`Various DMFC to Be Commercialized`

Arranged by T. Homma
1. National Policies
2. SOFC Development and Demonstration Trends
PEFC Elementary Technologies Development
4. Home Use PEFC Development and Business
5. FCV Forefront
6. FC in Railway
7. FC of Reversible Function
8. Micro-FC Development and Business
9. Development of Hydrogen Production and Purification
10. Development of Hydrogen Storage and Transport
11. Metrological Technology Related with FC and Hydrogen
12. Firm Strategy and Business Deployment

1. National Policies
(1) NEDO
@For cost reduction of home use FC, NEDO is going to carry out a project for 3 parts of home use FC i.e., water treatment, heat exchange and inverters. In the case of annual shipping of 100,000 sets, the targets of cost reduction for the water treatment equipment, the heat exchanger and the inverter are determined respectively 20,000 yen, 4,000 yen and 20,000 yen per one set. It is in a series of projects for cost reduction by competition among multiple companies by common specification, standards and cost targets. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 3, 2009]

(2) JHFC Project
@In the JHFC project for promoting demonstration of FCV and hydrogen infrastructure preparation will be begun for new activities since 2010. For beginning of propagation of FCV among general users, which is thought to be since 2015, demonstration in real society will be examined taking account of users' driving behavior and propagation. In "JHFC seminar" Prof. Ishitani of Keio University, the chairman of a committee for promoting demonstration, showed tasks for propagation. Until 2010 in the present project tasks in the next demonstration will be examined and activities will be promoted in new phase since 2011 fiscal year. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) March7, 2009]

2. SOFC Development and Demonstration Trends
(1) NEF
@New Energy Foundation announced data such as the electric generation efficiency etc. obtained in SOFC demonstration started since 2007 fiscal year. In the first year SOFC were installed at 28 sites and in the second year they were installed at 25 sites. It was confirmed that the performances, such as the heat recovery efficiency, the power efficiency and the CO‚Q reduction, of SOFC installed in the second year are superior to those in the first year in general. Kyocera Corp. participated as a supplier of SOFC and Osaka Gas Co. Ltd. made installation and operation, while Nippon Oil Corp. and TOTO corp. supplied the systems and operated them. In the period from September, 2007 to December, 2008, the average data are as follows; the power generation efficiency 34.1% (HHV), the heat recovery efficiency37.2% (HHV), the power utilization efficiency 33.8%, (HHV), the heat utilization efficiency 21.3% (HHV), the primary energy reduction 6655 MJ/month and the CO‚Q reduction 94.6 kg/month. On the other hand, the data obtained from Aug., 2008 to Dec., 2008 are as follows; the power generation efficiency 36.1% (HHV), the heat recovery efficiency 37.9%, the power utilization efficiency 35.7% (HHV), the primary energy reduction 909 MJ/month, and the CO‚Q reduction 117 kg/month. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) March 10, 2009]

(2) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
@On March 10, 2009 the company decided a policy to commercialize home use SOFC under development with Kyocera Corp. around 2014 fiscal year. [The Fuji Sankei Business Eye March 11, 2009]

3. PEFC Elementary Technologies Development
(1) Ask Technica Corp.and Yamanashi University
@The above mechanical components maker in Yokohama city and Prof. Watanabe in energy research center developed strong and anti-corrosive separators in cooperation. On flat metallic plates composite of carbon and resin is attached and on the composite are channels for hydrogen etc. On the both surfaces of the metallic plate anti-corrosive painted layer of about 50 micro meter is made, and over it carbon - resin composite is molded to form channels of 0.5 - 1 mm depth. Machining is unnecessary and mass-production can be done at low cost. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Feb. 25, 2009]

(2) Japan Atomic Power Agency
@The institute succeeded in R&D of bacteria which makes nano-particles of platinum for catalyst. Bacteria called "iron reducing bacteria" is put into solution containing platinum etc., and after one day 90% of the platinum is changed to nano-particles and appears on the surface of bacteria. It shows possibility of technology for making platinum nano-particles in high purity and at low cost. [The Asahi Shimbun Feb. 27, 2009]

(3) Miyoshi Industry Co., Ltd.
@Niigata Works of the above company in Yokohama city succeeded in development of press machining technology for mass-production of low-cost metallic separators by cooperative research with governmental, academic and industrial sectors. The company challenged press of SUS 304 plates (0.1 and 0.2 mm thickness) to form wave-shape channels. Searching limits of mechanical characteristics, technological targets of accuracy of channel depth and flatness were achieved together with uniformity of channel interval. With conventional mold, failure called "spring back" happens. By adjusting machining conditions and using servo-press and high-speed machining, it could be overcome. Comparing with conventional carbon separators, the weight and the cost could be 1/10 and 1/50, respectively. [The Tekko Shimbun (iron and steel) March 10, 2009]

