(1) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
@After a cabinet meeting on Feb. 1, 2008, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry said "It is intended to exhibit a Japanese type of a zero emission residential house around Toyako Summit G8 in July." In this zero emission house electric power will be generated by FC, and hot water supply and air conditioning will be done with heat pumps, while LED will be used for illumination. The promising site for the house exhibition is the International Media Center for the Summit. The minister also stated an intention to construct the world largest solar cells generator. [The Hokkaido Shimbun Feb. 1, 2008 and The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Feb. 4, 2008]
@On Feb. 1, 2008 the ministry held a subdivision meeting of overall investigation committee for resources and energy, and they discussed policies for propagation of solar photovoltaic generation and FC. It was confirmed that guideline to realize new energy introduction, such as construction of large scale photovoltaic generation plant and expansion of utilization of new clean energy, would be completed after about 3 months. In the division necessity was discussed to construct large scale photovoltaic cells, and furthermore bio-fuels, clean energy automobiles, laws related with new energies were examined, in addition to propagation of solar photovoltaic cells among houses. Further examination would be done in working group, if necessary. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Feb. 2, 2008, The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Chemical Daily Feb. 4, 2008]
@Since Feb. 4 to 8 demonstration and trial run of FCV and hydrogen engine cars in cold climate were made together with hydrogen charging test in "Sapporo Snow Festival" venue in Chuo ward of Sapporo city. JARI and Engineering Promotion Association sponsored these in a series of JHFC activities. The participation to Toyako Summit G8 was also appealed. Participation to these demonstrations was done with FCV and hydrogen engine cars, such as FCHV by Toyota Motor Corp., X-TRAIL FCV by Nissan Motor Corp., FCX by Honda Motor Corp., F-Cell by Mercedes Benz, HydroGen 3 by General Motors Corp. and a hydrogen engine car RX-8 by Mazda Motor Corp. [The Sankei Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Hokkaido Shimbun Feb. 5, 2008, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Feb. 5, 2008 and The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) Feb. 13, 2008]
(3) Ministry of Environment
@On Feb. 7, 2008 the ministry presented classified issues to the central environmental council examining construction of future low carbon society. The Japanese government made proposition of a goal to reduce worldwide emission of global warming gasses like CO2 to half by 2050. The proposition was made in May of 2007. The above examination is made on imagination of society suitable for this goal. The government, people and industries all together should be conscious of getting rid of mass-production, mass-consumption and mass-disposal. Based on this fundamental idea concrete images were shown for towns, transportation, energy supply etc. [The Nikkan Kensetsu Kogyo Shimbun (construction) Feb. 8, 2008]
@On Feb. 14, 2008 NEDO announced that it is going to accept proposal of subsidiaries for "New Energy Advanced Venture Technology Activity" to connect ventures' research results of new energy technologies like FC with real business. In addition to ventures universities etc., which are thinking of new business, are also objects. Total subsidiary in 2008 fiscal year is about 2 billion yen and about 20 proposals would be accepted. The term is 1 - 3 years. Subsidiary for one item is about 10 million yen or less. The deadline of the proposal is April 14. [The Nikei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Feb. 15, 2008, The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) Feb. 18, 2008 and The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Feb. 26, 2008]
2.Policies by Local Governments
(1) Yamanashi University and Yamanashi Prefecture
@By Feb. 4, 2008 the above two decided a policy to establish "Nano-material Research Center (tentative)" in cooperation between the two, planning R&D to improve performance and reliability and to reduce cost aiming at real use of FC. The prefecture will provide the center with buildings and ground of the governor's official residence to be disused, while the university will install facilities using a research project fund by NEDO. According to imagination of the university, about 35 researchers consisting professors, associate professors and research staffs will be engaged in research permanently together with invited domestic and overseas short term researchers, and they will be making research in collaboration. [The Yamanashi Nichinichi Shimbun Feb. 5, 2008]
(2) AIST, Kyushu University and Fukuoka Prefecture
@In order to elucidate various phenomena related with hydrogen and materials, "Advanced Scientific Research Center of Hydrogen and Materials" was established by National Research Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) at Ito Campus of Kyushu University in Fukuoka prefecture. Fukuoka Prefecture has tried to make the center a stronghold of hydrogen R&D, for instance by opening courses for training students. Since 2008 fiscal year the prefecture is going to construct a hydrogen town, where over 40% of fuel for lighting and cooking will be provided with hydrogen, and it will be a town of 100 - 200 families in residential area of detached houses in the prefecture. The prefecture also will start to construct hydrogen supplying facilities in Fukuoka city and Kitakyushu city, and to make hydrogen high way by running test of FCV on public road between the two cities. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Nishinihon Shimbun Feb. 6, 2008]
