(1) Ministry of Environment
@To realize the Kyoto protocol, in which reduction goal of global warming gas exhaustion is determined, the ministry completed estimation of supplementary budget necessary for the purpose. The total budget is 609.4 billion yen per year and it was made open on June 21, 2008. According to this estimation the total budget is 519.4 billion yen per year at present. Items of the supplementary budget are subsidiaries for purchasing energy saving equipments like water supply and air conditioning (276 billion yen), and for new construction of energy saving houses and renewal of houses (75 billion yen). Others are promotion of solar cells and wind mills (136 billion yen) and introductions of new energy introduction such as bio-mass fuel and FC (81 billion yen). Japanese exhaustion of global warming gas was increased by 6.2% compared with that in 1990 fiscal year. The goal gets hard. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun June 22, 2008]
@NEDO completed 2008 fiscal year version of "Road map for technology development of FC and hydrogen" describing long-term development goal and tasks for FC and hydrogen technology. The previous one was revised 2 years before, and long-term goal for 2020 - 2030 is not changed. SOFC would be introduced as combined systems for home and business since 2015, and it was examined that SOFC would be used in coal gasification FC combined generation (IGFC) since 2020 - 2030. In the field of hydrogen, imagination of outputs is described for easy understanding, for instance hydrogen storage technology, onsite hydrogen station technology and offsite hydrogen station technology. The goals in 2020 - 2030 are determined for instance several hundred thousand yen hydrogen storage containers and 40 yen / m3 hydrogen storage in hydrogen stations. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Chemical Daily July 3, 2008]
@NEDO determined 6 items in fundamental research for improvement of endurance and reliability for SOFC elementary technologies development to be started in 2008 fiscal year. The determined undertakers are National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Toto Corp. Mitsubishi Materials Corp., Kansai Electric Power Co., Ltd. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., Tokyo University, Kyoto University, Kyushu University, Tohoku University, Nagoya University, Gifu University, Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry and so on. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) July 3, 2008]
(3) The Advisory Committee on Natural Resources and Energy
@New Energy Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on Natural Resources and Energy completed urgent proposition entitled "A new direction for new energy policies --- Toward construction of new energy nation" on June 24, 2008. It is to describe construction of a new energy model nation by drastically introducing renewable energy. A main policy is promoting introduction of solar photovoltaic generation and for this purpose supporting measures, such as subsidiary to introduction should be early realized. Ratio of renewable energy to total primary energy supply should be increased from 5.9% in 2005 fiscal year to 8.2% in 2020 and 11.1% in 2030. The most expected solar photovoltaic generation should be propagated 10 times in 2020 and 40 times in 2030. [The Sankei Shimbun, and The Chemical Daily June 25, 2008]
@FCCJ, Fuel Cell Commercialization Conference of Japan consisting of electric makers, oil companies etc. announced on June 25, 2008 that naming of home use FC produced by various companies is going to be unified to "Enefarm." It is a newly coined name by combining energy and farm to widely recognize FC products. [The Mainichi Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave), The Tokyo Shimbun, The Chunichi Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye June 26, 2008, The Denki Shimbun, The Nikkan Kensetu Shimbun (construction) and The Chemical Daily June 27, 2008]
@On July 4, 2008 FCCJ announced real preparation of hydrogen stations for real propagation of FCV since 2015. By 2010 standard specification of hydrogen stations will be determined. [The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Mainichi Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Tokyo Shimbun July 5, 2008, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chemical Daily July 7, 2008]
2. Policies of Local Governments and Related Organizations
@Fukuoka Hydrogen Energy Strategic Council, an organization for collaboration among governmental, academic and industrial sectors, determined on July 10, 2008 its activities in 2008. In Maehara city a world largest scale hydrogen town is going to be constructed, and home use FC systems will be installed in 150 homes to gather data such as energy efficiency. Subsidiaries will be given for 3 large R&D items including development of burners used in the systems. Concentrated lecture courses will also be given on hydrogen energy. [The Nishinihon Shimbun July 11, 2008]
3. PAFC Business
@Fuji Electric Systems Co., Ltd. developed PAFC emergency equipments for buildings at a disaster. When supply of main fuel of town gas is stopped, stored LPG is supplied to continue electric generation. The price is about 70 million yen including installation cost. In usual operation the electric output is 100 kW and the efficiency at the output is 42%. At blackout the operation is continued at the output of 100 kW. When town gas supply is stopped the operation is continued at 70 kW output. Using a 50 kg LPG cylinder electric power supply can be done for 3 hours. Considering the green government office buildings plan, the installation is aimed at 2009 fiscal year. After accumulating actual results, demands for hospitals etc will be explored. Past results of PAFC are only 24 sets for 10 years, but the company intends to increase sales by new usages and to increase profits. [The Nikkan KogyoShimbun (business and technology) June 23,2008]
4. Development of SOFC
