(1) Ministry of Land, Transport and Infrastructure (MLTI)
@In series of international harmonization, the ministry activates formulation of standards for preventing electric shock of passengers at an accident in activities of optimization of safety and environment standards for FCV using hydrogen. The ministry will examine the standards with related countries based on standards for preventing electric shock in HV and EV, and they will be accepted in UN global unified standards under discussion with initiative of Japan at present. The ministry anticipates the formulation in 2010 fiscal year. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) June 16, 2008]
@In "Technology development of high performance electrical storage systems for next generation vehicles", NEDO decided subsidiaries for promoting R&D of motors without rare metals and next generation batteries for early real use of plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHV), electric vehicles (EV) and FCV. The R&D items are elementary technologies of vehicle driving motors (5 items), elementary technology development of materials for battery (1 item), and R&D of next generation technologies (11 items). In strategic technology development for real use, subsidiaries for promoting fundamental elementary technology research (for instance cells without platinum) are decided. Ten research items are going to be made in a wide range from fundamental research of non-noble metal catalysts and reduced platinum technologies to next generation technologies. Fundamental research for improvement of endurance and reliability will be trusted on a group consisting Kansai Electric Power Co., Ltd., Central Research Institute for Electric Power Industry etc., and operational technologies such as start and stop will be studied by a group of Kansai Electric Power Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp. etc. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) June 2, 2008 and The Denki Shimbun (electricity) June 4, 2008]
@On June 6, 2008 NEDO decided subsidiaries in technology development project of hydrogen production, transport and storage systems. R&D of elementary technologies of hydrogen station equipments are trusted to 5 organizations, including The Japan Research and Development Center for Metals (JRCM), The Japan Steel Works, Ltd. and Kitz Corp. Shimizu Corp. and Iwatani Corp. were selected for construction. For elementary technology R&D of hydrogen storage materials, Japan Metals and Chemicals Co., Ltd. was selected. Exploration of next generation innovative technologies and examination of effectiveness will be made by Engineering Promotion Association. Furthermore, feasibility study on scenario of technology development will be made by a group of the Institute of Applied Energy, Iwatani Corp., Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., Kansai Electric Power Co., Ltd., Shimizu Corp.., Ltd., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and Chiyoda Corp. and Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc. was also selected. This project is a 5 year project since 2008 fiscal year, and the purposes are to promote technologies R&D necessary to make up hydrogen infrastructure and to support propagation of FCV. [The Tekko Sshimbun (iron and steel) June 9, 2008 and The Nikkan Kensetsu Shimbun (construction) June 12, 2008]
2. Development of Elementary Technologies for PEFC and DMFC
(1) Sumitomo Electrical Industry Co., Ltd.
@The company developed small nano-scale size materials of rare metals, such as platinum and cobalt. It is anticipated to increase by 20% PEFC generating efficiency and cleanup of exhausted gas. In conventional manufacturing process, it is a problem for particles to adhere each other to form large ones when particles are formed in aqueous solution by reduction. The company covers the surface of the particles by making use of electroplating, and thus the size is maintained in 20 - 30 nm diameter. The company intends to commercialize it and will sell for automobile makers and home electric appliances makers. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) May 26, 2008]
(2) National Institute for Materials Science
@FC center in the institute succeeded in performance improvement of DMFC cathode materials using platinum and cerium oxide. They use platinum and ceria in the electrode and ruthenium, one of rare metals, is not used. Comparing with platinum-ruthenium electrode, the offset potential is decreased by about 40 mV to 400 mV, but the current density became 2.8 mA/cm2 and 1.8 times increase was observed. If platinum is reduced by 5%, the current density is almost the same as commercially available platinum-ruthenium electrode. Till now platinum-ceria electrode showed good performance comparable to platinum-ruthenium electrodes, but surface control in alloy formation of platinum and ceria increases offset potential and current density. [The Chemical Daily June 10, 2008]
3. Demonstration and Business Deployment of Home Use PEFC Systems
(1) Japan Energy
@The company announced demonstration results of PEFC on June 3, 2008. In 2005 fiscal year 2 sets of 700 W PEFC (stationary FC made by Toshiba FC Systems Corp) was installed in general homes, and they achieved 20,000 hour continuous operation without changing components. The company is participating the large-scale demonstration project and they installed 104 systems. In the above 2 systems LPG was used, and the generating efficiency (LHV) and the overall efficiency were 33% and 83%, respectively. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Chemical Daily June 4, 2008]
(2) Iwatani Corp.
