(1) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
@The 5th meeting of "Research group on gas industry in low carbon society" in the ministry was held and intermediate report was completed. The main points are three, i.e., dispersed energy systems, construction of hydrogen society and activities in industry. Advanced utilization of natural gas is clearly described, and also described are needs for demonstration and development of high-efficiency equipment for smart energy network, in which efficient utilization of electric power and heat is intended by using IT technology. In dispersed energy network propagation of cogeneration equipments is pointed out together with smart energy network. In the items of hydrogen society, FC technology is going to be developed as the core technology and endurance improvement and cost reduction of FC are tasks.. Furthermore, collaboration among academic, governmental and industrial sectors is emphasized for demonstration and investigation on safety of hydrogen infrastructure for transporting hydrogen from hydrogen stations through pipe liens. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) June 11, 2009]
@The ministry will support real use of "zero emission coal burning generation" in which COQ emission could be approaching to zero. Combination of FC, gas turbines and steam turbines, i.e., high-efficiency "coal gasification FC combined power generation system" (IGFC) is assumed to be further combined with CCS technology of COQ gas underground storage. The ministry will support development by companies with subsidy. IGFC and CCS are under R&D separately and technology development is accumulated. The ministry intends to promote it together with companies and technology transfer is also intended to overseas. [The Sankei Shimbun June 18, 2009]
@On June 11, 2009 for next generation house infrastructure NEDO decided to subsidize a part of expense to Panasonic Denko Corp. and Sharp Corp. for development of DC systems to be used in living houses and demonstration of their energy saving effect. It would be shown that about 10% or more energy could be saved by developing technology to utilize concurrently both of new low voltage DC distribution and conventional AC distribution. DC power from solar cells and FC is directly used without converting to AC, so that it would be common basic technology. [The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction), The Chemical Daily June 12, 2009 and The Denki Shimbun (electricity) June 16, 2009]
2. Policy by Local Government
@Gifu Prefecture is preparing demonstration in public facilities for next generation energy infrastructure to use power by solar cells, FC etc. in local community. Scheme to use power efficiently with batteries will be adopted, and used energy and COQ reduction effect will be examined. On these results real use in general homes and small-scale commercial facilities are aimed at. Demonstrations are going to be done in prefectural "Flower Festa Memorial Park" and private commercial facility "Kukkura Hirugano." In the latter case a solar cells system of 2.7 kW and 2 sets of 1 kW FC will be installed, and the power will be used for LED, refrigerators and EV, which will be purchased from Mitsubishi Motor Corp., while the heat from FC will be used for melting snow and warming feet. Surplus power will be stored in the batteries for other usages. The expense is estimated to be about 200 million yen and it will be included in supplementary budget for June of 2009. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) June 16, 2009]
3. SOFC Development
@On June 11, 2009 NGK Insulators Ltd. announced that power generation efficiency of 63% (LHV) and fuel utilization efficiency of 90% were achieved with SOFC of 700 W class operated at 800 in its development. The Vice-President, Mr. Kato said "its achievement is in real use level." The thin zirconia electrolyte of 5 micron m thickness covers wholly the fuel electrode, which is the cell support, so that the resistance is decreased. The air electrodes are formed on the both sides of the fuel electrodes to increase generating electrode area for increasing the output. Space is formed in the cell for supplying fuel gas and it is designed to distribute fuel gas uniformly. The cell is card-like shape and the size is 10 cm long, 5.5 cm wide and 1.5 mm thick. The stack is assembled with several tens cells. This new generating devices will be supplied to domestic major oil companies for performance test and real use is anticipated in 2012 - 2013. The demand for convenience stores and shopping centers is assumed. [The Asahi Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (econmy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Tokyo Shimbun, The Chunichi Shimbun and The Chemical Daily June 12, 2009 and The Chugoku Shimbun June 13, 2009]
4. Business of Home Use PEFC "Enefarm"
(1) Iwasaki International Corp.
@On May 18, 2009 the company announced that it would start full sale of LP gas specification type Enefarm since July. In cooperation with Sekisui House Corp.. they estimate 200 sets sales in 2009 fiscal year. In addition to subsidy by the government, the company introduces their own subsidy system for sales promotion, and it is several hundred thousands yen per one set. A staff of a subsidiary LP gas dealer of the company will go to homes, to which introduction of Enefarm is decided or under consideration, together with a staff of Sekisui House, Ltd. They are going to make proposition, sales, installation and maintenance. The company installed 3 sets for test in demonstration since 2005 fiscal year, and education and training of personnel have been made. Thus the company has been establishing system for sales, installation and maintenance. The target of the company is over 1,000 sets in 2011 fiscal year. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Fuji Sankei Business Eye and The Chemical Daily May 19, 2009]
(2) Shizuoka Gas Co., Ltd.