@On Feb. 26, 2008 Mr. Aso, the governor of Fukuoka prefecture announced that it is going to construct "Hydrogen Town" at Nampudai residential complex and Misakigaoka residential complex (total about 150 families) in cooperation with Nippon Oil Corp. and Saibu Gas Co., Ltd. FC will be leased to the families and energy saving effect will be observed for 3 years. The prefecture will have a meeting for explanation and accept applications in the new fiscal year. Real operation will be started since October. This is the first one of Fukuoka Hydrogen Strategy (Hy-Life project). [The Nishinihon Shimbun Feb. 26, 2008, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Fuji Sankei Business Eye and The Chemical Daily Feb. 27, 2008]
@In April of 2008 Kyushu University will open graduate course major in hydrogen at Ito new campus. Master course of "Hydrogen Engineering Course" will be established in mechanical engineering department of engineering faculty. Lectures will be started on hydrogen energy, FC development etc. since April, and about 10 students are anticipated. In this graduate course wide range of research from fundamental research to real test of FCV will be made. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Feb. 22, 2008]
3. R&D and Business Deployment related SOFC
(1) Tokyo Institute of Technology
@Prof. Yashima, an associate professor of graduate course of overall science and technology in Tokyo Institute of Technology has succeeded in first visualization of oxide ion distribution in cooperation with Prof. Ishihara of Kyushu University, Dr. Izumi of National Research Institute of Materials and others. The object is oxide of praseodymium and nickel and it is used in electrodes of SOFC. It is useful in designing of oxides, and it is also expected to be useful for improvement of SOFC performance and for accelerating R&D. Experiment was made for sample in which lanthanum, copper and gallium bringing high oxygen permeability and thermal stability were added. High temperature neutron diffraction was used instead of x-ray diffraction, so that distribution of atomic nuclei was observed without disturbance of electrons. Because it is not visible in the room temperature, the sample is heated about 1000oC. As a result of the experiment path for oxide ion diffusion in the oxide is elucidated. Temperature dependence was also observed, and it was observed that unevenly distributed oxide ions at 600oC were uniformly distributed by heating at 1015oC. This material is thought promising as oxygen permeable membrane. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Feb. 6, 2008]
(2) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
@Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. is going to install 700 W SOFC cogeneration systems in general homes to improve reliability for introduction into the market. In the future 3 types will be prepared to meet home needs of various power and heat patterns, and they are SOFC, PEFC and Ecowil of gas engine type. The company is continuing cooperative development of SOFC systems with Kyocera Corp. and Chofu Seisakusho for commercialization, and goal of 45% power generation efficiency (LHV) and 30% thermal recovery efficiency (LHV) are in sight. Continuous 24 hour operation is assumed, and excellent load following characteristics is shown in 2 month field test in the company since March of 2007. The company stated that the system supplied 70% of consumed power, and CO2 emission was reduced by 40%. Furthermore, application to apartment houses specification and arrangement of components are reviewed and in the latest type the depth of the generating unit became 35 cm and that of the exhausted heat recovery unit is 30 cm. Maintenance can be done from the front side of the system.
@The tasks for commercialization are to establish endurance and reliability and finally 10 year life is the goal. As to the cost expensive catalyst is not needed and relatively fewer components are used; these are advantages. The company participated demonstration by NEF in 2007 fiscal year and it operated 20 sets among 29 sets tested in this activity. The Osaka Gas co., Ltd. is eagerly making R&D. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Feb. 14, 2008]
4. Development of PEFC Elementary Technologies
(1) Hyogo Prefectural University
@Prof. Sugie and his group in Hyogo Prefecural University have developed technology to manufacture inexpensively stainless steel plates for separators in PEFC for automobiles. They are less expensive than conventional ones made by heating epoxide resin plates or phenol resin plates, so that the price of the cell can be reduced. By the new method stainless steel plate of 1.5 cm square is heated in the flow of acetylene or other gas to accumulate carbon atoms to about 1 micron m. The carbon film increases conductivity of the separator. The separator of 10 cm square can be made below 200 yen in mass-production. Moreover stainless steel separator is stronger and thinner than those made from resin, so that it is also advantage that the volume of FC can be reduced. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Feb. 25, 2008]
(2) Kuraray Co.