@The company announced that it was going to install a cogeneration system in a detached house in Otsu city, Shiga prefecture for demonstration. To the system pure hydrogen is supplied and the system is made by Toshiba FC systems Corp. The demonstration was going to start on June 6, 2008. The observed electric power efficiency and the anticipated overall efficiency including exhausted heat recovery of this PEFC of pure-hydrogen type are respectively 48% (LHV at 700 W rated output) and 93%(LHV), respectively. The size is 313 mm X 443 mm X 443 mm (height), and hydrogen supply would be done with low pressure pipes from 7 cylinders (the capacity 46.7 L and the pressure 14.7 MPa).. To keep safety, a unique safety system is introduced. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikksn Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Chemical Daily June 6, 2008, and The Fuji Sankei Bujsiness Eye June 7, 2008]
(3) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
@The company is now making development of home use PEFC co-generation systems aiming at commercialization in 2009 fiscal year, and it became known that the price of the system would be 600,000 - 700,000 yen. By reducing the price from that of the present "Ecowill" (about 790,000 yen), new customers would be got and the business would be expanded. At present, the system is under development by ENEOS Celltec and Toshiba FC systems Corp. in collaboration, and endurance of 40,000 hours already became in sight in this spring by Celltec. Since the middle in September of 2008 monitoring test of about 70 sets is going to be done in demonstration. [The Sankeii Shimbun June 18, 2008]
(4) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. and Nippon Oil Corp.
@Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. would install a home use cogeneration system of town gas specification developed with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. in a site next to the International Media Center of G8 Hokkaido Toya Lake Summit. The system was set in a near future house "Zero Emission House" where the most advanced technologies such as solar photovoltaic cells, robots etc. were shown. Power by home use FC would be used for illumination and recovered heat would be used in feet bath. Nippon Oil Corp. would make installation of FC of LPG specification and kerosene specification. [The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) and The Nikkan Kensetsu Shimbun (construction) June 18, 2008]
@The company will enter in home use FC business. Applying technologies developed in R&D and mass production together with production facilities, the company will make commercialization within 10 years. Combining the photovoltaic cells technology of the company, COQ free environmentally benign technology will be developed for houses and automobiles, in which hydrogen, electric power and heat can be got from various sources. Producing cells for both of automobiles and houses, mass production effect of FC stacks can be expected. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) June 18, 2008]
4. FCV Forefront
(1) Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Renault
@The companies announced that the two companies made cooperative development of FCV trial cars. A mini-van "Grand Scenic" by Renault is a base and FC system developed by Nissan was installed on it. The latter developed FCV of Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV). The FC was installed under the floor, so that the room for 5 passengers is made. It would be open to public at a workshop on environment held in Spain in June of 2008. [The Mainichi Shimbun, The Nikkan Kogyo Sjo,mbun (business and technology), The Fuji Sankei Business Eye May 30, 2008 and The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) May 31, 2008]
(2) DHL Japan
@On May 17, 2008 the company exhibited FCV in "Eco Car World in Kobe" held at American Park of Kobe city. The FCV is "F-Cell" made by DM, and it has been used since July, 2007 as a delivery car by DHL. In its own environmental project "Green Logistics" DHL Japan has been using this car as the first one, and it was used in business area of Tokyo for delivery of documents. The operational data was gathered by Mercedes Benz Japan and it made full use of the data for FCV development. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) May 31, 2008]
(3) Hamai Industries, Ltd.