@On May 26, 2009 the company announced that sales of Enefarm would be started from July 1, 2009, and FC is made by Panassonic Corp. The target is 50 sets in 2009 fiscal year. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) May 28, 2009 and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) June 1, 2009]
(3) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
@Since May 1. 2009 when the company began to accept purchase reservation, the number of reservation amounts to about 300 mainly to newly built houses, while reservations for already built houses are several tens, and how to expand this market is a future task. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) May 28, 2009]
@The company started system development to fully realize potential capability of solar photovoltaic generation. In solar photovoltaic generation when generated power by solar cells becomes over the consumption and large amount of surplus power is supplied to electric grid, voltage in the distribution lines increases and the surplus power becomes unable to accept. In the system to be developed by the company, the voltage can be controlled keeping generation with an inverter used in home use FC. The company said "Synergy effect can be expected between solar photovoltaic generation and FC in an area where large-scale solar photovoltaic generation is installed." The company intends to develop the system in cooperation with related companies and real use within 5 - 10 years is anticipated. [The Fuji Sankei Business Eye June 17, 2009]
(4) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
@On May 29, 2009 the company described its policy to promote sales of double power generation equipments to general homes. The double generation equipments are made by combination of cogeneration systems using town gas and solar photovoltaic generation. Furthermore, cogeneration systems using FC, "Enefarm" are going to be sold since June 1, 2009. [The Yomiuri Shimbun May 30, 2009 and The Mainichi Shimbun May 31, 2009]
(5) Hokkaido Gas Co., Ltd.
@The company was planning test sales of "Enefarm" but it postpones the sales, because Ebara Corp., which was making FC, withdraws from this business. Sales start will be postponed after the next year. [The Hokkaido Shimbun May 30, 2009]
(6) Nippon Oil Corp.
@Since this fall the company will expand home use FC sales. In addition to its subsidiaries and major gas companies, the company is going to supply to about 10 other local gas companies, such as Okayama Gas Co., Ltd. and Fukuyama Gas Co., Ltd. It will also supply FC to residential house makers etc. The sales target in 2009 fiscal year is increased by 25% larger than conventional plan, and it is 2.500 sets. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 30, 2009 and The Fuji Sankei Business Eye June 6, 2009]
@The company will begin to sell home use FC for commercially available kerosene. Since 2006 the company has been making demonstration using specific kerosene of 0 sulfur content, but the company concluded that kerosene of wider usage, i.e., commercial kerosene of 10 ppm sulfur content has advantages, and the company fully switched to this. The company has developed a new catalyst, which can remove sulfur by adsorption, and the company has succeeded in size reduction to the same size as FC using gas. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun June 1, 2009]
@The company announced reorganization of ENEOS Celltech Co., Ltd. R&D and some divisions other than production will be concentrated at the stronghold in Yokohama. Development Center of ENEOS Celltech Co., Ltd. will be open in Yokohama Work, where trial production, demonstration, maintenance etc. are done. Furthermore, elementary researches are unified in central technology research center, and production is made at a factory in Gumma prefecture. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Chemical Daily June 8, 2009]
(7) Saibu Gas Co., Ltd.
@Since June 1, 2009 the company started Enefarm sales, while solar photovoltaic power generation systems were also begun to sell. The company also makes proposition of combined double generation searching for eco-friendly and economic generation. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) June 2, 2009]
(8) Ebara Corp.
@On May 25, 2009 Ebara Corp. announced that it withdraws from home use PEFC business. In restructuring business bases, the company concluded that further investment is difficult for mass production and cost reduction before real sales in market of Enefarm. Negotiation will be made with the business partner, Ballard Power Systems Corp. and the joint venture, Ebara Ballard Corp. will be disbanded. Ebara Ballard Corp. was established in 1998, and it supplied total 400 sets of PEFC to gas companies since 2005. However, the business changed drastically to bad, so that they abandoned continuing the business. On May 25, 2009 Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and Toho Gas Co., Ltd. announced that they stopped sales of Enefarm, which was made by Ebara Ballard Corp. and begun to sell since this month. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Chunichi Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye, The Chemical Daily, The Kahoku Shimpo May 26, 2009 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) June 2, 2009]
5. Forefront of FCV, Hydrogen REV and Transport Machines
(1) Mazda Motor Co., Ltd.