4. Development and Business of Home Use PEFC
(1) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
@On Feb. 23, 2009 the company announced that it succeeded in down-sizing and cost reduction of a reformer for home use PEFC. The company adopted new catalyst for reaction process to form hydrogen from town gas, and 30 - 50% of catalyst could be reduced, while reforming efficiency at rated operation is 83% and it is the same as conventional ones. Thus the volume is by 7 L reduced and it becomes 12 L, while the weight is reduced by 6 kg and it becomes 11 kg. The number of components is by about 40% reduced. Thus the volume of reformer reduced to 2/3 and production cost becomes half. The company provides the technologies to Ebara-Ballard Corp. etc. The reformer would be installed in the next generation FC to be sold since early half of 2010's. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Feb. 24, 2009 and The Chemical Daily Feb. 25, 2009]
@In collaboration with Kyocera Corp., the company is going to sell a home use energy system of combined solar energy and town gas in 2009 fiscal year. The purchased power can be by 70% reduced, and the CO‚Q emission can be by 60% reduced. "Ecowill," the company is now selling, is combined with home use solar light power generating equipment to form "Double Power Generating System". In the morning and evening when power consumption is large, Ecowill is fully operated for heating and hot water supply, and in the daytime of large sun shine power is supplied from solar cells. The surplus power is sold. They said that expense for power and heat can be by about 100,000 yen reduced annually. The sales price of the system is estimated 2.5 - 3.0 million yen. When the price of FC is reduced, the company fully deploys business. The company increases line up of dispersed power sources which are benign to the environment. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) March 10, 2009]

(2) Hiroshima Gas Co., Ltd.
@On Feb. 25, 2009 the above company set forth a policy that it is going to begin sale of 1 kW output home use PEFC by early half of 2009 fiscal year and it is town gas specification, in which town gas of LNG is reformed to hydrogen. [The Chugoku Shimbun Feb. 26, 2009]

(3) Panasonic Home Appliances Corp.
@The above company aims at real use of home use PEFC for domestic natural gas. The domestic natural gas is not liquefied, so that it contains more nitrogen and CO‚Q than LNG. Taking account of this the company will investigate influences by using the domestic gas in home use PEFC in cooperation with large gas companies, and it is going to sell the products after 2010 fiscal year. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) March 2, 2009]

(4) Nippon Oil Corp.
@The company announced that it built a model house named "Energy Creation House" in Yokohama city. In the house various energy related products are combined, i.e., home use FC (Enefarm), solar panels, batteries, air conditioning and hot water supply system by solar heat, air tight wall materials of high thermal insulation, system for integrated operation, etc. By combining these, the company aims at houses of zero CO‚Q emission. The model house is a two storied house and the total area is 160 m2. Data of expenses for energy will be gathered for one year, and the company intends to sell it as an overall energy system in 2010 fiscal year. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Tokyo Shimbun March 4, 2009, The Chemical Daily March 5, 2009, The Judaku Shimpo (living houses) March 10, 2009 and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 11, 2009] Since April of 2010 the company put home use FC system in the market, and it can use town gas and kerosene of higher sulfur content than LPG and commercial kerosene. In 2009 fiscal year a few systems will be installed. The company developed kerosene specific to FC named ENEOS ECOBOY, in which sulfur content is decreased to 0.5 ppm, but it concluded that the specific kerosene is hard to propagate because of high cost of production and delivery. Based on its high level technology for desulfurization for oil refinery, the company has been developing FC system for which commercially available kerosene can be used. [The Chemical Daily March 9, 2009]

(5) Fukuoka Strategy Conference for Hydrogen Energy
@The conference consisting of governmental, academic and industrial sectors, such as Saibu Gas Co., Ltd., Kyushu Electric Power Co., Ltd., Fukuoka Prefecture, Kyushu University etc., decided to continue demonstration of FC done in private section of governor's official residence after replacing the present FC by the latest new one. The period is planned to be from March 1, 2009 to March 1, 2013. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) March 6, 2009]

(6) New Energy Foundation (NEF)
@On March 10, 2009 New Energy Foundation completed operation data gathering as of the end of 2008. The accumulated power generation time is 18.47 million hours, and the accumulated power is 10.38 GWh. The best data obtained through 2008 fiscal year among those installed in 2007 fiscal year are the primary energy reduction 25% and CO‚Q reduction 39% (compared with that per unit power from thermal plant). The average cost of the system decreased to 3.29 million yen in 2008 fiscal year, and it is about 57% compared with about 7.70 million yen in 2005 fiscal year. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) March 11, 2009] .