@The company developed electrolyte membrane using heat resistant hydrocarbon polymer. The glass transition temperature, one of measures of thermal endurance, of the electrolyte membrane the company developed is 225CO2, and it is higher by over 100CO2 than that of conventional fluorocarbon membrane. Because thermal endurance of the membrane was improved, high temperature operation of the cells became feasible. The company developed MEA at the same time, and it is planning to throw halogen free MEA to the market for automobiles. The hydrocarbon electrolyte was used in catalyst layer of electrodes and the output is confirmed to be similar to conventional fluorocarbon cells. Making this development as impulse, the company will supply components of PEFC also for stationary use in houses in addition to automobiles. Furthermore, business of FC electrolyte membrane for portable phones is intended, at earliest in 2008 fiscal year. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun Feb. 27, 2008]
(3) Kasatani Corp.
@The above company in Osaka city developed technology to produce separators of magnesium alloy. Considering that magnesium is light and easy to be machined, flow channels are made on the surface by press, and thus mass production became feasible by increasing in the yield rate. By electroplating the surface with multiple layers, weak point of magnesium of corrosion was overcome. The production cost by press is below 1/10 compared with conventional carbon separators. The price of magnesium alloy separator is estimated about 1000 yen/separator, and the thickness became1/5, so that downsizing of FC would be realized. The company is going to start sample shipping to domestic automobile makers. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Feb. 27, 2008]
5. Demonstration and Business Deployment of Home Use PEFC
(1) Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. and Corona Corp.
@The above two companies announced on Feb. 4, 2008 that they begin technological cooperation with Toshiba FC System Corp. Reformers developed cooperatively by the two companies will be installed in PEFC systems for commercial kerosene, which will be produced since 2009 fiscal year. The two companies intend to commercialize the reformer and they will try to sell them to other users. The reformer is consisting of a unit removing sulfur from kerosene and a reforming unit. Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. has technology to make hydrogen from commercial kerosene, and Corona Corp. has technology of kerosene burners and mass production. Connecting these technologies they have been making cooperative development since 2004 fiscal year. They enlarge sharing of technology, and at the same time they try to increase accepted reformers. Thus they intend to reduce the cost of the system furthermore. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Fuji Sankei Business Eye, The Chemical Daily, The Niigata Nippo Feb. 5, 2008, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) and The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) Feb. 7, 2008]
@On Feb. 25, 2008 the above two companies set forth "multiple fuel reformer," with which hydrogen can be produced from Town gas, LP gas and kerosene. Combining Idemitsu's technology of reforming these gases with the same catalyst and Corona's burner technology, stable hydrogen production and purification became possible with the same equipment. [The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Fuji Sankei Business Eye, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Niigata Nippo Feb. 26, 2008, The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) and the Chemical Daily Feb. 27, 2008]
(2) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
@Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. begins to accept application of installation of home use FC cogeneration systems "LIFUEL" since February. It will accept 100 sets installation, and installation will be done successively since August for users whose energy consumption and CO2 exhaustion could be improved. The company formulated "2008 Fiscal Year New FC Partnership Contract," which will be used in the contract with the users, and it describes utilization of the system, supply of operation data etc. The users will share a part of maintenance cost, 400 thousand yen per 4 years. [The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) Feb. 5, 2008 and The Denki Shimbun Feb. 22, 2008]
(3) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
@Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. developed technology for integrated operation of multiple home use cogeneration systems. By this technology FC systems can be operated continuously and cooperatively in the case of blackout and other similar cases of stop of power supply. The development was made in collaboration with Prof. Ise et al in graduate course of engineering in Osaka University. In general shortage of power is supplied by purchasing power from the grid in home use cogeneration systems, so that each system is operated with standard frequency of the grid of 60 Hz. Thus in the case of blackout etc. the FC systems cannot be operated.