(1) Development Roadmap
@In SOFC development roadmap included in 2008 fiscal year version of technology development roadmap of FC and hydrogen, home use cogeneration systems under demonstration stage at present are described as follows. At present (the end of 2007) the electric efficiency, endurance and system cost are 40% (HHV), 5,000 hours (continuous) and 10 million yen, respectively. The endurance and cost are estimated 40,000 hours and 1 million yen, respectively at early introduction stage (2010 - 2015), and they would be over 40%, 90,000 hours and 400,000 yen, respectively in propagation stage (after 2020). Medium scale systems for business use (several to several hundreds kW class) are now in system development stage, and they are 40%, 3,000 hours and several hundreds to 10 million yen / kW, respectively. In early introduction stage, the endurance and price are estimated 40,000 hours and about 1 million yen / kW, respectively. Those for industrial use (several hundreds to several thousands kW class) are now being developed as hybrid systems with gas turbines. In their early introduction stage the performances are aimed at over 50% electric efficiency, 40,000 hour endurance and several hundred thousands to 1 million yen /kW. [The Chemical Daily July 3, 2008]
(2) Tokyo Institute of Technology
@Prof. Yashima, an associated professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology and his research group succeeded in visualization of ion path in solid electrolyte. The electrolyte is apatite type oxide ion conducting solid of high ion conductivity at low operating temperature. This material is thought to be a next generation SOFC electrolyte. The R&D zre done in collaboration with National Institute for Materials Science, Hyogo Prefecture Institute of Technology and Tohoku University.
@The sample used is lanthanum silicate, a kind of oxide ion conductor, and neutron was irradiated at about 1500oC. Scattered neutron was detected and ion path at this temperature was visualized. It was elucidated by this visualization that a specific oxide ion behavior enhances ion conductivity, and design principle for high ion conductivity could be established. Lanthanum silicate is more ion-conductive at 700oC than conventional electrolytes, and it is promising as an electrolyte for low temperature operating SOFC. Prof. Yashima ha a plan to investigate structures of about 100 varieties of next generation SOFC electrolyte materials to use them for real use of low temperature SOFC. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) July 16, 2008]
(3) Japan Fine Ceramics Center (JFCC) and Kansai Electric Power Co., Ltd.
@A principal researcher of JFCC, Dr. Kawahara and a group of the company improved power generation by 20% in an operating temperature range from 700oC to 800oC for SOFC using lanthanum gallate. In conventional fuel electrodes using composites of metals and ceramics, lanthanum and magnesium migrate from electrolytes to the electrodes, and it is a cause for decrease in performance. A new fuel electrode was formed by adding lanthanum to the electrodes, and it suppress the migration of lanthanum. For magnesium it was found that making the fuel electrode thick (over 20 micron m) reduces the effect of the migration. Thus, the output power density increases from 0.5 W/cm2 to 0.6 W/cm2. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) July 16, 2008]
5. R&D of Elementary Technologies for PEFC and DMFC
(1) Toyohashi University for Science and Technology
@Prof. Matsuda developed technology to improve extensively electric characteristics of inorganic materials used as catalysts etc. It was found that by mixing strongly inorganic materials, such as cesium hydrogen sulfate and phospho-tungstates, defects are formed and hydrogen ions migrate at high rate through the defects. The ion migrate distance decreases by 10% compared with that without the defects, and by this effect the hydrogen ion conductivity increases ten thousand times. If it is applied to FC electrolyte, performance could be kept even over 100oC, where organic polymer cannot be used. Thus humidification becomes not necessary. Platinum catalyst can be reduced and contribution to the cost reduction can be expected. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) June 27, 2008]
@Prof. Matsuda and his group developed very thin (nm order thickness) DMFC cells and hydrogen gas sensors by multiple-layer depositing method utilizing charge of plus and minus. In this method metal, polymer etc. to be deposited are dispersed in solution, and attractive and repulsive force by charge of these solutions are used for deposition to form multiple layers of them. In the case of trial assemble of DMFC electrolyte polymer and platinum electrode are deposited repeatedly on a porous base plate. Characteristic point is the thickness of about 60 nm. Due to decrease in electrical resistance, increase in output is expected. Hydrogen sensors were also developed by this method. When hydrogen is attached with the sensor, potential difference is observed between the electrodes and thus hydrogen can be detected. Performances of DMFC and hydrogen sensors are not in the level of real use, but they intend to make further R&D. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) July 17, 2008]
(2) Yokohama National University
@Prof. Ota and his group developed catalyst for PEFC cathodes instead of platinum, and it is formed by partially oxidizing inexpensive zirconium carbide. They made small PEFC for testing, and they observed comparable current density with platinum catalyst. By oxidizing metal in the material, they also succeeded in stabilization of the catalyst. It was confirmed that the trial FC can be used for 400 hours. They said theoretically it could be used for 1,000 hours. Resources of zirconium is about 600 times larger than that of platinum, and the material is also promising in this point. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) June 30, 2008]
(3) Aahi Kasei Finechem Co.
