THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, JUNE 2006
`Demonstration of Multiple Hydrogen Utilization in Osaka Area `

Arranged by T. HOMMA
1.National Policy
2.R & D Achievement of SOFC
3.R & D of PEFC Elementary Technologies
4.Development, Demonstration and Business Deployment of Home-use FC
5.Large Scale Demonstration of Stationary FC
6.FCV Forefront
7.Technological Development of Reforming, Hydrogen Formation and Purification
8.Development of Micro FC Related Technology

1.National Policy
(1) NEDO
@NEDO held the second meeting of the Roadmap Committee of FC Technology Development and completed review discussion on the roadmap for technology development of FC and hydrogen in 2006. It was decided that priority is given to early propagation rather than pursuing performance improvement, and amendment was done, for instance target of production cost of stationary PEFC around 2020 to 2030 is amended to be below 400,000 \/kW, while it was below 200,000 \/kW in the roadmap of 2005 version. The operating temperature of FCV is extended to low temperature and the temperature range is set from –40oC to 120oC. Targets for DMFC in the same year range are 1kWh/L in the energy density, 200 mW/cm2 in the power density and a little less than 10,000 h in endurance. Large amendments were made in stationary SOFC, and the targets around 2018 are a little less than 44% (HHV) in the generation efficiency, 90,000 h in the endurance and a little more than 250,000 \/kW in the system price for small SOFC systems. [The Chemical Daily April 28, 2006.]

(2) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
@METI published gTechnological Strategy Map 2006.h New technological areas, such as anti-cancer measures and superconductivity, were set, and standardization scenarios were made in the fields of nano-technology etc. In automobile related field, components development, such as timing belts applying high polymer technology and ceramics piston ring, was included beside FC. The map consists of three parts; gintroduction scenarioh including policies for propagating development results, gtechnology maph pointing elementary technologies necessary for real use of important technologies and groad maph describing development plans of elementary technologies necessary for real use of important technologies. The technology fields are four, i.e., information- communication, life science, environment-energy, and manufacturing industries. Adding 3 fields, i.e., anti-cancer measures, superconductivity and human life, 24 fields are designated. In automobile related field super-capacitors of high power, secondary batteries of high-performance and long-life etc are objects in the map. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) May 8, 2006.]

(3) Comprehensive investigation committee on resources and energy
@New energy division of the above committee, a consultative committee of the minister of METI, discussed a draft of interim report in its 17th meeting on May 11, 2006. The division pointed out 4 points as new directions in future new energy policy, and they are gclarification of concepts of new energy and renewable energy,h groutes for promoting further introduction of new energy,h gconcentrated technology developmenth and grestructuring of bio-mass energy policies.h Frameworks of policies for future introduction of new energy were assembled, pointing out importance of enlarged introduction of bio-mass fuel for transportation and technology development of solar cells, FC, batteries etc. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) May 12, 2006.]