@In this new technology direct current is used, so that conversion to alternative current and adjustment of frequency are unnecessary and continuous cooperation can be done. In connection to the conventional grid, inverters convert alternative current to direct current. To balance the power supply and the demandA surplus power is charged in condensers and condensers discharge when the power generation is insufficient. Thus stable direct current supply can be done by independent power generation from the grid after the blackout. By cooperative generation primary energy can be saved by 5% compared with non-integrated FC systems operation. The company decides to pursue real use of this concept by downsizing and cost reduction of equipments. In some electric appliances alternative current is converted to direct current, but in this present case power is not converted to alternative current and used without conversion, and thus energy loss can fairly be saved. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Feb. 13, 2008]
(5) Fuji Electric Holdings Corp.
@The company set forth that it is developing 1 kW home use PEFC systems of town gas specification consisting of a reformer and power generating stacks. At its Chiba factory 2 sets are under demonstration, and till now total 5 sets were operated. Aiming at operating life of over 10,000 hours, development has proceeded, and its policy is to commercialize the system after 2012. The company succeeded in demonstration of 3 sets (the third model) from 2005 to 2007. One set among three was installed at a convenience store in Mie prefecture and operated for 15,000 hours. The power efficiency and the exhausted heat recovery efficiency are respectively 35.5% (LHV) and 48.6% (LHV), and only a few troubles happened in main equipments. The initial goals of the efficiencies are achieved, but voltage drop of the cells during long-time operation could not be achieved to its goal, so that the fourth model was assembled and its operation was started in November of 2006. The voltage drop of the cells was remarkably decreased. Now 2 sets of new trial model are being operated. The one set is operated in a mode of DSS by repeating start and stop three times a day, and by this way endurance is evaluated. The other set installed in January of 2008 is operated continuously night and day. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Feb. 18, 2008]
(6) Toho Gas Co., Ltd.
@The company installed home use PEFC systems at customers' houses as monitor test in 2006 fiscal year. The results of the test are 17.5% decrease in primary energy consumption and 33.5% decrease in CO2 gas emission in average. The reduction effects were increased compared with the results of systems installed in 2005 fiscal year. The company installed 1 kW systems in Aichi, Gifu and Mie prefectures for this three fiscal years; 12 sets in 2005 fiscal year, 40 sets in 2006 fiscal year and 38 sets in 2007 fiscal year. The 12 sets in 2005 fiscal year are all made by Ebara Corp. and in 2006 systems made by Toyota Motor Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industries Co., Ltd. were added. Comparing their operating results from March to September of 2007, reduction ratio in primary energy consumption was improved by 0.6%, and CO2 emission, compared on the base of emission per power by thermal plant, was improved 0.3%. Tests to be made in 2008 fiscal year will be done by using 40 sets assembled by Toyota Motor Corp. etc., and application of monitor homes is solicited. The company is going to continue endurance test and it is also trying to reduce the cost, below 450,000 being assumed as the goal of FC system. The commercialization is thought in 2010. [The Chunichi Shimbun Feb. 22, 2008]
6. FCV Forefront
(1) Toyota Motor Corp.
