(1) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
@The ministry starts a technology development program "Coal Gen Project" for real use of high performance coal thermal generation. In this project zero emission coal thermal generation will be demonstrated by combination of CCS (carbon dioxide Capture and Storage) with IGFC(coal gasification FC) and IGCC (coal gasification combined cycle). These will be done in collaboration of the government with companies. At present electrical power companies are carrying out business feasibility study, and subsidies would be given to strongholds. The budget of about 100 billion yen for 10 years is estimated, and it will be presented to the next fiscal year budget draft. On June 17, 2009 the above policies were shown in a report of clean coal division of the investigation committee in Agency of Natural Resources and Energy. Ultra super critical (USC) thermal gas turbine power generation has been really used in coal thermal generation in this country, and power generation efficiency is over 40%. It is anticipated that by real use of IGCC this will be increased over 43% by 2020 and in 40's it would be over 65% by IGFC. [The Chemical Daily June 19, 2009]
(2) METI Kinki Branch
@On June 17, 2009 the branch selected "100 active companies in manufacturing in Kinki area." It is to pick up small and medium size firms actively making products with specific features of innovative technology, local production traditions, designs etc. AQATECH Co. was selected because of its world smallest tube pump for FC. [The Nihon Shoken Shimbun (securities) June 19, 2009]
(3) Ministry of General Affairs
@The ministry completed review on propagation of low-emission cars on June 17, 2009. The goal of the government was 50,000 FCV by 2010 fiscal year, but really 42 cars are possessed in 2007 fiscal year. The ministry recommended review of goal and policies for propagation to 4 ministries including METI. The government declared the goal of 50,000 in action plan of low-emission car propagation and budget of about 19.7 billion yen was used for 4 years from 2004 fiscal year. [The Mainichi Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Hokkaido Shimbun, The Nikkkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) June 26, 2009, The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Tokyo Shimbun June 27, 2009 and The Chemical Daily June 29, 2009]
@NEDO has been making advanced basic research activity for hydrogen storage materials, and it begins organization of collaborative research between research institutes having experimental and analytical technologies of hydrogen storage materials and companies using them. For this purpose NEDO is receiving applications from companies. In this collaborative research, an undertaker, such as National Research Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, makes research with companies as partners. Thus the experimental and analytical technologies are made improved along with companies' practical needs, and it aims at acceleration of development of hydrogen storage materials. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) June 22, 2009]
2. Policy by Local Government
@Osaka Prefecture is going to decide "Osaka Eco-car Promoted Propagation Vision" by December. As an environmentally leading city, targets of introduction to local governments, public transportation and companies are shown, while preference, such as reduction of car tax and discount of parking fee, will be described together with installation of charging facilities. The budgets will be included since 2010 fiscal year, and to give obligation to the vision, measures and/or achievement program will be examined. The eco-cars in this vision are 8 varieties; namely, EV, FCV, hydrogen engine cars, green diesel engine cars, CNG cars, HV, PHV and low fuel consumption car of long range. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) July 6, 2009]
3. PAFC Power Generation Business
@The first qualification of facilities of bio-mass green power generation was presented to Kumamoto North Sewage Disposal Center, consisting of PAFC 400 kW (100 kW X 4 sets) using digestive gas from sewage. (bio-gas power generation). Kyudenko Co., Ltd. has been measuring green power. The first certificate for the first quarter of 2009 fiscal year will be issued in August. Kumamoto prefecture has been receiving applies to the qualification as the first case in Japan, and the company was recognized as those which can issue certificates of electric power generation, and it is the first as a local government. Green power certificate activity contract was made in February. Afterward it was applied to Green Energy Qualification Committee (Chuo Ward, Tokyo), and facility qualification was approved by Power Generation Qualification Committee. The certificate will be fully used in the prefecture, and about 80% will be used by business strongholds of the company. [The Kensetu Tsushin Shimbun (construction) June 30, 2009]