(4) Engineering Advancement Assoc. of Japan (EAAJ) and Japan Automobile Res. Inst., Inc.(JARI)
@Since June of 2006, EAAJ and JARI will start a project in Osaka area, and it is financially supported by Agency of Natural Resources and Energy. In the project mobile FC and stationary FC using hydrogen will be demonstrated. In this 5 year project FCV and FC mobile power sources will be running, while a hydrogen station of compressed hydrogen and liquid hydrogen will be constructed and on-site FC generation will be done by supplying hydrogen with pipes from the hydrogen station. In Tokyo area about 10 hydrogen stands were constructed and demonstration of FCV has been made, while in Osaka area focus is given to flexible utilization of the hydrogen stand and also to demonstration from multiple viewpoints. The participating companies are Iwatani International Corp., Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc., Osaka Gas Co., Ltd., Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd., Kurimoto, Ltd. and Hitachi Zosen Corp., in addition to participation of Osaka City and Osaka Sangyo University.
@As to hydrogen-fueled mobiles, one FCV will be assembled within this year and finally 10 cars are planned. Mobile power sources (light-weight trucks) of 5 – 10 kW will also be assembled and hydrogen automobile by Mazda Motor Corp. and FCV by Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd. will also be introduced. To these mobiles hydrogen will be supplied by the mobile hydrogen station to be installed in Kansai airport and by high-pressure hydrogen station to be installed in the site of Osaka Prefecture Office. The first hydrogen station will be the mobile stand, and then a station with a compressor and dispenser will be introduced. Finally liquid hydrogen station will be operated as the third step. In this plan Iwatani International Corp. will complete the mobile liquid hydrogen stand until the fall of 2006 and hydrogen will be supplied from a liquid hydrogen plant (capacity 6,000 L/h) to be constructed in Sakai city. Hydrogen will be transported with pipes and a stationary FC will be operated for demonstration of power generation and heat utilization. Especially at the station in Kansai airport generation by SOFC is being planned for demonstration. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) May 12, 2006.]
2.R & D Achievement of SOFC
(1) Kansai Electric Power Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp.
@On April 10, 2006 Kansai Electric Power Co., Ltd. announced that it has developed a SOFC generating module in collaboration with Mitsubishi Materials Corp. The module is 10 kW output scale and operated below 800oC. In generating experiment the output of 12.7 kW and generating efficiency of 56% (dc output, LHV) were achieved in the operating temperature from 680oC to 786oC under condition of thermal independence. In this module 16 sets of generating stacks (0.8 kW scale) are arranged to increase generating output, and uniform flows of fuel and air were realized by devicing inner structure in the stacks and the module. Since now they will improve thermal balance in the module aiming at further increase in generating efficiency. In 2006 fiscal year the module will be combined with auxiliaries, and until the end of this fiscal year a system for utilization of electricity and heat will be completed with the above module as a core. In 2007 fiscal year long-term continuous operating test will be made and examination on performance and endurance will be done for future real use. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun, (electricity), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chemical Daily (April 11, 2006).]

(2) Mitsui Mining and Smelting Corp., Ltd.
@The company made continuous operation of SOFC of ceria base electrolyte and achieved 0.9 W/cm2 output density and 1,000 hour endurance at 600oC operating temperature. The electrolyte of this SOFC is dense film. It is made by painting paste of fine powder of ceria base material with organic solvent on the electrode and then it is sintered in the temperature range from 1400oC to 1500oC to form a dense film. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) April 17, 2006.]

(3) Meidensha Corp.
@In cooperation with a US company, Siemens Power Generation, Meidensha Corp. will start test of 5 kW SOFC in Oota factory of the company for confirming performance since the fall of 2006. The test will be continued for about one year to examine whether it is necessary to modify the reformer to produce hydrogen from town gas for Japanese market. Difference is in composition of town gas between Japan and US, so that generating efficiency might be decreased. The performance of SOFC of 200 – 300 kW class will be confirmed. The joint venture would be established to deploy business of SOFC in Japanese market at earliest timing of 2008 fiscal year. It is thought to sell it as a co-generation system to factories, commercial buildings, hospitals etc. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) May 9, 2006.]
3.R & D of PEFC Elementary Technologies
@Prof. Yoshiyuki Sho, an assistant professor of Tokai University, has developed metallic separators, performance of which is similar to that of graphite separators, by forming carbon film on surface of titanium by special technique. The carbon film of 0.1 micron m thickness is formed on the titanium surface of 4 cm square and 1 mm thickness. On the surface of titanium plate heated above 400oC, ethylene gas decomposed by high frequency plasma is blown, and carbon film is formed in which carbon atoms are arranged in a highly electro-conductive structure. Corrosion is a drawback of the metallic separator, however formation of carbon film brings improved anti-corrosive characteristics as well as the high conductivity. Prof. Sho thinks that carbon film could be formed on stainless steel surface, which is less expensive than titanium. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) April 25, 2006.]
4.Development, Demonstration and Business Deployment of Home-use FC
(1) Mitsui abd Co., Ltd.
@The company invested money in a Canadian venture enterprise, which has technology of home-use FC, and it is planning to develop small FC downsized for Japanese market in 2006 and to introduce it into the Japanese market in 2007. To realize commercialization early Mitsui and Co. Ltd. entrusts the development to Ballard and other Canadian companies, which are advanced in FC. The output is assumed 1 kW scale. [The Fuji Sankei Business Eye April 22, 2006]

