`SOFC 3kW Module of 59% Power Efficiency`

Arranged by T. Homma
1. National Policies
2. Policy by Local Government
3. SOFC Development
4. PEFC Elementary Technologies Development
5. Home Use PEFC Business Deployment and "Enefarm" Information
6. FCV Forefront
7. Technology Development for Hydrogen Transport and Storage
8. Technology Development and Business Related with Micro-FC
9. Development and Business of FC Related Auxiliary and Material
10. Metrological Technology Related with FC and Hydrogen

1. National Policies
@For target of CO‚Q zero emission society in people's life, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is going to start large-scale experiments since 2009 fiscal year selecting 4 or 5 areas. For instance hydrogen stations for FCV will be constructed on highways, and pipe lines will be made to supply byproduct hydrogen in steel factory to apartment houses to use it in homes. Subsidiary of several hundreds million to one billion yen per one area will be allocated to accepted applications. Now prefectures such as Fukuoka, Aomori, Miyagi, Gifu, Okinawa etc. are though to be candidates. Necessary money will be included in 2009 fiscal year supplementary budget, and it would be expanded to the whole country in the future. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun April 27, 2009]

2. Policy by Local Government
@Yamanashi Prefecture, Yamanashi University and the Yamanashi mechano-electronic industry association completed a stronghold concept of local new energy systems of FC, solar cells, bio-mass etc., and it also covers research, demonstration, evaluation, standardization and deregulation. FC technology research led by Yamanashi University, area-specific new energy systems installation in real society etc. will be promoted by cooperation among governmental, academic and industrial sectors, to which specific deregulation will be applied. In FC R&D field it is assumed to introduce a center for evaluation and standardization, and small and medium local companies are assumed to engage in these measurements. FC nano-materials research center in Yamanashi University is the center of this concept, and a project of 7 billion yen for 7 years is proceeding in the center by about 60 persons at present. In the future evaluation and standardization will be a center of the concept. Demonstration for deregulation will be done by small and medium companies with supports by Yamanashi University. [The Nikkan Sangyo Shimbun (business and technology) May 12, 2009]

3. SOFC Development
(1) Toho Gas Co., Ltd., Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. and Sumitomo Precision Product Co., Ltd.
@The above three companies published on April 20, 2009 that they have developed business use SOFC module of town gas specification, whose short time power efficiency of 3 kW reached to 59% (LHV). Since 2006 they have been developing SOFC in collaboration, and the developed module is a stack of plate-type cells. Beside stable and highly efficient power generation, they studied heat flow design for heat recovery and uniform temperature in the stack. Thus thermal design was made to reduce exhausted heat. They are anticipating over 45% power efficiency including auxiliaries. According to Toho Gas Co., Ltd. this is in world top level and commercialization after 2 or 3 years is aimed at, restaurants, small shops and offices being the targets. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Chunichi Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye April 21, 2009, The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) April 22, 2009 and The Sankei Shimbun April 27, 2009]

(2) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
The company installed SOFC for apartment houses in 3 homes of its apartment house for testing "NEXT 21" in February of 2009 and demonstration was started. The SOFC has been developed in cooperation with Kyocera Corp. Since March Toyota Motor Corp. and Aisin Seiki Co. Ltd. joined and R&D are promoted. The operation results in February and March were investigated. The average electric output was 440 W, which covers 67% of electric consumption of each home. The electric power efficiency, the exhausted heat recovery efficiency and the reduced CO‚Q emission were respectively 38%, 40% and 93 kg/month. The reduction of payment for power and heat is about 3,700 yen per month. Because removing CO is unnecessary in SOFC, it is enough to reform methane in town gas to half, so that the reformer is as large as a pencil box. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbn (business and technology) April. 27, 2009]

(3) Nippon Oil Corp.
The company decided its policy that SOFC shall be commercialized by 2015 fiscal year. Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. are planning sale in the same period, so that the sale seems to become real. The company already started its demonstration for real use, and it is planning earlier commercialization by 2015 fiscal year. ENEOS Celltech Co., Ltd. will manufacture it. Because of compactness of SOFC installation space can be reduced, so that it will be possible to install it in apartment houses, and usage in small home, where electric power is more important than hot water supply, will be main. [The Fuji Sankei Business Eye May 9, 2009].

4. PEFC Elementary Technologies Development
(1) Furuya Metal Co., Ltd.
@The company has developed electrode catalyst without platinum. In the catalyst ruthenium nano-particles are dispersed in amorphous carbon and by using plasma CVD thin film is formed on plates. By test of a single cell, it is confirmed that the output characteristics are the same as platinum catalysts, and it is also revealed that harmful effect of CO is small. On the plate ruthenium containing organic compounds is decomposed by plasma and ruthenium particles are dispersed in amorphous carbon to form nano-composite film.. The diameter of nano-particles of ruthenium is 2 - 3 nm, and surface area is increased by nano-particle formation, and thus catalytic activity is increased. Furthermore, by optimizing the film formation temperature, the film becomes porous for gas to permeate. Now improvement of performance and mass production technology are studied for sample shipping in the next spring. [The Chemical Daily April 27, 2009]