4. SOFC Development
@Japan Fine Ceramics Center (JFCC) developed excellent gas seal material for SOFC, which is composite made of silica precursor particles and silicate glass precursor particles, and it is superior in hest cycle endurance under heating and cooling cycles. When it is heated at the heating rate of more than 20/s, it still retains good gas seal and gas leakage is not observed. The material is highly flexible sheet and melted at about 800oC. Under 500 times heat cycles between 800 and 400 leakage was not found. Optimizing ratio of the two particles and melting conditions, JFCC succeeded in retaining gas seal characteristics under quick temperature increases. JFCC is going to further development and real use for highly stacked SOFC endurable under quick start up. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) July 2, 2009]
5. PEFC Elementary Technologies Development
(1) National Institute for Materials Science
@The above institute and Japan Science and Technology Agency developed technology to make about twice increase of platinum particle surface of 20 nm size usually used as catalysts. The developed catalysts are particles with projections of several nm size on the surface to increase it. When ascorbic acid is added into solution of platinum and surface active agent, platinum is formed but it is not formed on the platinum particle surface with the surface active agent. Platinum is formed only on the surface without the surface active agent. After 10 minutes about 20 projections of 2 - 3 nm size are formed on a platinum particle of 20 nm in diameter. Thus surface area of the platinum becomes 55 m2 per 1 g. and it is 2 times larger than conventional ones. They intend to real use as catalysts for FC and exhausted gas cleanup. [The Asahi Shimbun June 24, 2009 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) June 25, 2009]
(2) Tokyo Institute of Technology
@Prof. Yamaguchi and his group in the above institute developed membrane of long endurance, in which hydrogen ion permeates even in low humidity. Electrolyte material is impregnated into polyimide film with nm size pores. Hydrogen and oxygen do not permeate the membrane, but hydrogen ion does. Zirconia particles are winded with polyelectrolyte and it is inserted into polyimide film at every 20 - 100 nm interval. For conventional membrane humidity should be controlled up to 90%, but in this membrane hydrogen ion can permeate even at 50 - 90% humidity. The pores are filled, so that water cannot go in. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (bjsiness and technology) July 6, 2009]
(3) Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd.
@The company established separator technology, by which inexpensive separators can be made using stainless steel foil at price for propagation. The press molding cost per sheet (about 100cm2) is made cheap, namely down to 100 - 150 yen. The material cost of stainless steel and the total cost including sealing can be reduced to several hundreds yen The sizes of trial products are 7 cm wide and 14 cm long. The press molding can be done successively, and the production rate can be made 60 sheets/min. The mold can also be used 150,000 times without maintenance. Thus the cost related with molding has been reduced below 100 yen/sheet, including the initial cost, the maintenance cost and the operating cost. The test products have already been shipped to FC makers. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) July 17, 2009]
(4) National Research Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
@The above institute has been carrying out development of new electrode catalysts of high CO endurance., and it has succeeded in preparation of carbon fine powder catalyst with noble metal molecular sieve. .The structure has been analyzed and hydrogen adsorption is also evaluated. Molecular sieve of nano-carbon with micro-pores of 0.2 - 0.35 nm was used. They are aiming to make innovative catalysts in which CO does not adsorb on active platinum and they have excellent CO endurance. In 2008 fiscal year they prepared catalysts in which about 12 nm noble metal fine powder is dispersed in micro-fine carbon molecular sieve. By structure analysis and hydrogen adsorption evaluation, it was demonstrated that hydrogen adsorption does not decrease even in 400 ppm CO concentration. Hereafter, change of CO endurance is going to be tested and evaluated. Furthermore, they intend to establish catalyst technology for catalyst, which shows the same activities even in 500 ppm CO concentration as conventional ones. [The Chemical Daily July 16, 2009]