(2) Ebara Ballard Corp.
@Changing FC varieties in the present large-scale demonstration of home-use PEFC, Ebara Ballard Corp. will make test operation of new trial FC products for real use. The FCfs are natural gas reforming type and kerosene reforming type, both of which clear 40,000 h endurance, and the company will complete the trial production in this summer. The trial products are developed in cooperation with Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and Nippon Oil Corp. Endurance of 20,000 h was set for the present varieties in the large scale demonstration. The newly developed system showed 30,000 h endurance in real operation. The deterioration mechanism, in which bores are formed in polymer membrane and the catalyst is degraded, was elucidated by development in Ballard Power Systems Corp. The dimensions of the stacks will be greatly reduced, and it is anticipated not to be impossible that production costs of the natural gas reforming type and kerosene reforming type would be respectively 1.2 m\/kW and 1.5 M\/kW. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) April 28, 2006.]
5.Large-Scale Demonstration of Stationary FC
@On April 26 New Energy Foundation decided to vote subsidiaries to 14 companies. Among 700 items of subsidiaries are 301 items to Nippon Oil Corp., 133 items to Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., 64 items to Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. etc. The selection was done for gthe third term large-scale demonstration of stationary FCfsh in 2006 fiscal year. The maximum subsidiary is 4.5 M\ per one set. Hokkaido Gas Co., Ltd. and Nippon Gas Co., Ltd. are newly added in the selection, and Toyota Motor Corp. is also newly joined as a system maker. For kerosene reforming systems 75 items were selected. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) April 27, 2006.]
@Japan Energy Corp. received decision of subsidiary for 33 sets in the above demonstration. The FCes are LPG fueled FCfs of 700 W rated output, gJOMO ECOCUBEh and they will be installed from the beginning of July of this year to February of 2007. [The Chemical Daily April 28, 2006.]
@On May 2, 2006 Kyushu Oil Co., Ltd. announced that it would join the large-scale demonstration in 2006 fiscal year. [The Chemical Daily May 8, 2006.]
6.FCV Forefront
@In a monitor contract Hokkaido local government used gFCXh by Honda R&D Co., Ltd. since February of 2005. The lease period of this contract was over in April of 2006. In the trial use, the endurance was not the problem, but it was a bottleneck that there is not an available hydrogen charging facility. [The Hokkaido Shimbun May 9, 2006.]
7.Technological Development of Reforming, Hydrogen Formation and Purification
(1) Tokyo Institute of Technology
@Prof. Emeritus Otsuka and Prof. Yamanaka developed a new technology producing high purity hydrogen from biomass by a one-step process. Hydrogen is produced by adding sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and water vapor to biomass, and NaOH can be recycled again from byproduct of sodium carbonate by conventional lime method. From cellulose as material hydrogen yield is about 100%, and from 1 ton of cellulose about 150 kg hydrogen is formed. By this method high purity hydrogen without CO and CO2 can be produced from biomass. In the case of cellulose hydrogen was formed at relatively low temperature (200 – 400oC) and a little amount of methane was formed as a byproduct, but CO and CO2 were not formed at all. When nickel catalyst was added to reacting biomass, evolution of methane was not observed and hydrogen yield was roughly 100%. [The Chemical Daily April 19, 2006.]