@The company supplies electromagnetic valves for FCV to large automobile makers. For hydrogen fueled FCV needs hydrogen tanks of safety and multi-functions, and for these valves it is important to control pressure, temperature, flow rate etc. The company started R&D 7 years before, and it succeeded in making a module of valves etc. Then the company formally accepts orders. At present reduction in size and weight is the task, and functionality improvement is also an aim. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) June 2, 2008]
@On June 6, the company announced that it got license of a FCV "Toyota FCHV-adv" from Ministry of Land, Transport and Infrastructure, which is essential for mass-production. Modification was done for start and running in cold climate at -30oC. The range by one charge of hydrogen was extended to 830 km. In this year it will be sold by lease to governments, and sales in US are also in sight. [The Mainichi Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Chunichi Shimbun, The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Fuji Sankei Business Eye June 7, 2008, The Chemical Daily June 9, 2008 and The Denki Shimbun (electricity) June 10, 2008]
@On June 16, 2008 Honda began production of a new model FCV "FCX clarity" at a factory in Takanezawa machi, Tochigi prefecture. The range by one charge of hydrogen is about 620 km. It is a sedan for 4 passengers of tear drop advanced design. The sales would be started in July in US and in fall in Japan by lease. The lease price is 600 dollars per month in US, and orders from about 50,000 were received, and after selection, 5 persons, including a movie producer in California, were announced as first customers. Hereafter several tens cars will be sold annually both in US and Japan, and about 200 cars will be sold for this 3 years, the company estimated. Cars would also be supplied to G8 Toyako Summit. The task for FCV propagation is cost. Use of noble metals was reduced to 1/10, but it costs still several thousand yen per one car. Price of hydrogen is also comparatively higher than that of gasoline by 40 - 90%. The company anticipates that the price would be decreased below several ten million yen within 10 years, and it aims at mass production. [The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Mainichi Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and tehnology), The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Tokyo Shimbun, The Chunichi Shimbun, The Chugoku Shimbun, The Nishinihon Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye, The Kahoku Shimpo June 17, 2008, and The Chemical Daily June 18, 2008]
5. Technology Development of Hydrogen Production and Purification
@A research team of Prof. Nakao in Tokyo University has developed a small hydrogen generation equipment. This is an equipment to generate hydrogen from organic hydride of hydrogen storage material, and high-efficiency hydrogen recovery was made possible by using heat resistant hydrogen permeable membrane. The organic hydride is liquid formed by reaction of hydrogen with benzene etc. They assume hydrogen generation on a car by heating the hydride to drive FC. The team made a cylindrical reactor of 10 cm diameter and 35 cm height. Pipes of 3 mm diameter and 35 cm height are set inside, and by flowing the hydride in the pipes and heating the reactor at 300oC, hydrogen is flowing out in the pipes. Silicon oxide membrane was deposited on alumina surface, and micro-pores of about 0.5 nm are in the membrane, so that only hydrogen is flowing out. Testing was done by continuously operating it for 4 hours each day, and it was confirmed after 5 day test that the hydrogen permeability was 80% and 99.9% purity hydrogen was obtained. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy znd industry) June 2,2008]
6. Hydrogen Energy Network
@Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. completed long-term vision for positively promoting low carbon society. Concretely the company will concentrate in development and propagation of highly efficient systems such as cogeneration systems using natural gas, FC etc. To promote real use of hydrogen energy, they will make R&D of super-high-efficiency hydrogen production from natural gas, and hydrogen transport and storage for local hydrogen network as well. They assume two ways. In one system hydrogen produced in hydrogen stations is supplied to houses, business buildings, factories etc., and in the other system hydrogen is produced in each customers supplied with natural gas. [The Fuji Sankei Business Eye June 2, 2008]
7. Development of Metrological and Analytical Apparatuses
(1) Tokyo University and Nara Women's University
@A research group consisting of the above two and British Queen's University developed technology to observe hydrogen ion concentration (pH) in membrane with space resolution of 1 nm2. Fluorescent molecule emits light by reaction with hydrogen ion. It is useful for observing biological membrane such as cell membrane and hydrogen ion permeating FC membrane. In these hydrogen ion has an important role. They synthesize 18 varieties fluorescent substances of different water affinities, by reaction fluorescent substance, benzofurazan. The substances emit high intensity light, when they react with low pH solution, and the color is different from each other. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) June 13, 2008]
(2) Hiroshima University and Hokkaido University
@Prof. Kojima of Research Center of Advanced Functional Materials in Hiroshima University succeeded in electron-microscopic observation of chemical reaction of solid hydrogen compound with gas molecule, and it was done in collaboration with a research group in Hokkaido University. They developed a container for electron-microscope observation, in which scarce ammonia gas covers solid maintaining good pinto, and they observed reaction of ammonia gas with sodium hydride and lithium hydride to form hydrogen. If the research of mechanism of hydrogen formation proceeds, it would be useful in next generation FCV development. [The Chugoku Shimbun and The Chemical Daily June 17, 2008]
8. Business Activities and Deployment
@Nisshinbo Industries Inc. increases production of separators for PEFC by 30% in this fall. Production in Miai Factory (Okazaki city) is going to increase from 70,000 - 80,000 plates per month at present to 100,000 plates per month. Since sales of home use PEFC to general homes are expected to be done in real scale in 2009 fiscal year, the company is going to cope to FC maker's increasing demand. Furthermore, watching demand for FCV, the company will examine construction of a new factory in Kanto area. The company is now producing high-strength thin molded carbon separator, and it will also make cooperative R&D with automobile makers for real use of light and flexible carbon separators for automobiles. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) June 4, 2008]
------------ This edition is made up as of June, 2008. ---------------