THE LATEST FUEL CELL NEWS IN JAPAN, NUMBER 153, 2009
`Subsidiary for Propagation of Home Use FC`

Arranged by T. Homma
1. National Policies
2. Local Government Policies
3. Development and Utilization Technology of MCFC
4. Development and Demonstration of SOFC
5. Home Use PEFC Business
6. Business and Operation of Hydrogen Stations
7. Development of Hydrogen Production and Purification
8. Periphery Device Related with FC and Hydrogen
9. Hydrogen Energy System
10. Development of Micro-FC
11. Business Deployment by Company

1. National Policies
(1) FC propagation
@For home use FC to be commercialized since 2009 fiscal year, 6 billion yen is included in the governmental budget draft as subsidiary of 400,000 yen (upper limit) per one unit. It is equivalent to 40% of present price in the market. To propagate home use FC NEF has been made demonstration for 4 years since 2005, 2,232 units are being operated at present. The present market scale is a little bit larger than 10 billion yen. The ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry states that the scale should be 200 billion yen in 2015, and the introduction cost should be below 1 million yen. [The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) Dec. 26, 2008 and The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Jan. 15, 2009]

(2) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
@METI will promote collaboration between Japan and US in growing fields of environment and energy. It will intensify collaboration between National Research Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Los Alamos National Laboratories, and in addition to this METI is considering to conclude a memorandum for cooperative research in nano technology with Sandia National Laboratories. Los Alamos National laboratory has high-level analytical technology of FC and superconductivity utilizing high-performance facilities. Until now collaborative researches were made in FC with National Research Institute of Advanced Science and Technology and in high-temperature superconductivity with International Superconductivity Technology Research Center (ISTRC), respectively with high reputation (METI). For promotion of collaborative FC research, delegation was going to be dispatched in January of 2009 to discuss promotion of collaborative research in efficient materials for hydrogen storage. METI pointed out importance of policy change from independent research to "open innovation" in which outside research resources are positively used for technology innovation. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Dec. 30, 9008]

(3) NEDO
@NEDO is going to solicit applications for participating research projects of demonstration of FCV, hydrogen infrastructure to supply hydrogen etc. starting in 2009. The applications will be accepted for about one month since the beginning of February. The results of FCV research done till now will be taken over. In demonstration hydrogen stations and FCV will be used and data on energy saving and cost will be gathered. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Jan. 7, 2009]

2. Local Government Policies
(1) Fukuoka Prefecture
@Fukuoka Prefecture is going to establish "Fukuoka General Hydrogen Testing Center (tentative)" in 2009 in Maebara city of the prefecture near Ito Campus of Kyushu University. The center is the first one for safety qualification of hydrogen related products. It can be called hydrogen version of JIS, and its activity will be focused at formulating worldwide hydrogen products quality standards. The overall budget of the center is 1.5 billion yen. The buildings are pressure durable, and the floor area is 2,000 m2. It is expected that the budget would be included in national revised budget in 2008 or original budget in 2009. The two thirds will be shared by the national government and the others will be shared by the prefecture. The management will be made by a non-profitable organization (a public welfare legal person) established by fund of about 200 million yen from the prefecture and the industrial sector. It is scheduled that it will start its activities in 2010 fiscal year in cooperation with Kyushu University (hydrogen material advanced research center). In the testing center products such as flow meters and pipes for hydrogen FC etc. will be tested mainly in aging and endurance by requests of ventures, medium and small businesses. [The Nishinihon Shimbun Jan. 1, 2009]

(2) Saitama Prefecture
@In the press conference on Jan. 20, 2009 the Governor of Saitama prefecture, Mr. Ueda announced that about 1,500 prefecture-owned vehicles (except the police office) will be successively replaced by next generation vehicles for 10 years. According to the prefecture, the assumed next generation vehicles are three; electric cars, hybrid cars and natural gas cars. FCV will be considered hereafter. The prefecture recommends the employees to purchase next generation cars at replacement of their own vehicles. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Jan. 21, 2009]