(2) National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
@Dr. Suda, a principal researcher, and his group have developed hydrogen separation thin film useful for efficient hydrogen production. This thin film is characteristic in three-layered structure, in which gap is sandwiched between palladium layer and aluminum oxide layer. The rate of hydrogen permeation is 7.6 L/s m2 (membrane area) at 500oC, and it is twofold higher than that of conventional membrane. The research group thinks that the gap is effective for hydrogen permeation. The gap is also useful in preventing crack formation, and stable operation could be done for over 150 h. For real use it is necessary to increase the rate of permeation and to reduce expensive palladium amount. They will begin research on effect of alloy formation with silver and copper. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) April 10, 2006.]

(3) Tokyo Agricultural University
@An assistant, Dr. Sen and his co-workers developed technology for efficiently producing hydrogen from wasted polyvinyl chloride resin. The resin is put in a reactor together with wasted glass and water, and then it is heated to 350 – 450oC. The resin is decomposed, and hydrocarbon fuel and hydrogen chloride are formed. Hydrogen chloride is neutralized with sodium oxide contained in the glass to form sodium chloride. The hydrocarbon fuel is reacted in another reactor with catalyst by blowing water vapor at 700 – 800oC to form hydrogen containing mixed gas and then hydrogen is extracted for separation. In an experiment 10 L hydrogen was obtained from 10 g resin. Hydrogen production became 5 times compared with a conventional method. Because hydrogen chloride is not containined, corrosion of the hydrogen production equipment does not occur. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun May 1, 2006.]

(4) Utsunomiya University
@Prof. Ito, an assistant, Dr. Sato and their co-workers have succeeded in producing gas containing hydrogen from lignin in woods at lower temperature than in a conventional method by applying supercritical state. Thus hydrogen could be produced by exhausted heat from factories. In the process water and lignin extracted from woods are put in a stainless steel reactor in which nickel loaded on magnesium oxide surface is filled as catalyst. It is heated at 400oC in 270 atmospheres. Then water is in supercritical state and lignin is decomposed to hydrogen-containing gas by catalytic activity. In the experiment 15 mL hydrogen and 60 mL methane was produced from 0.1 g lignin and 1.8 mL water. Among fibrous contents of woods lignin is especially hard to be decomposed, and in conventional process hydrogen-containing gas is formed in the temperature range of 550 – 900oC. It is thought that in this new process hydrogen could be formed from other fibrous components. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) May 5, 2006.]

(5) Kyushu University
@Together with FCC Prof. Kitaoka, an assistant professor of Kyushu University, developed paper-like catalyst for reforming. Applying paper technology, powder catalyst is formed into paper. This paper-like catalyst is filled in a reformer, and methanol and water is poured. When it is heated at 300oC, hydrogen is produced. Efficiency of hydrogen production is the same as the powder catalyst, but CO formation is by 60% decreased. T his paper-like catalyst is 1 mm thick, and many fine pores of 20 micron m in diameter are formed. To make this catalyst, the powder catalyst is poured into water together with ceramic fibers, silicon carbide fibers, pulp fibers and two kinds of coagulating agents, and the water mixture is formed into paper. By sintering at 350oC pulp fibers are burned out, and the catalyst is adhered on surface of the ceramic fibers. The research group thinks that by using the silicon carbide fibers of high thermal conductivity, heat is efficiently supplied to the catalyst and the catalytic activity is effectively enhanced. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) May 9, 2006.]
8.Development of Micro FC Related Technology
(1) Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd.
@On April 13, 2006 the company in Ueda city announced that it developed 2 new products. One is a small and light micro-pump, which can be used for circulating liquid especially in micro FC. The pump is 14 mm in diameter, 14 mm in length and 9 g in weight. It can work at low voltage of 3 V and it flows liquid at 30 mL/min. at the maximum. The company expects increase in demand when it is assembled in personal computers. The other new product is an outer rotor type motor characteristic of low noise and it would bring downsizing of products, when it is assembled in the products. [The Shinano Mainichi Shimbun April 14, 2006 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) April 18, 2006.]