@On May 26, 2009 the company delivered "Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid," on which a hydrogen rotary engine (RE) and a hybrid system are installed, and it is delivered to Iwatani International Corp. In March the company decided lease sale to a local government and this is the first delivery. In the car hydrogen RE generates electric power and it drives motors. Either gasoline or hydrogen can be used in this RE, and series type hybrid system is installed. The range by hydrogen is 200 km. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun May 27, 2009]
@JHFC project is carried out, assuming real propagation of FCV to general users from 2015 fiscal year. Since this fiscal year it became a subsidiary activity by NEDO, and it will be done by Japan Automobile Research Institute, Japan Engineering Promotion Association, Petroleum Energy Center and Japan Gas Association. The demonstration till now is that for technology examination, and since now demonstration in real society is intended for real use assuming initial propagation in 2015 fiscal year. Thus, in 2 years from 2009 fiscal year, the following points will be examined; proposition of business models in infrastructure for real use, coordination between vehicles and infrastructure, and review of safety test and regulation. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) May 28, 2009]
(3) Suzuki Motor Co., Ltd.
@Mr. Suzuki, the chairman of the company, declared the policy of the company that it will keep cooperation with GM in development of FCV, HV etc. [The Yomiuri Shimbun June 2, 2009 and The Chunichi Shimbun June 3, 2009]
(4) Taiyo Plating Co., Ltd.
@The above company in Nagoya city succeeded in development of new electroplating technology, by which uniform electroplating of 2 - 4 micron m thickness on deep press machined metallic plate without auxiliary electrodes. The company intends to apply it to ethanol FCV components. When bio-ethanol is used, corrosion of metallic parts proceeds easily. This technology is expected to prevent parts from rust formation. [The Tekko Shimbun (iron and steel) June 3, 2009]
(5) Japan Ship Technology Research Association
@Since 2009 fiscal year this association started a project for investigating ship transport of hydrogen FCV. At present hydrogen FCV is transported in a container after extracting hydrogen. In order to early realize transportation by PCC (ship specified to automobile transport), the association intends to extend it to formulation of safety standards hopefully by Japanese leadership. In May of 2009 steering committee was established, consisting of ship-owners, ship-building companies, automobile makers and experts, and the investigation was started. [The Nihon Kaiji Shimbun (maritime) June 4, 2009]
6. Business Related with Hydrogen Stations
@JHFC made up its activities plan in 2009 fiscal year, and the main activity is examination of hydrogen stations attached to gas stands. At 4 hydrogen stations in the metropolitan area demonstration of supplying hydrogen to 70MPa hydrogen cylinders installed on FCV is also planned. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) May 29, 2009]
(2) Iwatani International Corp.
@The above company declared its policy that the company makes simplified hydrogen stations to be attached to gas stands and commercial facilities for real use, in order to increase hydrogen stations by reducing initial cost. By reducing stored hydrogen amount and charging pressure, the cost would be reduced. For propagation of FCV, conventional facilities of short charging time as gas stands would be combined with attached hydrogen facilities of low cost, and thus hydrogen infrastructure would be constructed. Concrete concepts are several ten million yen for facility except purchase of land and several times of charging per days. Stored amount of hydrogen would be reduced and the charging pressure is also decreased below 35 - 70 MPa. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun June 1, 2009]
(3) Toho Gas Co., Ltd.
@Toho Gas Co., Ltd. constructs a hydrogen station of 70 MPa at its general technology research institute in Tokai city, and start of operation is thought to be in early 2010. Those assumed to use the station are 4 cars, which were sold by lease or supplied by Toyota Motor Corp. to Nagoya city, Toho Gas Co., Ltd. etc. Toho Gas Co., Ltd. stated "They intend to accumulate know-how, because hydrogen station business is in sight." [The Chunichi Shimbun June 4, 2009]
7. Technology Development of Hydrogen Production and Purification
(1) Tokyo University of Science
@Prof. Okawa and his group in Tokyo University of Science developed technology of producing hydrogen with high efficiency by illuminating nitride semiconductors of photo-catalytic activity. On surface of gallium nitride, one of blue light emitting diode (LED), nickel oxide cylinders of several ten micro m diameter are made by chemical reaction. A specimen of 1 cm square is connected with platinum electrode with metallic wire, and it is immersed into water. When it is illuminated with xenon lamp, about 1.5 mL hydrogen is formed for 3 hours. Thermal energy of this amount of hydrogen is equivalent to 1.3% of illuminated light. This is two times larger than conventional efficiency. On the other hand, it is said that the efficiency is 6 - 8%, when electric energy from solar cells is used to water electrolysis to produce hydrogen. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) May 26, 2009]
(2) Hiroshima University
@Prof. Nishio et al in Hiroshima University succeeded in high-efficiency continuous production of hydrogen and ethanol from wasted by-product glycerin, which is formed in process producing bio-diesel oil (BDF) by methylester method. Hydrogen is pure enough, so that it can be used in FC without further purification. Methanol is theoretically the same amount as exhausted glycerin. BDF is used as bio-fuel, but large amount of exhausted by-product glycerin is hard to be treated, and this point is a task to propagate BDF. Microbe is used for this treatment. It is tolerant to exhausted glycerin and other wastes. It was confirmed that stable culture is possible and it has advantage in cost. Using 1,000 L oils of colza, sunflower etc., 930 L BDF and 200 L exhausted glycerin are assumed to be obtained, so that 145 Nm3 hydrogen and 48 L ethanol are obtained. Exhausted glycerin, which can be treated, is low concentration (100 g/L) and obtained ethanol concentration is also low (about 3%). [The Chemical Daily May 28, 2009]
(3) Play Heart Co., Ltd.
