(1) METI and Ministry of Environment
@Ten ministries dealing with global warming policy, such as METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) and Ministry of Environment, requires total budget of 1,150 billion yen. In a meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party for global warming held on Aug. 20, 2008, representatives from the ten ministries explained budget requirements estimated at that time. METI presented a list of innovative technologies, including solar cells, nuclear energy, FC, steel production processes and CCS, and METI is promoting them. In conventional advanced technologies by firms, national scale promotion of large scale solar cells (mega solar) and support of introduction of solar cells generation for residential houses will be made by METI in addition to acceleration of introduction of energy conserving equipments into office buildings. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Aug. 21, 2008]
@Policies related with global warming in 2009 fiscal year budget requirement by METI were made open. A new policy is proposed for partial financial support for introduction of home use cogeneration systems. The upper limit of support per one home is not decided, but 7 billion yen will be estimated. Support will also be provided to firms and individuals for purchasing clean diesel cars. Support for clean energy automobiles like EV and HV will be continued without changes, and total about 5 billion yen will be required. In global warming policies, (1) propagation of new energy without global warming gas emission, (2) energy conservation and (3) innovative technologies development are fundamental concepts. Mainly energy special account (sources are oil tax and coal tax.) will be used.
@On Aug. 25, 2008 METI decided about 130 billion yen for new energy promotion like solar cells in 2009 fiscal year budget requirement, and it is about 1.5 times compared with 2008 budget. Energy special account will be about 824.8 billion yen and it is 14.3% increase. New items are support for solar cells system introduction (23.8 billion yen) and support for home use FC introduction (7.4 billion yen and 30.4 billion yen including R&D). Increases in budget will be in promotion of propagation of next generation automobiles like EV, support for large-scale solar generation (mega solar) by firms and local governments etc. Examples are advanced storage batteries (3 billion yen) and promotion of EV and PHV town (100 million yen). [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Aug. 22, 2008, The Mainichi Shimbun (Aug. 26, 2008, The Denki Shimbun (electricity) The Chemical Daily Aug. 27, 2008, The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) and The Sankei Shimbun Aug. 28, 2008)
@On Aug. 26, 2008 the cabinet decided that 4,000 official cars used by national government should be replaced by next generation cars. The Minister of Environment, Mr. Saito said "Official cars used by ministers should be replaced by HV, EV or hydrogen rotary engine cars by the end of Kyoto protocol as forerunners, considering governmental official cars should be next generation cars." The prim-minister agreed it and indicated the replacement. [The Asahi Shimbun Aaug. 26, 2008, The Sankei Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) Aug. 27, 2008 and The Chemical Daily Sept. 2, 2008]
(4) Ministry of Education
@On Aug. 28, 2008 the ministry completed and published its 2009 fiscal year budget estimation. General account increases 12.8% compared with the previous year and energy special account increases by 0.7% (148.5 billion yen). Priorities are given to promotion of education for the future and promotion of science and technology for strong growing power. As to science and technology, 1 billion yen is required as a new item for advanced science and technology such as large-capacity storage batteries, solar cells, etc. using nano-technology. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Aug. 29, 2008]
(5) Ministry of Land, Transport and Infrastructure
@The ministry is going to start technology development of hydrogen piping etc for urban energy systems using hydrogen and FC. The new project is "Development of urban systems for society utilizing low-carbon and hydrogen energy." The period is estimated 4 year by 2012 fiscal year. . The items are consisted of (1) technology for installing hydrogen piping in areas and houses, (2) energy systems to make full and total use of hydrogen from energy center with piping networks by business combination and (3) methodology for estimating fossil fuel dependency of hydrogen systems. [The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction) Sept. 1, 2008]
@Considering 2015 fiscal year to be a milestone for propagating FC, NEDO decided undertakers for next generation research of hydrogen production etc to establish market of hydrogen supplying infrastructure. They are going to investigate advanced next generation technology of hydrogen production, transport and storage. The period is 2008 - 09 fiscal years, and 7 items by National Research Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Yokohama National University, Tokyo University, National Institute for Materials Science, Kanazawa University, Tohoku University and Tokai University. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) Sept. 2, 2008]