6. Business and Elementary Technologies Development of Home Use Enefarm
(1) Yamanashi University
@On June 26, 2009 Nano-Materials Research Institute of the university announced that it developed high performance catalyst for Enefarm reformer. With the new catalyst residual CO can almost perfectly be removed. Moreover, the manufacturing cost of the fuel reformer can be reduced by 20%, and the size of the reformer is decreased to 2/3. The newly developed catalyst for CO selective methane formation is made as follows; amorphous nickel aluminate of high surface ratio was made by unique technique and on its surface nickel nano-particles were deposited. The nickel nano-particles have high CO removing characteristics and side reactions are hard to occur. By this nickel deposition low temperature characteristics are also improved. With this catalyst over 99.9% CO was removed even in high CO concentration of 0.6 - 1.0%. By effect of added ruthenium high temperature characteristics are also improved, so that temperature range for using catalyst became wide, 200 - 300oC. Thus the reformer can be operated in stable state. Because CO is converted to methane using hydrogen, air for selective oxidation became unnecessary. Thus the structure of the reformer became simple. Metal honeycomb structure of high thermal conductivity is used for catalyst materials so that used catalyst reduced to 1/5. [The Fuji Sankei Business Eye June 27, 2009, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Chemical Daily June 29, 2009 and The Denki Shimbun (electricity) June 30, 2009]
(2) ENEOS Celltec Corp.
@NEOS Celltec Corp., a joint venture invested by Nippon Oil Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd., shipped its first product of home use PEFC "Enefarm" on July 1, 2009. By the end of June it accepted orders of 1500 sets. The beginning is favorable. [The Asahi Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Jomo Shimbun and The Chemical Daily July2, 2009]
(3) Aqurahome Corp.
@On July 4, 2009 the company starts to accept orders of a house with PEFC "Enefarms" to be built in the gas supply territories by Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. The total floor area of the house is 125.76 m2 and the price is 14.6 million yen. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) July 2, 2009, The Jutaku Shimpo (house) July 7, 2009 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) July 9, 2009]
(4) Astomos Energy Corp.
@On July 1, 2009 the above company begins to sell "Enefarm" produced by Toshiba FC Systems Corp. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) July 2, 2009]
(5) Hinomarusangyo Co.
@The company in Tottori prefecture begins to make "So Ene Business" (Energy Creation Business) in which eco-friendly clean energy would be fully used in a house. The company intends to sell "Enefarm" and solar photovoltaic systems in this year. [The Nihonkai Shimbun July 1, 2009]
7. Forefront of FCV and hydrogen RE cars
(1) Toyota Motor Corp.
@On June 23, 2009 the company set forth its policy that it is going to sale of a new model of FCV, which would be improved largely in performance and endurance by 2015 as a target. Furthermore, the cost would be largely reduced by system downsizing for FCV, and it is to be raised to a next eco-friendly cars following HEV and EV. [The Asahi Shimbun June 4, 2009]
(2) Hydrogen Highway Concept
@"Hydrogen Highway Concept" by Fukuoka Prefecture was selected as a subsidiary activity by NEDO. In this concept, FCV and hydrogen cars will run repeatedly between Fukuoka and Kitakyushu. NEDO is making "Demonstration Project of Hydrogen and FC" in Metropolitan area, Kansai area and Chubu area. According to the program, 12 hydrogen stations are going to be constructed and total 60 FCV will be used. It is the first that a subsidiary object was selected in Kyushu. The budget of the subsidy is 20 million yen annually, and this is in a series of "Fukuoka Hydrogen Strategy." Real operation will be started in September. [The Nishinihon Shimbun (June 4, 2009 and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) July 10, 2009)]
(3) Mazda Motor Corp.