3. Development and Utilization Technology of MCFC
@Agency of Natural Resources and Energy has made MCFC demonstration for 4 years since 2004 fiscal year using about 1.3 billion yen in cooperation with Chubu Electric Power Co., Ltd. and Chugoku Electric Power Co., Ltd., and real use of technology for frequency stabilization by MCFC comes into insight. It was confirmed that change of the frequency at start and stop of pumped hydroelectric generation could be controlled within 0.1 Hz, and CO‚Q recovery was achieved 75.9% at the maximum. CO‚Q recovery type MCFC of 50 kW class was installed at Misumi plant of Chugoku Electric Power Co., Ltd., and over 2,000 hour continuous generation and over 75% recovery was achieved. It is estimated that for 300,000 kW pumped hydroelectric generation 11 sets of 7,000 kW MCFC are needed for frequency stabilization. If all Japanese electric power companies except Okinawa Electric Power Co., Ltd. install total 84 sets of 7,000 kW MCFC, the frequency change can be perfectly reduced and about 2.7 million tons of CO‚Q can be recovered. Moreover, it is also effective to keep the frequency stabilization, when solar cells are introduced in large scale. In demonstration of reliability it was confirmed that voltage drop was 0.26% per 1,000 hour operation. Recovery of CO‚Q during electric generation is also in sight. An evaluation report will be completed at a committee meeting on Feb. 19, 2009. In 2030's cogeneration with gas turbines will be anticipated. Thus the agency considers that MCFC is one of important items in "Advanced Energy Technology Project." [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Jan. 19, 2009]

4. Development and Demonstration of SOFC
@A company, Phoenix FC in Nakano ward, Tokyo prefecture developed SOFC of various real usages such as portable power sources in construction sites, auxiliary power sources for automobiles. and its start up time became short. The cell design of structure is lattice to increase reaction area and to increase power density per weight. Thus the power generator, which was considered as a stationary generator, became a small and portable generator. Its weight is about 5 kg and the power of 100 W is possible. The cells are made by sintering metallic powder for the electrodes on ion conductive ceramics of lanthanum gallate. Thermal expansion of the ceramics for the electrolyte differs from that of metallic electrodes, but by sintering it at the temperature a little bit lower than crystallization temperature of the metal, fine pores are formed and expansion of ceramics is easily done. Thus cracks are not formed by heating the cells quickly and aging is prevented, so that the start up time becomes about 5 min. To make small SOFC a heat exchanger is not set and the conversion efficiency is 20 - 25%. Butane, DME etc. are assumed as fuel. It is forecasted that this SOFC would be sold to firms at the price of 800,000 yen after 2 years. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Dec.26, 2009]

5. Home Use PEFC Business
(1) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
@Till Dec. 29, 2008 the company revealed a policy that over 1,000 sets of home use FC system "Enefarm" would be sold in 2009 fiscal year. Enefarm is considered as a competitive product to all electrification, and sales will begin early since the next fiscal year. It is estimated that in a typical home payment for gas and electric power would be reduced by 50,000 - 60,000 yen and CO‚Q emission can be reduced by 45%. The price would be below 1 million yen, though it depends on the subsidiary. The company is aiming at new detached houses and remodeled houses, and the goal after 2012 is thought to be increased up to 10,000 sets, while the goal of Nippon Oil Corp. is 2,000 sets in 2009. [The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) and the Nihon Nogyo Shimbun (agriculture) Dec. 30, 2008]

(2) Toyota Motor Corp.
@On Dec. 29, 2008 it was revealed that the company is considering postponement of sales of home use FC, which was planned in 2009 fiscal year. Because of drastic change of car business, the company decided to concentrate resources to its main business of car business. The company was making R&D of home use FC in Cooperation with Aishin Seiki Co., Ltd., and annually twenty and several sets were supplied to Toho Gas Co., Ltd. since 2006 fiscal year for demonstration. [The Sankei Shimbun Dec. 30, 2008]

(3) Secom
@On Dec. 31, 2008 the company set forth that it would join to rental business of home use FC in 2009. In addition to general systems modified systems for disaster to keep power supply would also be dealt with. It will be supplied to its clients of home security by monthly payment of about 20,000 yen. The targets are rich people in cities. The FC system for disaster can be operated with multiple fuels, such as town gas, LPG, LNG and kerosene. If gas supply is stopped, for instance by earthquake, its employees would set a gas cylinder for early recovery of power supply. Batteries are installed for blackout. If water supply is stopped cooling water would be used. Thus improvement will be done for coping to disasters etc. [The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Jan. 1, 2009]