@On July 3, 2008 the company in Osaka city set forth "vinyl sulfonic acid," one of functional fine chemicals to reduce metallic contamination to 100 ppm and it would be sold since July 7, 2008. The chemicals can greatly reduce contamination of sodium, calcium, iron and chromium, and it would be sold for semiconductors and FC electrolyte. The trade name is "VSA-S." [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) July 4, 2008]
(4) Kyushu University
@Prof. Mochida and his group in Kyushu University developed new catalyst for reducing platinum to half in DMFC anode. The new catalyst is made by mixing nm size small fibrous carbon and platinum. The fibrous nm carbon is highly conductive, and it has large surface area, because many pores are on the side. Thus it efficiently reacts. The size of the fibrous nm carbon is 7 - 20 nm in diameter, and content of platinum in the catalyst is 40%, i.e., about half compared with conventional ones. Trial cells were made for evaluation, and the output density is 66 mW/cm2 at 30oC and 244 mW/cm2 at 90oC. They intend to make small FC for portable phones by modification of shape and composition of the fibrous nm carbon and reduction of platinum to 1/4 compared with conventional ones. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) July 9, 2008]
(5) Nishimmbo Industries Corp. and Tokyo Institute of Technology
@The company developed technology of carbon for electrode catalyst in cooperation with Tokyo Institute of Technology. By making spherical carbon of about 20 nm in diameter, catalytic activity was increased. When FC is used for a long time, carbon is dissolved into electrolyte, but this carbon does not dissolve, so that the output is stabilized. In home use 1 kW PEFC several g of platinum is used, and about 100 g platinum is used in 150 kW medium-scale FCV. They intend to establish the technology by 2009 fiscal year and to supply it to home use and automobile use FC. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun July 12, 2008]
6. Demonstration and Business of Home Use PEFC
(1) Sekisui House, Ltd.
@The company announced that it has been making positively ecological activities, and Ministry of Environment recognized it as an "Eco-First Firm" recently. The company has been trying reduction of COQ exhaustion in house manufacturing processes and recycle of wood and metal for components to keep ecological systems. Furthermore, it has been promoting installation of solar photovoltaic cells and FC in detached houses to reduce environmental pollution. [The Mainichi Shimbun June 22, 2008 and The Asahi Shimbun June 24, 2008]
The company announced that it would cooperate in technological aspect of constructing "Zero Emission Houses" for G8 Hokkaido Summit. [The Jutaku Shimbun (house) June 24, 2008]
(2) Toho Gas Co., Ltd.
@On June 25, 2008 the company set forth that it is going to start sales of home use PEFC systems. The demonstration in general houses proceeds smoothly, so that the company made commercialization by more than one year earlier than the schedule. Negotiation of equipment supply will be done with makers including Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. and in accordance with propagation expected in early half of 2010s the mass sales system will be organized in the company. The FC systems are 1 kW class systems using town gas, and at early stage the number of systems to be sold will be limited, while the lease is also under consideration. Because the price would be over 4.5 million yen without subsidiary, cost down is a task. [The Chunichi Shimbun June 26, 2008]
(3) Nippon Oil Corp.
@On June 30, 2008 Nippon Oil Corp. announced that it is going to start business of overall residential energy systems and to sell them on commercial base since 2010. In addition to making air-tight houses, combining home use FC using LP gas and solar cells, exhaustion of COQ gas from homes would be reduced to 50% compared with 1990. The company announced "ENEOS My Home Energy Creation Project" for demonstration and exploration of the systems. In collaboration with experts including Associate Professor Koizumi of the graduate school of Tokyo Metropolitan University and companies such as NEC Corp. and Misawa Homes Inst. of Research and Development, the company is going to build a model house (total area is about 150m2) and introduce HEMS (home energy management system) to the house for examination of optimum utilization of various equipments. (The Asahi Shimbun, The Mainichi Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nikkan Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction), The Kanagawa Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye and The Chemical Daily [July 1, 2009]
(4) Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
@In home use PEFC business the company makes cooperation with Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., Toho Gas Co., Ltd. and Saibu Gas Co., Ltd. for gas supply and equipment sales in accordance with start of mass production in 2009. The price would be 1 million yen at initial stage. The company started demonstration of performance and safety of small size PEFC of high efficiency since July of 2008. By 2015 it will invest 50 billion yen to increase the production capacity of its factory in Kusatsu city of Shiga prefecture up to 200,000 sets per year and the price would be decreased to about 500,000 yen as a policy of the company. According to the estimation of the company, pay-back period of solar cells (about 3 million yen per 4kW) is over 20 years, but that of FC (1 kW) is 16 - 17 years. Since 2011 the company would explore markets in Europe, China and US, and it would make contract with gas companies etc. to keep fuel and market. It is aiming at 100 billion yen sales in FC business.
