corp. announced that it recognizes home use FC to be an important field in new business and it decided to launch its development in real earnest in collaboration with Aishin Seiki Co., Ltd to realize practical use within several years. The company has started test of 1 kW output home-use FC cogeneration systems installed in general homes in Tokai area in cooperation with Toho Gas Co., Ltd. The company has intention to participate in future large-scale demonstration subsidized by the government. The Nishinihon Shimbun and The Kahoku Shimbun Dec. 8, 2005.

(4) Corona Corp.
@The company will commercialize home-use FC aiming at 2010. It succeeded in reformation of kerosene by introducing catalyst technology from Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. Corona Corp. adopted kerosene for reforming, considering it has been manufacturing kerosene fueled stoves. By combining Coronafs combustion technology and Idemitsufs catalyst technology, it gets over technological tasks in home-use FC, and 1 kW class FC is now under testing in its New Energy Research Center. The goal of reformation at 80% efficiency was achieved. The company planned to participate the large-scale demonstration in 2006 fiscal year and to begin monitoring sales in 2008 fiscal year. The Nikkan Kogyoo Shimbun Dec. 10, 2005.

(5) Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd.
@On Dec. 13, 2005 the company published that it decided installation sites for LPG specified PEFC systems accepted in the second term large-scale demonstration of stationary FC. From Hokkaido to Kagoshima 25 sets will be installed in detached houses and operation data will be gathered for 2 years. The PEFC are those of 700 W power generation by Toshiba Fuel Cell Systems Corp., and maintenance, such as LPG gas supply, operation management and check service, will be made through Idemitsu Gas and Life Co., Ltd. The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industry and technology) and The Chemical Daily Dec. 14, 2005, and The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Dec. 15, 2005.
7.Demonstration of Business-Use PEFC
@Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd and Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (IHI) have cooperatively developed quasi-commercial systems of kerosene fueled and LPG fueled 5 kW PEFC for business use. The both types will be installed in FC Technoplaza in the central research institute and demonstration will be launched since January of 2006. The electric generation efficiencies are about 34% and 33% respectively for LPG and kerosene. They aim at real use in 2008. IHI is in charge of reformers and FC, while Idemitsu in reforming catalysts. Steam reforming with the reforming catalyst has been under operation reaching 35,000 h. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Nov. 24, 2005.
8.FCV Forefront
(1) Daido Institute of Technology etc.
@Daido Institute of Technology announced on Nov. 24, 2005 that it would wrestle with development of fundamental technology for real use of FC in FCV in collaboration with Ritsumeikan University, Shinshu University, Mie University and automobile makers. First, Daido Institute of Technology will establish a FC research center and it will invest 3.5 billion yen by 2009 fiscal year to install the most advanced experimental facilities in universities in a dispersed form. They will make researches to develop FC highly endurable under sever conditions of repeated starts and stops in a wide temperature range from minus zero to high temperature. For initial 3 years apparatuses for evaluating FC generation performance will be introduced at a pace of 30 sets per year. Faculty of Textile Science of Shinshuu University will study endurance of catalysts with Ritsumeikan University. The Nikkeii Sangyo Shimbun (industry and technology), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Shinano Mainichi Shimbun Nov. 25, 2005.
@Daido Institute of Technology announced that a ceremony for opening the FC R&D center would be held on Nov. 30, 2005. The total floor area is 400 m2, and research will be made in collaboration with Mie Prefecture etc. The Chunichi Shimbun Nov. 25, 2005.

(2) Daimler Chrysler Japan Co., Ltd.
@The company delivered FCV gF-Cellh to Japan Automobile Research Institute on Dec. 7, 2005. It will be used for development of standardization of hydrogen charging connectors and on-board hydrogen flow meters in the preparative activity of common base to construct hydrogen society. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Dec. 8, 2005 and The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Dec. 10, 2005.
9.FC for Backup Power Sources in Disaster
@Maubic, Inc. (Hamamatsu city) begins to sell backup FC systems for supplying electric power at disasters like earthquake. As an outlet for broadcast and communication sectors the company made a contract with a US company ReliOn Inc. producing the systems. The system is a cartridge type and the power can be changed freely. The duration is 30 h at output of 1 kW and the price is 3.7 million yen. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Nov. 21, 2005.
10.Development of Micro-FC and DMFC for Portable Equipments
(1) Mitsubishi Pencil Co., Ltd.
@The company is going to initiate mass-production of separators that are main components in micro-FC for portable phones and music players. The main material for the separators is carbon, and the features of the separators are thinness, lightweight and strength. The production is made applying technology of lead production for mechanical pencils. The mass production facilities will be installed in Gumma Factory in November, and the mass production system will be established in 2006 fiscal year. The price will be reduced to 1/10 and 500 yen. The separators are 1 mm thick (0.2 mm at the thinnest part) and the weight is about 1/4 of metallic separators. The separators are anti-corrosive. The problem was strength, but production technology to strengthen them was established by applying sintering technology for the mechanical pencil leads. The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industry and technology) Nov. 22, 2005.