(2) Alps Electric Co., Ltd.
@On April 13, 2006, the company announced that it has developed a thin piezoelectric type pump. The decrease in thickness can be done applying piezoelectric actuator technology. It has developed as a pump for flowing liquid in FC systems as well as in a cooling systems of personal computers and AV equipments. Piezoelectric technology can bring high flow rate and large flow volume in a thin, small and light pump of low electric consumption. The outer dimensions are 34 mm wide, 38 mm deep and 8 mm high. The flow rate is 250 mL/min at no load, and it can work for over 44,000 h continuously. The price as a sample is 2,500 \, and production of 100,000 sets is expected in September of 2007. [The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) April 14, 2006.]

(3) Hitachi Maxell, Ltd.
@On April 24, 2006 the company published that it developed PEFC of 10 W scale (20 W and 7.4 V at the maximum), which used water and aluminum as hydrogen source. The company has succeeded in driving PC with this FC. The output density is 280 mW/cm2. The size is 160 mm X 100 mm X 60 mm, and it weighs 920 g. It is about 1/5 compared with DMFC. Applying the companyfs process technology for making micro-fine aluminum powder, hydrogen evolution can be greatly increased, and 1.3L hydrogen can be produced from 1 g of aluminum at the room temperature. In demonstration of this PEFC module the company succeeded to work a personal computer for 4 – 5 h by using 20 g of aluminum. Hereafter the company will examine its real usage as a power source of 10 – 100 W class, and it expected to ship samples in 2007 fiscal year. [The Asahi Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave), The Tokyo Shimbun, The Chugoku Shimbun, The Hokkaido Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye and The Chemical Daily April 25, 2006.]

(4) Polyphenol Corp.
@An US company, Polyphenol Corp. promotes real use of hydrocarbon electrolyte membrane for DMFC. For preparing mass-production it begins testing together with other companies in film production and polymer synthesis. In high performance film published by the company in December of 2005, the thickness was reduced to 45 micron m, and the maximum output was 80 mW/cm2 . The reverse diffusion of water was by 30% improved and the crossover of water was kept at the same as conventional products. The company began to sell it to customers. Film of 2 m width can be made. The company is now testing the polymer synthesis with 2 other companies and installation of a large-scale reactor will be considered. The present capacity is enough to fulfill the demand until 2007, but real examination will start on establishment of system for mass-production and supply for demand since 2008. [The Chemical Daily April 26, 2006.]

(5) Toa Gosei Ltd.
@The company paid attention to micro-fine filling membrane devised by Prof. Yamaguchi, an assistant professor of the University of Tokyo, and it applied its production technology of hydrophilic resin sheets. Thus the company has developed new electrolyte membrane with which the output of portable DMFC can be increased by 1.5 times. In this micro-pore filling membrane, electrolyte is filled into many micro-pores of several tens nm diameter in a polyolefin base plate of several tens micron m thickness, and this structure was devised for preventing methanol permeation. The base plate takes a role to prevent expansion of filled electrolyte, and thus it prevents degradation of performance due to permeation of methanol. Because the inexpensive polyolefin plate made from petroleum is used, its low manufacturing cost is one of advantages. However it was a problem that the base plate decreases conductivity of hydrogen ion together with methanol permeation. In the hydrophilic resin sheets made by the company polymer gel containing carboxylic acid groups are used. The conductivity is increased by replacing carboxylic acid groups by sulfonic acid groups of high conductivity. Thus output of DMFC is increased. Furthermore by utilizing a production line of the hydrophilic resin, it becomes possible to fulfill the electrolyte uniformly and continuously. It is expected that the cost of the membrane can be reduced to 1/2 or 1/3 of the conventional fluorocarbon membrane. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (industries and technology) May 1, 2006.]

------------ This edition is made up as of May 12, 2006. ---------------