@On July 1, 2008 Matsushita Home Appliances Co., Ltd. made ceremony of first shipping of home use PEFC in its Kusatsu factory. Since June it started mass production, and since April of 2009 it will begin real sales through gas companies etc. [The Asahi Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun July 1, 2008, The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Mainichi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Nihon keizai Shimbun, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave), The Kyoto Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye July2, 2008 and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun July 10, 2008]
(5) Hokkaido Gas Co., Ltd.
@Hokkaido Gas Co., Ltd. is going to begin sales of home use PEFC for cold climate since 2010 fiscal year or later. Conventional PEFC developed by Ebara Corp. will be covered with thermal insulator, so that it will be possible to operate it at - 15oC. The price would be by several % higher than that of general specification. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun July 10, 2008]
7. FCV Forefront
(1) Suzuki Motor Corp.
@The company got approval of small FCV "SX4-FCV" by the Minister of Land, Transport and Infrastructure. It was developed in cooperation with GM. The FCV was exhibited in Toya Lake Summit G8 held in July. High-performance PEFC developed by GM and 700 atmosphere hydrogen tanks developed by itself were installed. Capacitors were used and the range was 520 km. The output and the maximum speed are respectively 80 kW and 150 km/h. Hereafter data of testing on public roads will be gathered for development to real use. [The Shizuoka Shimbun June 24, 2008, The Mainichi Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nishinihon Shimbun, The Shizuoka Shimbun, The Hokkaido Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye, The Kahoku Shimpo June 25, 2008, The nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) July 27, 2008,, The Asahi Shimbun June 28, 2008 and The Chemical Daily June 30, 2008]
(2) DHL Japan
@From June 19 to 21 in 2008 at Sapporo dome, a comprehensive exhibition on environment was held for memorial of Toyako Summit G8. Mercedes Benz Japan exhibited FCV "F-Cell" which was developed by Daimler-Chrysler and used by DHL Japan for delivery service since July 0f 2006. [The Kaiji Shimbun (maritime) June 30, 2008]
(3) Honda Motor Corp.
@On July 2, 2008 the company announced that it would sell new model FCV "FCX Clarity" by lease since November in Japan. [The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Tokyo Shimbun, The Chunichi Shimbun, The Hokkaido Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye and The Kahoku Shimpo July 3, 2008]
8. Hydrogen Automobiles
@Mazda Motor Corp. announced that it could get approval by Minister of Land, Transport and Infrastructure on hydrogen hybrid cars "Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid," which can run either by hydrogen or gasoline. The company showed the cars to press on June 23, 2008. Hereafter running test on public roads can be done, and it will also start lease in 2008 fiscal year. Comparing conventional developed cars, the range became twice, i.e., 200 km and the output increased by 40%. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun June 23, 2008, The Asahi Shimbun and The Mainichi Shimbun June 24, 2008]
9. Technology Development of Hydrogen Production and Purification
(1) Nippon Seisen Co.
@The above company developed membrane for separating pure hydrogen from natural gas and town gas. With this membrane the size and the price of hydrogen production equipment can be reduced to 1/5 and the necessary energy for hydrogen purification can be reduced to 1/4. The membrane is a palladium alloy film of 15 micro m thickness. When hydrogen molecule contacts with the palladium alloy, hydrogen molecule decomposes to hydrogen atoms and they migrate in alloy crystal. This property is utilized for purification. A specific method is applied to make joint between edges of the film to form cylindrical modules. Over 99.999% purity hydrogen can be obtained. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) July 9, 2008]
10. Development and Business Deployment of Metrological Equipments Related with FC and Hydrogen
@Hitachi, Ltd. announced on July 19, 2008 that it developed a long-life small hydrogen sensor. It is silicon base metal oxide electric field effect transistor and in the sensor thin film structure of platinum and titanium is used. This sensor can detect hydrogen over 1,000 ppm within about 1 second, and it is endurable to heat and humidity. Accelerated life test of this sensor shows over 3 year life. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), and The Tekko Shimbun (iron and steel) June 25, 2008]
11. Industrial Activities and Business Deployment of FC Related Field
@FJ Composite Materials Co., Ltd., a components producer in Fuji city, Shizuoka prefecture begins mass production of FC components and heat radiators for semiconductors in spring of 2009 in Chitose city, Hokkaido prefecture. The main of the factory is production lines for semiconductors, while production facilities of separators for PEFC are also installed. By its own molding technology conventional production time of several minutes is reduced to several seconds per one sheet. Realizing this technology the separator will be able to supply at 1/10 price of the present one. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) June 27, 2008]
------------ This edition is made up as of July 17, 2008. ---------------