@The company set forth technological approaches on range in "EVS Forum 2008." In addition to improvement of hydrogen storage technology, mileage is also increased by 25%, and thus FCV is improved to a competitive level of gasoline engine cars. Comparing with modified latest model of FCHV (2005 model) of 220 km range, it becomes more than twice, i.e. 530 km. Hydrogen gas pressure in hydrogen storage cylinders is increased to 70MPa, while the outer size of the body is increased without sacrifice of a room and a trunk. Thus hydrogen storage amount is increased by about 1.9 times. Various modifications are accumulated. Operating pressure at the cathode is reduced to 20 Kpa. power loss in the compressor and heat loss in the FC stacks are decreased by about 12%. As a result mileage is improved by 5%. When power is low, three circuit operation is changed to single circuit mode in high voltage converter. By this change mileage is by 3% increased. However, the 70 MPa cylinder is expensive, so that the company is now carrying out research of new hydrogen storage materials. [The Chemical Daily Feb. 12, 2008]
(2) FCV in Toyako Summit G8
@In Toyako Summit FCV is going to be used for passenger transport in the venue. To appeal Japanese energy saving and environmental technologies is the aim, and the government is now making coordination with the makers. [The Tokyo Shimbun Feb.14, 2008]
7. Technology Development of Hydrogen Formation and Storage
(1) Tokyo Science University
@Prof. Yasukazu Saito, Lecturer Atsushi Shono and their group have developed a small-size hydrogen formation equipment which can be installed on cars. It is a reactor by which hydrogen is formed from hydrogen storage material of organic hydride. It is a characteristic point that hydrogen is formed by relatively low temperature dehydrogenation at 300oC. .A stainless steel reactor was made and its depth, width and height are respectively 20 cm, 10 cm and 12 cm. On the bottom active carbon fiber cloth with platinum catalyst is put, and organic hydride is supplied. By heating dehydrogenation occurs on the catalyst surface. Then hydrogen is separated from toluene and the organic hydride. Organic hydride is suitable material for hydrogen transport and storage. Because dehydrogenation proceeds in low temperature in this new technology, hydrogen formation proceeds by low energy consumption. It was confirmed that more than 80% of the hydride reacts at even 285oC. The reactor thus developed is assumed to be installed not on FCV but on diesel engine cars. Exhausted heat can be used, and mileage could be increased, when hydrogen is burned with diesel fuel. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Feb. 15, 2008]
(2) Japan Steel Co., Ltd. and Tohoku University
@The above company developed small hydrogen tanks with an associate professor, Prof. Orimo, an assistant, Dr. Ikeda et al of Tohoku University, and the size of the tank is the same as a match box. Hydrogen is stored in the form of aluminum hydride in the tank, and application to micro hydrogen FC for portable use is anticipated. The width, the length and the thickness are 4 cm, 6 cm and 5.5 mm respectively, and fine powder of aluminum hydride is packed. The aluminum hydride was developed by the company and the group of Tohoku University, and this unique hydride releases hydrogen over 80oC. The hydride changes to aluminum after releasing hydrogen, so that it cannot absorb hydrogen again. In real use a used tank should be replaced by a new one. In experiment 9.3 L hydrogen was successfully obtained. They are trying to obtain hydrogen at 60oC using exhausted heat from the portable equipments for real use in portable equipment by modification of the hydride.
@The company is also making development for application to FCV. Comparing with a 35 MPa cylinder, 3.5 times hydrogen can be stored, so that it is much lighter than hydrogen absorbing alloys. It is forecasted that the weight of 90 L cylinder could be decreased down to 100 kg, and with this weight the range would be 650 km. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Feb. 15, 2008]
(3) Hiroshima University and Taiheiyo-Cement Co., Ltd.
@On Feb. 25, 2008 the above two announced that they developed a new hydrogen storage method using hydrogen absorbing alloy, and by this method hydrogen obtained is by 40% more than conventional ones. The new hydrogen storage alloy is made of magnesium amide, compound of magnesium, nitrogen and hydrogen, and lithium hydride, compound of lithium and hydrogen, in the ratio of 3 to 8. This material is put into a container together with several tens of iron balls (the diameter is 7 - 10 mm), and agitated at about 10 atmospheric pressure. The alloy crashed to fine particles (the diameter is about 10 nm), and by this process efficiency of hydrogen release is increased. At 150oC hydrogen is released, and released hydrogen is successfully increased, the weight of hydrogen being 5.5% of the initial alloy. The company is trying to increase the reaction rate at low temperature and intends to commercialize it as component of FCV and hydrogen stations. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Chugoku Shimbun, and The Chemical Daily Feb. 26, 2008]
(4) Bio Coke Co., Ltd.