@The company set forth new policy that hydrogen rotary engine (RE) cars will combined with bio-mass fuel technology. It will make solutions for tasks such as clean up of exhausted gas, start up performance etc., and COQ exhaustion will be minimized. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) July 8, 2009]
@On July 15, 2009 the company announced automobile running test program together with Hiroshima University and Chugoku Branch of Ministry of Economy. Trade and Industry. In the program cars will be running between Osaka and Kitakyushu (about 540 km) using hydrogen produced from chemical plants located in Setouchi area between the two cities. Hydrogen produced at factories on the route during producing soap, other materials etc. is made full use. In the test 2 "Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid" of Mazda Motor Corp. and 1 "FCHV adv" of Toyota Motor Corp. will be used. They re going to start Sakai city on July 27, 2009, and hydrogen is supplied at a factory in Shunan city etc. At Kitakyushu city they will arrive on July 30, 2009. [The Nishinihon Shimbun July 15, 2009 and Fuji Sankei Business Eye July 16, 2009]
8. Hydrogen Station Business
(1) Engineering Advancement Association of Japan
@The association is going to make demonstration for construction of hydrogen supply infrastructure, and the location for it was decided to be Nikko city. In July a hydrogen station will be built. At this new station hydrogen is charged at higher pressure than previous ones. The charging amount of hydrogen increases, so that the range would also be increased twice. [The Shimotsuke Shimbun June 30, 2009]
(2) Collaborative Development by 8 Companies
@The following 8 companies are going to make collaborative development of necessary facilities for FCV hydrogen stations. The companies are 5 major oil companies (Nippon Oil Corp., Showa Shell Oil Co., Ltd., Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd., Cosmo Oil Co., Ltd., and Japan Energy) and 3 major gas companies (Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. and Toho Gas Co., Ltd.) Participation will also be solicited to automobile makers carrying out FCV development. Thus business deployment of hydrogen supply is aimed at by 2015. They intend that standard and system for gas stations and transportation .should be common. [The Yomiuri Shimbun July 3, 2009]
9. Technology Development of Hydrogen Production and Purification
(1) Hokuriku Green Energy System Society
@The research group was organized by cooperation of governmental, academic and industrial sectors as well as non-profitable citizens' organizations. The group is carrying out technology research to produce hydrogen from high-purity aluminum recovered from waste. The group is planning to make running demonstration of a passenger car, in which FC is used as a part of power. They said "We intend to get results by 2011." [The Hokkoku Shimbun and The Toyama Shimbun July 3, 2009]
(2) Hiroshima University
@An Associate Prof. Nakajima of Hiroshima University developed technology to produce hydrogen and ethanol from wasted oil in bio-diesel fuel (BDF) producing process. Bacteria producing hydrogen were separated from methane fermentation microbes, which produce methane gas from sewage etc. These bacteria were cultivated to form mutants and they succeeded in obtaining bacteria for producing hydrogen and ethanol by decomposing BDF glycerol. The bacteria was named "Enterobacter aerogenes HZU101". In exhausted liquid containing glycerol, amino acid etc. were added for promoting reaction, and then hydrogen and ethanol were formed. BDF 930 L was produced from plant oil 1000 L, and exhausted liquid containing glycerol 200 L was formed. By applying the present technology, hydrogen 145 m3 (0 and 1 atmosphere) and ethanol 48 L were formed. In general exhausted liquid was burnt in conventional process, but more efficient use becomes possible by the present technology. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) July 3, 2009]
10. Technology Development of Hydrogen Transport and Storage
(1) Kurimoto Ltd. and Ryukoku University