2. PAFC systems business
@Fuji Electric group is going to put high-quality low-price PAFC power generating systems in the market in the beginning half of 2009 fiscal year. Fuji Electric Systems Co., Ltd. (FES). considering sales increase to several sets scale, and in accordance with this, review of production lines will be done for 1 year to reduce the cost. At present Fuji Electric Advanced Technology Co., Ltd. has production lines in Chiba factory of FES. However production of an ordered specific set is costly, so that FES is going to make sales activities watching the market, and getting certain orders expansion of the production lines will be done. They will examine whether the present production lines shall be modified or new lines shall be constructed. Mr. Shirokura, the president, pointed out "One of large reasons why stationary FC was not so propagated as expected is cost." [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Aug. 20, 2008]
3. SOFC Development and Business Deployment
(1) Tanaka Chemical Corporation
@The above company in Fukui city decided a policy of mass production of SOFC electrode material developed in June of 2007. Till now some products including trial products were supplied to gas companies etc. and stable production and supply were concluded to establish. When the new electrodes were introduced into SOFC developed by a customer, the output increased by 20% compared with conventional ones, and cost reduction and stable performance can be expected, they said. They are going to begin mass-production within 2 years. [The Hokkoku Shimbun Aug. 19, 2008]
(2) Daiichi Kigenso Kagaku Kogyo Co., Ltd. etc.
@On Aug. 18, 2008, the above company and Tanaka Chemical Research Co., Ltd. announced that they completed developing industrial technology of composite electrode material of nickel oxide (NiO) and zirconia (SZ), which was developed by the two companies in June of 2007. .By this development, mass-production of next generation electrode materials comes in sight together with increase in power efficiency. The two companies newly construct trial production lines at Osaka factory of Daiichi Kigenso Kagaku Kogyo Co., Ltd. in Osaka city and real sample supply started in the end of August. Japanese gas companies begin to investigate real commercialization of home use SOFC cogeneration systems, and the two companies start final investigation of time for mass-production and stronghold, investigation being completed in the half year from October. Daiichi Kigenso Kagaku Kogyo Co., Ltd. stated "we intends to start mass-production," and it was concluded that the site for the stronghold would be in Fukui prefecture, where the two companies have each factories.
@The composite materials developed in 2007 are for anode electrodes and two types are made; one is composite of NiO and Scandia (ScSZ) for low-temperature SOFC and the other is that of NiO and Yttria (YSZ) for high-temperature SOFC. It is said that when these are used in anodes, the power generating efficiency increases by 20%. Powder shapes and composite ratios are precisely controlled by making NiO with ScSz or YSZ before making the powder. This is characteristic point, and by this process the quality is improved compared with mixing each powders by electrode makers. The two companies have investigated real use of these new materials with several other companies and they elucidated that by improving production processes at a few points stability in quality in the mass-production is dramatically improved. By this technology of mass-production quality of the composites is in the same level of quality as those made of conventional high-purity zirconia. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chemical Daily Aug. 19, 2008]
4. Elementary technology development and business deployment of PEFC and DMFC
(1) Gifu University
@Prof. Kambara, an associate professor of Gifu University and Kojima Press Industry Co., Ltd. developed a new technology to reduce platinum. To avoid decrease of power efficiency by decrease of hydrogen concentration due to air leakage to hydrogen electrode side, surplus hydrogen was burnt with platinum catalyst, but in the new technology surplus hydrogen is burnt in plasma state by high voltage. Hydrogen is burnt in a low temperature range of 1/5 compared with conventional one, so that improvement of safety is also expected. This cooperative research group made equipment to burn surplus hydrogen gas at the rate of 8 L/Min and the performance was confirmed by experiment. Exhausted hydrogen from PEFC for automobiles is about 0.2 L/min and about 0.2% of power is needed. Overall platinum can be reduced by 10%. The company has a plan to commercialize the equipment for PEFC. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Aug. 19, 2008]
(2) Tokyo University of Science