@The company in Yokohama city developed technology of effective mass-production of magnesium hydride in collaboration with Prof. Akiyama of Hokkaido University. Magnesium hydride reacts with water above 75oC to form hydrogen at the ratio of maximum 1.9 L of hydrogen per 1 g of the hydride. The production method is to crash magnesium finely and to put it into a furnace under high pressure and high temperature with hydrogen. A plant was constructed at Saitama Laboratory, and two day continuous operation brought them 5 g of the hydride. When it is produced at the scale of several tons, the production cost would be order or 10 yen / g. Experiments of FC driven wheelchair and kart using magnesium hydride will be started together with Waseda University. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun Feb. 26, 2008]
8. Development of DMFC and Micro-FC
@SII, Seiko Instruments Inc. is going to make real use small PEFC using sodium boron hydride (SBH) in 2009 fiscal year. It will be allowed since Jan. 1, 2009 to carry SBH fuel cartridges into a passenger room of an aircraft, so that the development is promoted. SII is carrying out demonstration test of safety and reliability, while it intends to search business model. PEFC SII developed is a passive type in which hydrogen is formed from SBH by organic acid solution as catalyst, and it consists of a hydrogen producing box, generating cells and control circuits with voltage increase circuits. Compared with DMFC the output voltage is high, and operation characteristics is superior, while it is free from CO2 emission, and no auxiliaries such as pumps, heaters etc. are not needed. In 2007 it made a trial product of a stack of 10 cells, and the size is 210 X 120 X 170 mm. The output power and the output voltage are respectively 50 W and 16 V. The capacity per one cartridge is 100 Wh. The company has a business model, in which it provide set makers with PEFC modules, and it is also examining construction of distribution network of SBH cartridges. The company decided to use fluorocarbon electrolyte and stainless steel separators, and concrete specification is going to be formulated on materials selection and performance within this year. [The Chemical Daily Feb. 1, 2008]
(2) Tokuyama Corp. and Asahi-kasei Chemicals Co., Ltd.
@On Feb. 18, 2008 the two companies published that they developed two types of hydrocarbon polymeric membrane for DMFC to be used in portable equipments. One is for high power type DMFC and the other is for low methanol permeability type. The high power type was improved in its membrane strength by polymer designing, and the thickness is below 10 micron m, so that hydrogen conductivity becomes 5 times higher than conventional fluorocarbon membrane. The power at 60oC operation is by 30% increased, and the endurance is over 1000 hours. On the other hand, methanol permeability is 1/20 of fluorocarbon permeability with over 3000 hour endurance by control of micro-structure and modifying technology. Use of high concentration methanol aqueous solution becomes feasible, and it contributes to increase in methanol utilization ratio and power. Tokuyama Corp. etc. decided to supply both types of membrane in accordance with makers' demand. They think to develop new membrane having both characteristics in the future. While improvement will be continued, they will make business model aiming at 2010 - 2015. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Chugoku Shimbun and The Chemical Daily Feb. 19, 2008]
(3) Nano Fusion Technologies, Ltd.
@The company in Meguro ward of Tokyo prefecture developed water circulation pumps for DMFC together with Korean Samsung DSI and Korean overall technology institute. With this pump water formed by electrode reaction is returned to dilute methanol. In the case of conventional pumps water flows out and can not be reused, when pumps are tilted. Using water absorption material, this problem was resolved. The depth, width and height of the pump are all about 3 cm. Water formed at cathodes is returned at the rate of maximum 1 mL/min, and porous ceramics of several tens micron m pores absorbs only water to return it to methanol side. Thus it has function to reuse water by separating it from unreacted air. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun Feb. 25, 2008]
(4) Fujikura Corp.
@The company developed DMFC for mobile equipments. It adopted heat pipe technology for fuel supply system. Heat is transferred in the form of latent heat using evaporation and condensation. With wig in the pipe condensed liquid is returned utilizing surface tension. The size of a trial stack is 110 X 80 X 10 mm, and the power and power density are respectively 2.5 W and 50 mW/cm2. Sample supply will be started in 2009 fiscal year at its earliest anticipation. The company made full use of its own metal machining technology, and furthermore, simple and passive transport system of low cost will be developed. The company is forecasting early commercialization. [The Chemical Daily Feb. 26, 2008 and The Tekko Shimbun (iron and steel) Feb. 28, 2008]
9. Development and Business Deployment of FC Periphery Equipment
(1) KNF Japan Co.