@In cooperation with Prof. Hirao of Engineering Department of Kyoto University, this company in Yao city developed hydrogen producing reagent, whose main material is natural ore of zeolyte. The reagent of 100 g is put in a glass vessel and when water of 90 kg is poured into the vessel, 22.4 L hydrogen is formed, hey claimed. The reagent is made from zeolyte and activated carbon, which is specially treated. When water is removed perfectly, hydrogen purity is 99.8%. They are examining this hydrogen to use as fuel for FC without further purification. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) June 10, 2009]
8. Technology Development of Hydrogen Transport and Storage
@At monthly held research meeting sponsored by The Institute of Applied Energy, Mr. Watanabe a chief research staff reported his study on economic feasibility of a scheme that by using power obtained by wind mill generation in overseas, hydrogen is produced by water electrolysis and imported in the form of liquid to supply it to power generation and FCV. Assuming Patagonia in Argentina as wind-mill site, two cases were examined. In the first case electric power needed for a hydrogen producing equipment by water electrolysis and a liquefaction equipment is the same as that at present. In the second case the power for the liquefaction can be decreased in the future. The prices of hydrogen estimated are 36.6 yen /m3 in the first present case and 31.2 yen / m3 in the second future case. The average prices of power at wind mill generation are 23.7 yen/kWh in the present case and 20.8 yen/kWh in the future case. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) June 4, 2009]
9. Development and Business of Detecting and Metrological Apparatuses Related with Hydrogen and FC
(1) Murakami Giken Co., Ltd.
@On June 1, 2009 the company in Osaka city started sale of two hydrogen detecting apparatuses for FC industry. The first apparatus detects hydrogen with that of anti-pressure and anti explosion specification ("BGS-3WW"), and the other detects flame and hydrogen gas ("FLGA-10K"). The former detects deviation in hydrogen concentration, when it becomes by 25% deviates from the set level in a detection area, and the price is 367,500 yen. The latter detects both of flame and hydrogen gas, when it becomes more than 8,000 ppm, and the price is 241,500 yen. The assumed applications are FC production lines, hydrogen stations etc. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and Technology) May 29, 2009]
@The company invented a new method for measuring thickness of transparent film coated on plastics etc. with inaccuracy of minimum 1 nm, and technology to measure carbon thickness on electrode is now in sight. It begins to explore demands in lithium ion batteries manufacturers and FC related makers. The method the company invented is an application of color measuring technology by refractory index measurement, and color change by light interference in coated film is measured. The new apparatus is in a series of "comes series" and software for measuring film thickness is installed in conventional ones. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) June 10, 2009]
10. Business Deployment by Companies
(1) Atago Manufacturing Co., Ltd.
@The company in Gumma prefecture established a method for soldering stainless steel in a vacuum furnace on base of its technology for heat exchangers, and they are going to get order of machining for heat exchangers of PEFC. Sample supply to some makers was started already.. With condensation heat exchangers pure water and exhausted heat are recovered from humid high temperature gas in reformers and cell stacks. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) May 20, 2009]
(2) Organo Corp.
@The company, one of major companies in water treatment, is going to begin sample shipment of water treatment equipments of minimum size in this industry for home use PEFC since this summer. This small size was achieved by decreasing ion exchange resin for water filtration. Real use comes in sight by continuous test over 10,000 hours. It is a cylinder of 7 cm in diameter and 8 cm in height, and the price is around 20,000 yen. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 25, 2009]
(3) Anaori Carbon Co., Ltd.
@The company in Osaka prefecture is going to expand sales of carbon and graphite. The company is going to sell its carbon products for separators and electrodes of PEFC and carbon fibers for wind-mill power generator blades. A new factory was built in Takatsuki, and the production capacity becomes twice, while high-efficiency production can be made. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) June 3, 2009]
(4) Daiki Ataka Engineering Co.,Ltd.
@On June 8, 2009 the company announced that it received order of hydrogen production equipments by water electrolysis of solid polyelectrolyte type for meteorological observation balloon from weather bureau. The price is 270 million yen. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) June 9, 2009]
------------ This edition is made up as of June 18, 2009. ---------------