@Prof. Kuwano, an associate professor of Engineering Faculty of Tokyo University of Science developed simple method to synthesize inexpensively carbon nano-tube (CNT) of frost-column-like shape from inexpensive materials of about 300,000 yen. Organo-metallic compounds like metallocene or organic acid salts are dissolved in alcoholic solution. A stainless steel plate with electrodes on it is immersed in the solution and heat them at 800 by AC current, and thus CNT is formed on the plate. When other materials are added in the solution, they are incorporated in the wall, on the outer wall or inside the wall, and they can be loaded simply. For instance electrode catalyst layers with platinum catalyst nano-particles can be made. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Aug. 22, 2008]
@A group of Prof. Kuwano and an assistant Mr. Saito developed new materials without platinum. The material is oxide of lead and ruthenium with manganese. This new material has crystal structure of many oxide defects. Because of this structure hydrogen peroxide is formed little and it has superior as platinum substitute catalyst.At present it is not so superior to platinum in potential versus reversible hydrogen electrode, but pretreatment process is about to be established to get comparative performance. Furthermore, if the particle size can be reduced to about 10 nm (one several tenth of the present size), reducing ability would be increased, and characteristics over platinum could be expected. Decrease in the size is now in sight by liquid precipitation method. Further investigation of replacing lead by praseodymium and neodymium and ruthenium by other transition metals is underway, and comparative performance with the un-replaced one is obtained. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 4, 2008]
(3) Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd.
@The company starts real commercialization of stainless steel foil separators aiming at 2012. In accordance with introduction of mass-produced first generation FCV, the company intends to expand demand mainly by large makers in cooperation. It already begins paid sample supply for home use PEFC and DMFC for small portable equipments, intending promotion of propagation of PEFC and cost reduction. In the stainless steel foil separators homogenously dispersed fine electro-conductive metallic deposits on the surface break surface passive membrane to form electric path and to reduce contact electric resistance. The surface passive membrane also improves anti-corrosive characteristics. The thickness of the separators is 100 - 200 micron m and about 10,000 hour endurance was confirmed. [The Chemical Daily Sept. 10, 2008]
(4) Sophia University
@A group of Prof. Mutsukawa of Faculty of Science and Technology of Sophia University developed un-humidified FC operating in a temperature range of 100 - 200. As basic polyelectrolyte membrane, phosphoric acid doped polybenzoimidazole is used. By optimizing phosphouric acid concentration in electrolyte membrane, room temperature operation was also confirmed. When the phosphoric acid concentration in electrolyte membrane increases, the power efficiency increases, and when it in the catalytic layer increases, power efficiency decreases. By optimizing conditions for making catalyst and by controlling the concentration below 50%, the room temperature operation could be achieved. The maximum power density at 160 is 270 - 280 mW/cm2, and phosphoric acid in the electrolyte membrane is 2.52 mole, but when it increases, endurance tends to decrease. Hereafter, improvement will be made in basic polyelectrolyte for electrolyte membrane, intending to improve the power density and endurance. [The Chemical Daily Sept. 18, 2008]
5. Business of home use PEFC systems
(1) Nippon Oil Corp.
@On Aug. 21, the above company announced that "ENEOS Celltec" (Oizumimachi, Gumma prefecture) established in cooperation with Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. is going to expand the factory investing about 2 billion yen. Since April of 2009 it will start commercial mass-production. At the beginning it will be 3,000 sets/year, and in 2010 10,000 sets/year is planned. By further investment it will be expanded to 40,000 sets/year by 2015 fiscal year. [The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Asahi 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 Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction), The Chunichi Shimbun, The Jomo Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye, and The Chemical Daily Aug. 22, 2008]
(2) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
@For propagation of home use FC systems the company will organize specific maintenance teams. Till now maintenance was done by FC makers for keeping secrets. Getting approval by the makers, the company will do it by itself. The company has a plan to expand system sales to more than three times of 2008 fiscal year estimation. Preparing for real propagation stage quick response to customers is aimed. [The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Aug. 22, 2008]
6. FCV Forefront
(1) Toyota Motor Corp.