@In collaboration, the above two have developed technology to decrease hydrogen releasing temperature by 80 to 220 in magnesium base hydrogen storage alloy. By using a planets ball mill, a unique one by Kurimoto Works, shocks of 150 G (acceleration of gravity) were added to magnesium hydride and alumina to form hydrogen absorption alloy of fine structure. In fine alloy formation with the mill, it takes 3 - 12 hours, but by large mechanical energy loaded in the new process and addition of alumina to promote crashing, the treating time was reduced to 10 min. In the new alloy structure, alumina is several hundreds nm in diameter and magnesium hydride is 10 nm in diameter. Nm level fine particles formation seems to decrease the temperature. Detailed mechanism will be investigated in the future. Nm size fine particle formation seems to activate the particle surface and thus to change the activation energy. The hydrogen absorption capacity of magnesium alloy is about 7% of the alloy mass, and it is larger than that of lanthanum - nickel alloy (about 1.3%). Hereafter, the temperature is tried to decrease by adding catalyst to about 150 and they anticipate real use in 2012 fiscal year. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) July 1, 2009 and The Tekko Sjimbun (iron and steel) July 16, 2009]
(2) FuseTechnoNet Co. and Nagaoka University of Technology
@In cooperation the company in Tokyo prefecture and the institute are going to develop new hydrogen storage materials, which can store and release hydrogen efficiently, using carbon from chaff. The development will be made by March of 2010. Active carbon of micro-fine pores is made in large amount from rice chaff. Silica surface on the chaff carbon is dissolved in alkaline solution, so that micro-pores inside the carbon appear on the surface. Thus the surface area of this carbon is more than 2000 m2 per 1 g of carbon, and it is the optimized structure for storing and releasing hydrogen in large amount. For FCV 10,000 L of hydrogen should be stored. Using this new carbon, about 30 kg carbon can store this amount of hydrogen. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun July 9, 2009]
11. Development and Business of Micro-FC
@Sanyo Special Steel Co., Ltd. is carrying out development with Hokkaido University in cooperation, and the company is hastening the development. The technology under development is to increase the output by changing structure of separators in small DMFC for portable equipments etc. The company is now shipping samples to makers. It is based on technology developed by cooperation with Hokkaido University in September of 2007. For channels on separators sponge-like porous metallic material is used, so that oxygen etc. flow uniformly, and thus the maximum output increases by 30 - 40% compared with conventional ones. In the newly developed separators spherical stainless steel materials are sintered and used. Thus choke of water, COQ
etc., un desirable by-product for generation, is hard to happen and the efficiency is increased By tests the output density of 134 mW per 1 cm2 of separator was recorded. Thus it increases three times compared with conventional ones and it is over the target by NEDO. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) June 23, 2009]
12. Metrological Development and Business Related with FC and Hydrogen
@In collaboration with Prof. Kubo and his group of Okayama University, Kuramoto Co. in Kurihara city developed organic transistors using pithene (hydrocarbon). The mobility in world highest level (5cm2/V/s) is one of features. The company developed gas sensors together with Ideal Star, a firm for R&D in Sendai city. It was confirmed that pithene works in the room temperature, and it is possible with a sensor to measure concentration of hydrogen simultaneously with temperature and oxygen concentration.. A trial chip is small and 2.5 cm square, and it can be assembled in electronics board. The superior points are small, light, low voltage and energy saving. The company is looking for applications to FCV, gas alarms etc. [The Kahoku Shimpo July 1, 2009]
13. Companies' Business Deployment Related with FC and Hydrogen
(1) RKC Instrument Ltd.
@Rika Industrial Co., Ltd. in Yao city is going to construct a new factory for surface treatment in a site adjacent to the headquarter office by this September. The company intends that the new factory would be the stronghold in surface treatment of high profit. It will deal with catalysts for reformers producing hydrogen from town gas. It is coated with ceramic on metallic net components. Both manual lines and automatic lines are planned to install. Sintering after coating is done at high temperature over 1,000. The company intends to do it by collaboration with other companies. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) June 26, 2009]
(2) Iwatani International Corp.
@On July 7, 2009 the company announced that it begins to operate a liquid hydrogen production plant in a factory of a related company located in Ichihara city of Chiba prefecture. This is the second production stronghold following the first one in Sakai city. The second one has half capacity compared with the first one, but it is considered as the stronghold in east Japan area. [The Mainichi Shimbun July 8, 2009 and The Chiba Nippo July 9, 2009]
------------ This edition is made up as of July 16, 2009. ---------------