5. FCV Forefront
@On Feb. 25, 2009 Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced that test of FCV in cold climate started and in the FCV new PEFC of higher output was installed. To confirm whether the FC start in cold environment around -20Ž, the test will be done for high reliability. In the new PEFC installed in the FCV carbon separators were replaced by metallic separators, and the volume was decreased to 63 L (3/4), while the output increased to 130 kW. It also said that the amount of platinum was reduced to half and the cost was also reduced. The company installed the new FC in the multi-purposes sport car "Extrail" and running test has been made since the end of 2008. The commercialization will be done in the middle of 2010. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun Feb. 26, 2009]

6. FCV Forefront
@A Japanese railway company, JR East Japan was going to establish "Research Institute for Environmental Technology," in which environmental technology for railway will be developed, and it consists of about 10 personnel. Battery driving system, FC installed trains, solar cells and wind mills for station facilities are the themes. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) March 6, 2009]

7. Development of FC of Reversible Function
@Takasago Thermal Engineering Co., Ltd., Daiki Ataka Engineering Co., Ltd. and Research Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in collaboration developed PEFC of reversible function, with which hydrogen production from water and reversible process from hydrogen to water with power generation can be made by switching. Catalyst for power generation is different from hydrogen production, but the above group succeeded in reversible processes at certain efficiency by examining catalyst material, for instance adding other substances. If a part of this equipment is used for hydrogen production by electric power and at the same time the other part is used for power generation, power generation can be done only by natural energy, such as solar energy and wind energy. It takes about 4,000 hours to decrease the power generation efficiency to 90% of the initial efficiency. The group will try to improve endurance and to reduce the cost for early real use. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Feb. 24, 2009]

8. Micro-FC Development and Business
(1) Hitachi Corp.
@On Feb. 24, 2009 Hitachi Corp. announced that Hitachi Technologies Corp., one of subsidiary companies in Hitachi group, begin to make DMFC business in collaboration with a British R&D institute, CPI. Using portable 100 W DMFC Hitachi Corp. developed, CPI develops applications to remote watching cameras, transportation signals etc. and investigates business possibility in British market. The reasons for selection of British market are strong support of UK government for renewable energy and existence of many applications independent on the grid. CPI is superior in process technology and it has wide sales route in UK, and by cooperation with CPI Hitachi aims at business start after 2010 fiscal year. Development of various applications and field tests will start in 2009 by CPI, and Hitachi is going to carry out technology development for efficiency improvement. [The Asahi Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai 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 Fuji Sankei Business Eye, and The Chemical Daily Feb. 25, 2009]

(2) Sony Corp.
@The company developed hybrid DMFC system combining with lithium ion battery (LiB). By making hybrid start up performance is improved and stored electric power is efficiently used. The company has developed fluorocarbon electrolyte membrane by composite of fullerene derivatives and binder resin. In the new DMFC new fullerene derivative is used, which is the same as conventional ones in concept but different in fullerene derivatives structure. Binder resin is also newly developed. Thus proton conductivity is increased and methanol permeability decreases to 1/4. As a result, thickness largely decreases comparing with present standard electrolyte membrane. The catalyst is ruthenium cores coated with platinum and loaded with carbon. The diameter is 2.9 nm and the amount of platinum is by 30 - 40% reduced compared with standard ruthenium platinum catalysts. Circuit for controlling DMFC and LiB is developed, and 3 mode operations, i.e., DMFC only, DMFC and LiB or LiB only, are automatically selected. High concentration methanol nearly 100% is supplied with a pump, while oxygen and water are supplied passively. Portable one mainly of LiB can be charged (5 times) for one week operation of present portable phone. with a fuel cartridge of 10 cc capacity. [The Chemical Daily Feb. 27, 2009]

(3) Toshiba Corp.
@On March 7, 2009 Toshiba Corp. commercialized electric charger of palm size small DMFC, with which portable phones and portable music players can be charged easily even in out-door. It will begin to sell in April and it will be announced in the near future. It takes the same time to charge with this charger as by connecting the plug. .When methanol fuel is fully stored in the tank, full electric charging can be done 4 or 5 times. The price would be 20,000 - 30,000 yen, and the company is planning to reduce the price below 10,000 yen in the future. Charge can also be made with separately available methanol. The company is also planning to commercialize down-sized DMFC installed in a personal computers or portable phones. [The Yomiuri Shimbun March 7, 2009]