@On Aug. 29, 2008 Toyota Motor Corp. announced that a new FCV "FCHV-adv" would be leased since Sept. 1. The rate is 840,000 yen/month and the period is limited 30 months. The first contract was made with Ministry of Environment. The pressure of hydrogen cylinders is 70 MPa. The range by one charge of hydrogen is two times longer than the previous one and it is about 830 km. [The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Mainichi Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Chunichi Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Aug. 30, 2008, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 1, 2008 and The Chemical Daily Sept. 4, 2008]
(2) Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
@On Sept. 5, 2008 the company announced that it developed a new inverter, which is useful to improve performance of EV and HV, and it began trial test by installing the new inverter on FCV "Extrail FCV." In the New inverter they used a hetero-junction device of silicon carbide (SiC) developed with Rhome. Comparing with conventional inverters, the area is reduced by 70% and the energy efficiency of the circuit is improved by 20%. The cooler is small, and 15 - 20% reduction in size and weight is estimated. Hereafter SiC devices will be used for transistors which is one component of the inverter, and thus further improvement in the efficiency, size and weigh is aimed. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) Sept. 6, 2008, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) and The Chemical Daily Sept. 8, 2008]
7. Development and demonstration of forklifts
(1) Toyota Industries Corp
@The company exhibited hybrid FC forklifts in International Exhibition of Physical Distribution 2008. This is the first time for the company to install its developed FC systems. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) Sept. 6, 2008 and The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Sept. 11, 2008]
(2) Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
@On Sept. 8, 2008 the above company announced that it would make demonstration of FC forklifts in cooperation with Nippon Yusoki Co., Ltd. and JFE Container Co., Ltd. for early commercialization. For hydrogen supply a unit (4 cylinders of 13 L) is attached, so that the forklifts can be operated without hydrogen stations. At present continuous operating time is 4 - 5 hours, 8 hours being aimed in the future. Achievement of fundamental performance is in sight. Hereafter multiple FC including that by Canadian Hydrogenec Co. will be installed, and examination of cost etc. will be made. The company anticipates commercialization in 2012, and various tests will be made for improvement in cost, reliability and endurance. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, 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 Sept. 9, 2008]
8. Development and demonstration of hydrogen stations
@In JHFC project Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. started demonstration of 70 MPa operation at Senju hydrogen station on Sept. 11, 2008. In addition to a conventional pressure swing type hydrogen producing equipment, an 80 MPa hydrogen compressor and storage tanks were installed. JHFC has a plan to increase hydrogen pressure to 70 MPa at other hydrogen stations located at Daikoku (Tsurumiku, Yokohama city), Funabashi (Funabashi city) and Asahi (Asahiku, Yokohama city). In demonstration of 70 MPa hydrogen stations, safety and endurance under high pressure will be demonstrated changing pressure and charging rate to make clear advantages and tasks of high pressure. Data gathering will also be made for standardization of components and charging method. FCV participating the demonstration are "FCHV-adv" by Toyota, "Extrail FCV" by Nissan and "SX4-FCV" by Suzuki. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) Sept. 12, 2008 and The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Sept. 13, 2008]
9. Technology development of hydrogen production and purification
@In collaboration with Kyoto University, Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd., and a group in Japan Science and Technology Agency, Tokyo University has developed catalyst, with which hydrogen can be efficiently produced from DME. The developed catalyst has cubic crystal structure of iron oxide with micro-fine copper particles on it. Because relatively inexpensive copper etc. are used, the catalyst can be used by low cost. The new catalyst promotes the reaction at low temperature (350) and it hardly degrades. It can be used for 1,000 hours, and when it degrades, it can be used again by heating it in air. DME is made from methanol etc., and it is gas in the room temperature, but it becomes liquid by cooling or compression and it can be transported with tankers and tank lorrues. It is not toxic as methanol. So if an inexpensive method is realized to make hydrogen from DME, there is possibility to develop it to commercial production. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Aug. 25, 2008]
10. Development of micro FC for portable equipments
@In cooperation with Energy and Environment Research Institute Ltd. in Machida city, Hydrogen Energy Devices Co., Ltd. in Sagamihara city completed micro PEFC for portable power sources of notebook type personal computers etc., and it is using hydrogen by hydrolysis of sodium boron hydride (NaBH4). The size is 160 mm high, 80 mm wide and 80 mm deep, and the maximum power is 40W. At the maximum 8 hour continuous operation at the rated power can be done. It works by putting an exchangeable cartridge to FC, and in the cartridge are NaBH4 and water containing specific reagent. Hydrogen content of NaBH4 is 10.6 wt%. The price of FC main body is estimated about 30,000 yen. Sample shipping would be begun in September, and sales of 1,000 sets in the first year is a target. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun Aug. 19, 2008]
11. Metrological and testing apparatus related with FC and hydrogen
(1) Chino Corp.