(4) Asahi Kasei Homes Corp.
@On Jan. 7, 2009 the company announced that it would begin campaign of "Hebel Hous Electric Generation" on Jan. 8, 2009, and "Hebel Haus Electric Generation" are packages of advanced environmentally benign equipments. In the packages home use FC "Enefarm" or heat-pump hot water supply and air conditioning system utilizing underground heat reservoirs combined with solar cell generation. The company stated that when Enefarm is combined with solar cells in general homes, almost all annual power consumption can be supplied. This "Double Power Generation Package" is 4.75 million yen, but it could be purchased by about 1.5 million yen, if subsidiary can be got. The hot water supply would amount to 70 - 90% of demand, and annual CO‚Q emission could be reduced by about 60%, while expense for electric power and heat could be reduced by 55%. Enefarm would be supplied by Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and solar cells are polycrystal silicon type (3.2 kW) manufactured by Kyocera Corp. [The Chemical Daily Jan. 8, 2009, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) and The Judaku Shimpo (living houses) Jan. 13, 2009]

(5) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
@On Jan. 18, 2009 the above company revealed a plan in which the company intended sales of home use co-generation FC systems to about 15% of its customers, total 1 million sets by 2030. In the plan the sales will start in April, and total several thousands would be installed for initial 3 years in detached houses. Promoting quality improvement and cost reduction, the system would be downsized so that it could be used in apartment houses. The initial price would be higher than that of the present system, even if the subsidiary can be got. Thus the price reduction is the key for propagation. [The Yomiuri Shimbun Jan. 19, 2009]

(6) Nippon Oil Corp.
@The company starts real sales of home use FC since 2009 fiscal year. Making full use of the present sales organization of gasoline and LPG, new sales agencies organized of 100 companies cover Japan, and ten thousand sets would be sold in 2010 fiscal year. The agencies, which have know-how of installation of heating appliances, will be collected among about 600 specific contract shops. In ten branches groups will be set up and about 30 employees works as consultants for the agencies, and about 20 persons in the headquarter will be charged in marketing. The price would be decreased to about 500,000 yen in 2015 fiscal year, and it aims at 40,000 set sales in the same year. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Jan. 20, 2009]

6. Business and Operation of Hydrogen Stations
@Toho Gas Co., Ltd. opened "JHFC Centrea Hydrogen Station" in the island of Chubu International Airport in Tokoname city of Aichi prefecture in July of 2006. The total amount of hydrogen charged to FCV amounts to over 10,000 kg in this 2 and half years by Dec. 12, 2008, and this is the first record in Japan. This hydrogen station has been utilized to supply to total 6 vehecles of FC buses and FCV running in and around the airport. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Jan. 9, 2009]

7. Development of Hydrogen Production and Purification
(1) Osaka University
@Prof. Fukuzumi, a professor of graduate course of Osaka University (majored in technology), developed catalyst, which can be used repeatedly and safely for hydrogen production by decomposition of formic acid at very high efficiency. The catalyst is metal complex of rhodium single nucleus. Formic acid and formic salts can be used as hydrogen storage materials. They are liquids or solids under the room temperature and atmospheric pressure, and they can be easily and safely stored and carried, but there are unsolved problems in production with conventional catalysts. The metal complex of single nucleus, Prof. Fukuzumi developed, decomposes formic acid in water under the room temperature and the atmospheric pressure at high efficiency. Thus it can be used to get hydrogen easily, and it is more easily handled than conventional hydrogen storage materials, such as organic hydrides and carbon based absorption materials. Active center of hydrogenase is the model for this catalyst invention. Aqua complex of two nuclei of ruthenium and nickel, that of two nuclei of hydrid and that of single nuclei of iridium were made till now, but Prof. Fukuzumi said that they developed the rhodium complex, because it is cheaper than that of nickel and ruthenium. The catalyst can be used to selectively produce hydrogen, deuterium and deuterium hydride by controlling pH under the benign conditions of the room temperature and the atmospheric pressure in water, while it can be used for making formic acid by reacting hydrogen with CO‚Q to form formic acid. [The Chemical Daily Jan. 9, 2009]