(2) Nintac Co.
@A company named nintac in Tokyo prefecture developed electro-conductive paste using nano-particles of silver. After painting on base with a brush, it is heated and silver film is formed. Low temperature treatment is possible, and wide range of applicability, such as plastics, and good adhesion are the points. In newly developed silver nano-coat "S180.5" silver particles of 5 nm diameter covered with non-hydrophilic alcohol and silver particles of 5 micron m diameter as cores are suspended in turpentine oil. Because silver particles are covered, they do not coagulate. Covering film is formed in a relatively low temperature range, so that the nano-particles penetrate in fine pores of the base and it brings us good adhesion. Turpentine oil is used to suspend particles, so that it can be applied to various materials, such as low conductivity stainless steel, plastics and glass. The company thinks that it is promising for separators of PEFC, for which high conductivity and plasticity are both required. The company is searching for usages by supplying sample. By using the paste, conductive film can be simply formed on component surface. [The Chemical Daily May 1, 2009]

(3) JASRI and NEC
@Japan Synchrotron Resonance Radiation Institute (JASRI) and Nihon Electric Corp. (NEC) developed a new real time method to observe surface structure change of platinum nano-particles in aqueous solution by using highly intensive X-ray from "Spring-8" in JASRI and combining multiple analytical methods. They have succeeded in elucidating degradation mechanism of platinum catalysts in atomic level. They observed that in oxide film on nano-particle surface, irreversible crystalline structure change occurs accompanying volume expansion, and it leads to degradation due to dissolving. Observing real platinum catalysts, they found that oxidation process on platinum surface proceeds by two step process. Oxygen atom adsorbs on platinum and diffuse into the inside to form platinum oxide layer. While it is epitaxially formed alpha phase and does not change the structure, the oxide is reversibly reduced to platinum and dissolution does not occur. However, when oxidation proceeds and structural change occurs to beta phase with volume expansion, it does not change reversibly to platinum. Thus degradation of platinum catalysts and dissolution are caused by beta phase formation. [The Chemical Daily May 7, 2009 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) May 13, 2009]

(4) Kyushu University, JST etc.
@Kyushu University, Japan Science and Technology Promotion Organization (JST), Institute for Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN), JASRI etc. have succeeded in development of solid electrolyte of very high ion conductivity using silver iodide nano-particles. They mix silver nitrate aqueous solution, sodium iodide aqueous solution and silver ion conducting organic polymer, Polyvinylpolypyrrolidone (PVP) in the room temperature under ambient atmosphere, and then it is dried after filtering. Thus silver iodide particles of 10 - 50 nm size are obtained. The particle size can be changed from 10 nm to 40 nm. By using high intensity X-ray, the transition of 10 nm size particles was observed at 40Ž and this is by 100Ž lower than that of conventional large crystals. Super ion conducting state is kept in the temperature range near the room temperature. Furthermore, when ion conductivity of 10 nm nano-particles was measured under heating and cooling, it was found that the specimen changed to normal state, but the ionic conductivity was observed to be 10 million times higher than conventional silver iodide even at 4Ž. It is expected that this material is used for advanced cells and PEFC. [The Chemical Daily May 18, 2009]

5. Home Use PEFC Business Deployment and "Enefarm" Information
(1) ENEOS Cellteh Co.,Ltd.
@On April 24, 2009 the ENEFARM maker, ENEOS Celltech Co., Ltd. (capital 100 million yen) announced that a new factory was completed in the Tokyo factory of Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. and the mass production was started. The floor area of the new factory is 6,000 m2, and total about 2 billion yen was invested in 2008 and 2009 fiscal years. In this fiscal year 3,000 sets will be assembled annually. In 2010 annually 10,000 sets will be made, and by 2015 fiscal year the production scale will be expanded to about 40,000 sets. [The Jomo Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye April 25, 2009, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Chemical Daily April 27, 2009 and The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) April 30, 2009]

(2) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
@The company started acceptance of purchase reservation of home use FC since May 1, 2009, and lease sale by payment for 10 years was introduced to promote propagation of the products. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 4, 2009] To expand sales of home use PEFC, total 300 persons specific to the sales were distributed at shops of gas appliances in its territory. These persons learned specific knowledge of FC mechanisms etc. and by improving the ability for explaining FC to customers they intend to achieve the targets of 1,500 sets in the initial year and annually over 3,000 sets in further years. In Tokyo, Kanagawa and other town gas supplied areas, 50 gas appliances shops, "Lifepal," are in charge of this at present and these shops are going to increase to 65 in October. Now FC is going to be sold to detached houses. However, since ratio of urban area is large in this company, the ratio of detached houses is small, so that the company intends to sell FC to apartment houses since around 2012. To do this volume reduction by 20 - 30% is trying together with makers, such as Panasonic Corp. and Ebara-Ballard Corp. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) May 11, 2009]