@The company was going to start sales of a testing apparatus for PEFC "FC evaluation apparatus" on Sept. 10, 2008. With this voltage, current etc of stacks and single cells can be measured. The applicable maximum number of single cells in a stack is 20, and the scale, the maximum voltage and the maximum current are respectively about 3 kW, 30 V and 500 A. The price is 39.3 million yen or more. A soft ware "FC architect" is installed for high-speed calculation. It is easily possible to set or change measuring conditions depending on the previous measuring results. Sales of 10 sets in the first year are estimated. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 2, 2008 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Sept. 3, 2008]
(2) Toyo Technica Corp.
@The company developed "AutoSOFC2" to efficiently evaluate SOFC performance and began its sales. Compared with conventional one time needed to set a sample became half, and thin samples can be set without breaking. The development was done with Kyushu University and Kyushu Keisokki Co., Ltd. in Fukuoka city. A new method is adopted to set samples in the apparatus. Some devises were made to keep good contact among samples, electrodes etc. Platinum paste is used to keep contact and fix them. Thus sample thinner than 200 micron m can be set without breaking. The price is 12.8 million yen and sales of 10 sets are anticipated in a year. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Sept. 3, 2008, The Chemical Daily Sept. 5,2008 and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 11, 2008]
(3) SII Technology Corp.
@On Sept. 3, 2008 the company begins to sell a thermal analysis apparatus "TAM/SS7100" with which sample changes are observed by cooling or heating the sample in a temperature range from - 150 to 600. The sample change, such as thermal expansion, can be measured with sensitivity of 10 nm, and thus dimensional change of PEFC membrane materials can be observed. Technique is adopted to remove unnecessary noise from measured signal, and sensitivity increases twice. The price is 7.35 million yen or more, and 80 set sales are expected. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 3, 2008]
12. Business deployment by company
@On Aug. 8, 2008 Nishimbo Inc. announced that it is going to newly construct a factory to expand businesses of solar cells and PEFC separators. It will cope with demand expansion by introducing newest equipments, while the domestic production of fibers will be reduced. The new investment is 11 billion yen. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Chunichi Shimbun, The Shizuoka Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye, The Chemical Daily Sept. 29, 2008 and The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction) Sept. 2, 2008]
The company decided to construct a new factory for production of PEFC separators for home use in Chiba City Kimidori Industrial Complex (Onodai, Midoriku, Chiba city). Separators will be produced with newest equipment in a newly constructed factory, and the production scale is corresponding to 20,000 sets/year of PEFC systems "ENE₯FARM." Its Miai works (Okazaki city) will be moved to the new factory. The scale of buildings of the new factory is corresponding to 300,000 sets of annual production. It is planned to complete the construction by March of 2010. The initial investment is estimated 3.5 billion yen. [The Nikkan Kensetsu Kogyo Shimbun (construction) Sept. 11, 2008]
------------ This edition is made up as of September 18, 2008. ---------------