(2) Sony Corp.
@By complex formation of fullerene derivatives and binder polymer, the company succeeded in development of DMFC electrolyte of low methanol permeability. In the molecular structure of these derivatives, about 8 functional groups containing hydrogen ion conductive sulfonic acid are attached on fullerene molecule. Permeability of methanol is 1/2 to 1/5 compared with that of fluorocarbon sulfonic acid polymer. The power density of DMFC assembled by the company using this electrolyte membrane reached 100 mW/cm2. Because sulfonic acid is connected to fullerene with fluorocarbon, stability of the molecule becomes high and it is endurable with heat at about 200oC. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Nov. 28, 2005 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industry and technology) Nov. 29, 2005.

(3) National Institute for Material Science
@In the Eco-materials Research Center of National Institute for Material Science, new anode materials for DMFC were made from platinum and cerium oxide (metal-ceramics complex electrode). In comparison with Pt-Ru alloy electrode, onset potential (voltage drop) in electrode reaction is decreased by about 30 mV and the current density was improved by 1.5 times. Because many oxygen defects are on the surface of cerium oxide, active oxygen is electrochemically released by this defect sites and the complex has property that electron exchange is easily promoted with contained metal. It shows electrically insulating property near the room temperature, but electrode of high performance can be developed by utilizing different electrode reaction mechanism. Making use of this material, necessary platinum amount can be reduced by 34% at the maximum, and furthermore another promising point is that rare resource of ruthenium becomes unnecessary. The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Chemical Daily and The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Nov. 28, 2005.

(4) Toray Industries, Inc.
@The company adopted new hydrocarbon materials as electrolyte membrane for small size DMFC, so that high performance of the FC comes in sight. The company investigated inner structure of conventional electrolyte membrane and found easily permeable portion for methanol. Thus it created new structure by eliminating this portion. Permeability of hydrogen ion is not changed, but methanol can scarcely pass. The output became 2|3 times more than that of conventional FC, and thus the size of the FC for portable equipments could be half. Endurance test shows that the voltage decreases by 20|30 % for conventional ones after 500 h use, but it is about 5% for new one. Though it is in trial level, it was confirmed that a note type personal computer, a portable phone and a video camera works with this new DMFC assembled by the company. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Dec. 16, 2005.
11.Development of New Type of FC
@Prof. Kaneko and co-workers of Science Faculty of Ibaraki University have developed photo-FC, which generates electricity by solar light and biomass. The principle of this FC is as follows. When light is irradiated on n-type semiconductor covered with porous film of titanium dioxide, a pair of electron and hole is formed. The hole is used for oxidative decomposition of fuel, while the electron reduces oxygen on the counter electrode. Thus electric power can be generated. For instance, when ammonia solution is used, separation of electric carriers occurs by irradiation on the n-type anode (porous titanium dioxide electrode), and the formed hole makes oxidative decomposition of ammonia to form nitrogen and hydrogen ion. The hydrogen ion migrates to the counter electrode, the platinum cathode, while the electron flows through the external circuit to the cathode. On the cathode the electron reduces oxygen with hydrogen ion to form water. This group demonstrated the principle by using ultraviolet light, visible light and a solar simulator, and the yield of photon and charge carriers (IPCE) reached 20|45%.
@Any biomass or any organic compound can be used, if it is soluble in water, so that fossil fuel is not needed, and it is the point that this technology can be applied to complete treatment of wastes and effective use of resources. The group aims at real use of the technology within 2|3 years, and the system design and performance evaluation will be done hereafter. (The Chemical Daily Dec, 15, 2005.
12.Development of Periphery Technology
@Ogiwara Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (Shimosuwa machi, Suwa county, Nagano prefecture) begins full development of pumps for home-use FC cogeneration. The company intends to improve life and flow rate control performance of circulation pumps and to complete the development by March of 2008. The concrete items are two; cooling pumps of FC and pumps for hot water by exhausted heat in the reforming process. They think that the goal of life is 40,000 h continuous operation, and control performance needed is flow rate control from 0 to 5 mL/min. They think to realize the goals by improvement of bearings in the motors and review of structural design. The Shinano Mainichi Shimbun Dec. 8, 2005.

------------ This edition is made up as of December 16, 2005. ---------------