(3) FCA
@On May 7, 2009 FC Propagation and Promotion Association (FCA) announced that the association starts activities to subsidize part of expense to purchase and install home use FC cogeneration systems. From May 22 to October of 2009 it will accept the applications by those who are planning the installation. Moreover the association held meetings to explain the activities at 9 areas all over Japan from May 12 to 22. The objects of the subsidiary are those who are planning to install and use FC systems for home and those who are supplying FC systems by lease. They shall fulfill definite conditions, for instance the power output at rated operation should be 0.5 - 1 kW. The subsidiary is total of the price of the system to be installed minus standard price of a conventional hot water supplier and half of the installation cost. The upper limit is 1.4 million yen. To reduce CO‚Q emission surely, the system shall be used for more than 6 years continuously. [The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction) May 8, 2009, The Tokyo Shimbun, The Chunichi Shimbun, The Shikoku Shimbun, The Hokkaido Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye, The Kahoku Shimpo, The Okinawa Times May 9, 2009, The Denki Shimbun (electricity) May 11, 2009, The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave), The Chugoku Shimbun, The Jutaku Shimpo (house) May 12, 2009 and The Nikkan Kensetsu Kogyo Shimbun (construction) May 15, 2009]

6. FCV Forefront
(1) JHFC
@JHFC announced that it provided FCV for transportation for IOC Evaluation Committee to inspect preparation of inviting Olympic Games in Tokyo. The used cars are one car "FCHV adv" of Toyota Motor Corp., one car of "X TRAIL FCV" of Nissan Motor Corp. and two cars of "FCX Clarity." JHC did this in cooperation with Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Inviting Committee and its secretary-general. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) April 20, 2009]

(2) Fukuoka Prefecture
@On April 21, 2009 Fukuoka Prefecture introduced one FCV car, and it is "FCV adv." [The Nishinihon Shimbun April 21, 2009]

7. Technology Development for Hydrogen Transport and Storage
(1) Kurita Water Industries, Ltd.
@The company has been making research of clathrate compound technology to make liquid ethanol portable and it will further promote the research. Clathrate compound technology is to take guest compound into host compound for solidification, and it is really used as fuel source in batteries of portable electronic equipments. By storing hydrogen in low pressure to improve safety, the technology will be applied to FCV etc. At present hydrogen storage weight density of 1% is achieved at 10 MPa, and the company intends to achieve early to 5%, which is the target for real use. In the case of high-pressure hydrogen the weight storage density is 2% under 35 MPa. [The Chemical Daily April 21, 2009]

(2) Mutsumikosei
@A company named Mutsumikosei in Osaka city started development of valves used in FCV. The targets are light and safe valves endurable in high pressure of 1000 MPa and temperature change. First they intend to develop those for eco-station hopefully in June, and after formulating specification with automobile makers, trial products to be installed in cars will be made one year after. Valves installed in cars have double structure of open-close valve and control valve to prevent explosion of high-pressure hydrogen. Even if leakage happens inside, leakage to outside does not happen. To be endurable to drastic temperature change in hydrogen gas, polyamideimide resin is used for seal in packing. Furthermore, pressure control parts are spherical structure and precisely machined by water jet. The price is estimated 60,000 yen. In valves to be developed in advance for eco-station, air pressure is used instead of motors considering prevention of explosion. They said that the point in development of valves for cars is automobile makers' decision on the hydrogen gas amount charged in cars and the pressure considering the price and safety," and the company begins the development after the decision of the specification. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) May 18, 2009]

8. Technology Development and Business Related with Micro-FC
@On April 24, 2009 a company, Nidec Sankyo Corp. in Suwa town, Nagano prefecture, set forth that they begin component production for small DMFC used in notebook type personal computers and portable phones. It is a small motor of about 1 mm size and used to move valves for controlling methanol flow. The development has been made for two years, but concrete date for beginning production is not clear. The president Mr. Yasukawa said "Many inquiries were accepted early. We expect it as a main business of the company in the future." [The Shinano Mainichi Shimbun April 25, 2009]

9. Development and Business of FC-Related Auxiliary and Material
(1) Oike & Co., Ltd.
@The company developed nano-size scale shape fine powder "Leaf Powder" and begins to sell it. It is expected to use it as electronics materials and in batteries, and usage for paints is also expected. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) April 23, 2009]

(2) Tanaka Seimitsu Kogyo Co., Ltd.
@The company accepted order of motor components installed in next generation cars like HV and FCV from Honda Motor Co., Ltd., and it starts real production. It is a stator to be used in FCX Clarity. [The Kitanihon Shimbun April 26, 2009]

10. Metrological Technology Related with FC and Hydrogen
@Toyo Technica Corp. developed recently a testing apparatus of FC performance and its sale begins in this month. It is testing apparatus for stacks, and the price is 15 million - 30 million yen. Three types of tests can be done with this apparatus. Endurance test is made combining with secondary batteries by repeated charge and discharge, and in load following test by drastic load change, FC response is observed, while impedance test observes degradation in specific points in FC.. They intend to sell 5 sets in the first fiscal year and 20 sets in two years. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) April 23, 2009]

------------ This edition is made up as of May 18, 2009. ---------------