@The company in Tokyo prefecture begins to sell double diaphragm pumps for home use FC. In the pumps double diaphragm of gas tight is used, and air is flowing out by action of gum. The price is 120 - 150 thousand yen for a type of maximum flow rate of 4.4 L/min, and sales of 300 sets are assumed. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Feb. 8, 2008]
@The company developed flow rate sensors for FC systems applying MEMS technology. The width, depth and thickness of the developed sensor are 3 cm, 8.5 cm and 3 cm, respectively. The sensor device is made small using MEMS, and it is 1.55 mm square with 0.4 mm thickness. Flow rate of town gas, liquid petroleum gas and air are measured with high accuracy of plus-minus 3% error. Its connection is not screw type but catch type, and number of unit processes is reduced to 1/8. The price is open. [The Kyoto Shimbun Feb. 21, 2008, The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) Feb. 22, 2008 and The Chemical Daily Feb. 26, 2008]
@The company starts sales of the above flow sensor "D6F MEMS" on April 1. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun Feb. 25, 2008]
(3) New Cosmos Electric Co., Ltd.
@The company developed a new hydrogen sensor of quick start and high response, and it begins sample shipping. The detection was made by heat due to catalytic reaction of hydrogen. On the heater of platinum coil, alumina ceramics containing noble metal catalyst is painted in the form of grain. Reaction heat of hydrogen combustion@is detected as change in electric resistance. Hydrogen concentration is measured from 0.1% to 4%. By downsizing the detection part, start up time and response time to hydrogen become below 1 second. The volume of the sensor decreased to 1/45 and the power consumption is also reduced to 1/4. It is not so sensitive to environmental change and it can be used from - 30oC to 100oC. It is anticipated to use it as sensitive hydrogen leakage sensor in FCV etc. The company will supply it as a component and also as a module for onboard application. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Feb. 25, 2008]
10. Development and Business of New FC Goods
(1) FC - R&D Co.
@A company in Sagamihara city, FC - R&D, will begin sales of portable emergency light since June. It was developed in collaboration with Kyoshin in Yoshinogawa city of Tokushima prefecture. Its users are thought to be mainly local governments, and the price is estimated 200 thousand yen. In an aluminum case FC and a hydrogen tank are put together with a battery to store the power from FC. The output of the battery is AC 100 V, DC 5 V or DC 12 V as 3 types of goods. LED is also set and connecting it to power sources it can be used for emergency illumination. The hydrogen tank is not reusable type, and 96 hour continuous use is possible. A hydrogen tank for 1000 hour duration is under development and a cylindrical tank is in schedule. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Feb. 6, 2008]
(2) Sagamihara Incubation Center
@A research group in the above center completed trial products of small portable FC system with a watching camera. They intend to commercialize it within 2 years. The camera is driven by FC, so that it would be useful against crimes and disasters in area without illumination. FC and non-reusable type hydrogen tanks were developed mainly by FC - R&D, while cameras were developed by Chalot Systems as a main body. Hereafter tasks are downsizing of FC and communication from the camera in remote site. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Feb. 21, 2008]
(3) Bantec Corp.
@A company in Tochigi prefecture developed driving equipments "PMS," in which FC and a capacitor are combined. A kart on which this driving equipment is installed is 200 kg in weight, and it can run at 30 km/h. Because a capacitor, which generates high power instantaneously, is combined, it can lift heavy things and quick start and acceleration are possible. In the standard model FC of 500 W power is used with a capacitor of 70 V, and a three phase AC motor is controlled with its originally designed circuits in the output. The capacity can be changed by usage, for instance a kart and an electrically driven wheelchair. [The Nikkan Kogyo Schimbun (business and technology) Feb. 25, 2008]
(4) Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies
@The above company, a FC maker in Singapore, announced that it begins sales of portable cartridge type FC "Hydropack" in Japan, and it generates power only by pouring water into it. In cooperation with a company, Maubic in Hamamatsu city, the representative in Japan, "Horizon Fuel cell Japan" was established. The height, width and depth of FC are respectively 22 cm, 21 cm and 10 cm. A fuel cartridge sold separately is 1.5 L PET bottle size, and by pouring water it generates power of 270 Wh per one. The company said "it is suitable to emergency use like fire." For fuel in the cartridge inorganic substances are used, and it can be stored for long time, while it is benign to environment. The price in Japan is not decided, and it is also planning to sell them in US, for which the price is about 400 dollars and a fuel cartridge is thought to be about 20 dollars. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Nikkan Kensetsu Kogyo Shimbun (construction) The Chemical Daily Feb. 26, 2008, and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Feb.. 28, 2008]
------------ This edition is made up as of February 29, 2008 ---------------