(2) Tokyo University of Science
@Prof. Kudo and his group in the above university modified equipments to produce hydrogen by illuminating visible light with photo-catalyst, and process to separate hydrogen from oxygen becomes unnecessary. In this new technology two kinds of catalysts; containing metallic bismuth and strontium are main components, are used as photo-catalysts. Both are catalysts for hydrogen production. The apparatus was assembled as follows. A water container was divided into two parts with proton exchange electrolyte membrane. In one part catalyst containing bismuth were put and in the other catalyst containing strontium was set. Water was poured in the two parts, and the two catalysts were electrically connected When catalyst containing bismuth is illuminated by visible light, oxygen, hydrogen ion and electron form, and catalyst containing strontium accepts electron and releases hydrogen and hydroxide ion. When the two catalysts of 0.1 g each are put in the container of 0.1L capacity and they are illuminated, hydrogen is produced at the rate of 145 micro L per 1 hour. Process for separating hydrogen is unnecessary, and hydrogen can be produced safely and efficiently in large scale. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Jan. 15, 2009]

8. Device Related with FC and Hydrogen
@On Dec. 25, 2008 Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. announced that it developed an ultra-small and short device for gas transport, "piezoelectric micro-blower." The driving force comes from piezoelectric ceramics, and design was made for supersonic wave to act as "an air pump." Thus a device of small and thin design with high pumping pressure was made. The height, width, depth, air pumping pressure and pumping rate are respectively 20 mm, 20 mm, 1.85 mm, over 1.3 kP and 0.85 L/min. The power is low, so that electromagnetic noise does not occur. The assumed usage is air blowers for FC etc. The sample price is 1,500 yen, and mass production is anticipated since 2009 fiscal year. [The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) Dec. 26, 2008 and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun Jan. 8, 2009]

9. Hydrogen Energy System
@Ministry of Land, Transport and Infrastructure is going to start technology development to realize urban energy system making full use of hydrogen since 2009 fiscal year. The development will carried out for 4 years by 2012 fiscal year. In 2009 fiscal year investigating organization will be set up involving gas and electric power industries with Agency of Natural Resources and Energy. Tasks will be picked up reviewing technology R&D till now and sharing these tasks will be decided. It is thought hard to investigate energy consumption sharing in apartment houses and business buildings. To do this, demonstration facilities will be constructed. The project name is "Development of town system technology for low carbon society with full use of hydrogen," and 139 million yen was included in the 2009 budget for this project. The items are 1) Technology for constructing hydrogen pipes in area and buildings, 2) Energy system technology for making full use of hydrogen with hydrogen pipe networks, and 3) Method for evaluating fossil fuel dependency of hydrogen energy systems. [The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction) Jan. 9, 2009]

10. Development of Micro-FC
@On Dec. 26, 2008 Toshiba Corp. revealed its policy that new notebook type personal computers are going to be sold in 2009 fiscal year, and its specific lithium ion batteries "SCiB" of quickly rechargeable type will be installed. The recharging time is shortened by changing materials, and the batteries installed in this personal computers will be able to be recharged within about 10 min. In the future it will be 5 min. Small DMFC for long run will be installed in personal computers and portable phones, which are going to be commercialized in 2009 fiscal year. By early commercialization, the company would show its originality in promising mobile equipments market. The company's strategy is "they prepare both lithium ion batteries and FC, so that customers can choose either one." [The Sankei Shimbun and The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Dec. 27, 2008]

11. Business Deployment by Company
@Showa Denko K. K. intends to commercialize carbon separators for PEFC and it also promoting real use of catalyst substituting platinum.. The company tries to make the separators thin, and it is supplying samples to main 3 companies developing home use PEFC, while it begins to negotiate use of the separators in FCV for demonstration. The carbon separators began to be developed in 2005 and many modifications were made. Use of graphite with boron additives brought them highly conductive thin (below 0.1 mm) separators, and they have high strength by using multiphase binder. High speed stamping mold can be applied, so that further machining is not needed for channels and it is leading cost down. Its weight is less than that of metallic separator, and specific surface treatment is also effective. For substituting platinum catalyst IV - V oxide of niobium is under R&D, and high surface area, high anti-corrosive nature and crystal structure for stable activity are characteristic points of this catalyst. The oxidation - reduction potential is 0.95 V approaching to 1.05 V of platinum. High-speed production is now possible, and development of mass production lines and optimization of dispersion of additives are still under study. The sample supply will be started in this year and business since about 2015 is aimed at. [The Chemical Daily Jan. 19, 2009]


------------ This edition is made up as of Jan. 23, 2009. ---------------