9. Technology Development of Hydrogen Production and Purification
@Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. evaluated reforming of bio-fuel and obtained favorable results. Pure ethanol 99.5% assuming bio-ethanol and gas mixture of methane 80% and CO‚Q 20% assuming bio-gas were reformed by the present reforming process. Hydrogen yield is achieved 70% and CO formation is controlled below 10 ppm. To efficiently remove CO optimization of temperature is necessary, but it is in sight of extension of the present technology. Furthermore, using adsorbent sulfur in commercial kerosene was decreased to 10 ppm, and it is confirmed that 2,000 hour continuous operation is possible. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Feb. 26, 2009]

10. Technology Development of Hydrogen Storage and Transport
(1) Bio Coke Laboratory Co.
@The above company in Tokyo prefecture assembled trial FC using magnesium hydride (MgH‚Q). It is light and safe portable FC and the company is developing it for real use as out-door power sources in collaboration with Toyo Canning Co., Ltd. etc. It is expected to use it as large power sources for emergency power sources, power sources coping to peak power demand in factories and dispersed power sources in islands and remote areas. When MgH‚Q is reacted with water, it produces hydrogen at the ratio of about 1.8 L/g. and at present it has 120 Wh power generating capability with 24 g of the hydride. Furthermore, by alloy formation it becomes chemically stable and it does not degrade, so that it is possible to store pure hydrogen and to transport it. When the demand is increased, it can be sold at several thousands yen/kg. The company is now negotiating with electric machine makers and equipment makers for real use. [The Tekko Shimbun (iron and steel) Feb. 26, 2009]

(2) Tohoku University
@Prof. Kyotani, Assistant Prof. Nishihara and their co-workers in Tohoku University have developed new substance composing only carbon and it adsorbs hydrogen. This substance consists of rings of 5 carbon atoms and rings of 6 carbon atoms, and they form belt-like sheets. The sheets combined in three-dimensions to form lattice structure. The width of the sheet is 1 nm and it is synthesized with zeolite as a mold. In the pore of zeolite carbonaceous compounds are inserted and then by heating them the new substance formed with only carbon. The new substance adsorbs hydrogen, when pressure is applied in the room temperature, and vice versa. Heating is unnecessary to get hydrogen. Collaboration with Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. started for hydrogen storage. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun March 9, 2009]

11. Metrological Technology Related with FC and Hydrogen
(1) Shimadzu Corp.
@The company developed an apparatus, with which oxygen distribution in FC is clearly shown, and it supports development for optimization of power generation efficiency. The apparatus is consisted of a high-performance laser and a camera, and the principle is that when a reagwnt is irradiated by light the light intensity changes depending on the oxygen concentration. It is scheduled to sell the apparatus in this summer to automobile makers and electric machine makers. [The Sankei Shimbun Feb. 25, 2009, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye and The Chemical Daily Feb. 26, 2009]

(2) Sharp Takaya Electronics Industry Co., Ltd.
@A consortium consisting of 6 firms and institutes, such as the above company in Okayama prefecture, developed hydrogen leakage detecting sensors for FCV. One of the unique points is that failure in a sensor can also be detected. In March performance tests for real use will be made together with Mazda Motor Co., Ltd. A semiconductor chip (6 mm square) including hydrogen gas detector is put in a resin box (5X8X4 cm). Multiple detectors are set around FC, and when the gas is detected, it sends signal. In the box another detector, whose characteristics are the same as the detector except gas detection, is set to detect failures by watching difference in the signals. Technology applied to this detector is developed by Prof. Tsukada of Okayama University and the patents are pending. [The San-yo Shimbun March 3, 2009].

12. Firm Strategy and Business Deployment
(1) JSR
@On Feb. 24, 2009 Japan Synthetic Rubber Co., Ltd. announced that mass production facility of polyelectrolyte membrane for PEFC was constructed in Yokkaichi Factory.. The capacity is equivalent to 10,000 - 20,000 FCV per year. It is hydrocarbon electrolyte of high endurance and good low-temperature characteristics. FC system using this membrane has characteristics coping to - 30 - 95Ž and it is adopted in FCV assembled by Japanese motor companies. JSR will make further development to improve endurance, long-term reliability and load following characteristics by start and stop, considering further application to FC for home and portable equipments. Till now the company has semi-commercial production plant and it also getting experience of quality insurance and shipping. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and Industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automovile), The Chemical Daily Feb. 25, 2009 and The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) March 2, 2009]

(2) Nisshinbo Corp.
@The company is going to start operation of new factory for separator half year earlier than the previous plane. The new factory will be completed in this fall and the operation will be started in this year. Coping to demand increase the company will make supply system. The capacity of the new factory will be about 20,000 FCV per year and it is considering further expansion. (See The Latest News No. 154.) [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Feb. 25, 2009]

------------ This edition is made up as of March 11, 2009. ---------------