@The 2010 fiscal year budget draft was presented by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Oct. 15, 2009. The total budget is 1,457.1 billion yen, which is by 0.1% decrease compared with the initial 2009 budget, and the special account for energy is 703.2 bullion yen. Its main items are as follows; subsidiary for solar panels introduction to residences 41.2 billion yen, research and demonstration related with optimum batteries technology in combination with solar panel electric generation, EV etc 6.4 billion yen, a project for realization of low carbon society 1.6 billion yen, promotion of international standardization of smart grids 1.4 billion yen, technology development of next generation solar photovoltaic high-efficiency systems 4.4 billion yen, technology development for promoting real use of PEFC 5.1 billion yen and support of CSS demonstration 5.9 billion yen. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Chemical Daily Oct. 16, 2009]
2. Policies by Local Governments
(1) Saga Prefecture
@Demonstration of constructing systems for running FCV etc. in comunities will be done in Saga prefecture. Nine organizations, including companies, local governments, research institutes etc., joined, and they will try to make low-cost hydrogen energy from wood bio-mass from forestry and solar photovoltaic generation. It was selected as one of demonstration activities for constructing hydrogen society systems by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. [Saga Shimbun Oct. 8, 2009]
(2) Fukuoka Hydrogen Energy Strategy Congress
@Fukuoka Hydrogen Energy Strategy Congress was organized by leadership of the Prefecture from academic, governmental and private sectors (Hy-Life project), and it is going to carry out a demonstration in "Kitakyushu Hydrogen Town" in a series of social hydrogen demonstration of hydrogen energy. In the demonstration hydrogen pipe line of 3 km will be newly constructed and FC will be installed and operated in houses, shops and public facilities; The activity will be done in 2010 - 2013 fiscal year. The Congress will undertake a demonstration for constructing hydrogen society systems by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and it will be carried out by Research Consortium for Hydrogen Supply and Usage consisting of 13 companies. [The Chemical Daily Oct. 15, 2009]
3. Development and Business of PAFC
@Fuji Electric Systems Corp. gets fully selling PAFC systems and on Oct. 1, 2009 it is going to start sale of 100 kW systems "FP-1001" which can be connected with other multiple systems. The FC package, the water treatment equipment, the nitrogen supplying equipment, the exhausted heat equipment and the others are all unified, so that the space for installation is reduced from 75 m2 to 40 m2. The piping and wiring are simplified, and the installation cost decreases to 1/10 or less. The efficiency at generation is 48% at the maximum, and the COQ reducing effect is estimated to be 805 ton annually, while it can be set outside in cold climate area, since the system can cope to -20. At disaster fuel can be changed by switching town gas to LPG. Hydrogen and methane exhausted from a factory can be used. The sale target is annually 20 sets, which is the same number as real number of sales for this 10 years. The production system for the annual sales of 20 sets was completed in April 0f 2009 at Chiba factory. They have a plan of production of 50 sets after 3 years and annual 100 sets in the future. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Sept. 28, 2009]
4. Development of SOFC and its Usage
(1) Tokyo Institute of Technology and Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
@On Sept. 29, 2009 Tokyo Institute of Technology and Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. announced that they succeeded in production of pure hydrogen from town gas by using exhausted heat from SOFC. A system was made for simultaneous production of electric power together with heat and hydrogen to increase the heat utilization, and exhausted heat in operation is used for hydrogen production from town gas,. The system is consisted of two SOFC of 4.5 kW output and a reformer using exhausted heat. It was demonstrated that the system can produce hydrogen at the rate of 6.6 L/min. Keeping high electric efficiency, optimum operation was done to make full use of exhausted heat. In commercialized PEFC the operation temperature is low at 80, so that a part of fuel must be burned for keeping the temperature high and electric efficiency becomes low. But by the present system pure hydrogen can be used as fuel, electric generation can be increased from 35% for the conventional one to about 50%. In the future a system could be made, in which SOFC would be installed in apartment houses and hydrogen would be supplied to each home.. Since hydrogen and electric power are both produced at the same time, energy systems for both EV and FCV would be possible. They will make research of this system as an element in smart energy network. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 30, 2009]
(2) Nippon Oil Corp. and Kyocera Corp.
@The above two companies are going to develop 1 kW class home use SOFC in cooperation. They will make it using ceramic materials by Kyocera Corp., and their anticipated targets are high temperature over 700, electric power efficiency of 45% and about half size compared with the present FC. The half size will make it possible to be installed in condominium as well as detached houses. They anticipate low price of 1.2 million yen in 2012 fiscal year, while that of the present PEFC is 3.2 million yen. Until starting of sale they will make the life of about 10 years and reduce the cost. The two companies will develop several kW products for convenience stores and restaurants in addition to homes. [The Sankei Shimbun and The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Sept. 30, 2009]
(3) Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
@On Oct. 1, 2009 the company published that they succeeded in 3,000 hour operation of a combined electric generating system of 200 kW consisting of SOFC and micro gas turbine (MGT) using town gas. Until now, the maximum output of 229 kW and the electric efficiency of 52.1% (LHV) at output are achieved. They think that endurance and reliability are demonstrated by the present long operation of 3,000 hours. They are also thinking that they should carry out R&D of further improvement in reliability and compactness. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nagasaki Shimbun Oct. 2, 2009 and The Chemica Daily Oct. 6,, 2009]
5. PEFC Elementary Technologies Development
@SYVEC Corp. and SUN-KK Corp., both in Nagano prefecture, developed technology for low-cost production of separators. Using titanium the cost was reduced and it is superior in strength. Titanium plates are pressed in SYVEC and they are electroplated to increase endurance and electro-conductivity in SUK-KK. By continuous machining low cost of several hundreds yen per sheet was achieved. It will be sold in 2010, and annually total 1.2 billion yen will be sold within 2 - 3 years. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Oct. 2, 2009]
6. R&D of Medium Temperature FC
(1) Kyoto University
@Prof. Kitagawa and his group succeeded in developing electrolyte working efficiently in a temperature range from 100 - 300. The group synthesized powder material from PET bottle materials and aluminum nitrate, and many fine pores of about 1 nm are on the powder. In the pores are arranged imidazole molecules, and the molecules begin to rotate when they are heated. It was confirmed that in the temperature range from 100 - 300 the imidazole molecules transfer hydrogen ions one by one. It is stable even in high temperature, so that there are no anxieties of liquid leakages and explosion. [The Asahi Shimbun Sept. 29, 2009]
(2) The Central Electric Power Research Institute
@A senior research staff, Mr. Mugikura and his group in the above institute have developed fundamental technologies for medium temperature FC, which works in a temperature range from 500 - 700 and it is also thought that wide application is anticipated. As electrolyte metallic oxide, such as barium, an alkaline earth element, is used. For the cathode palladium is used and metallic oxide is painted on the cathode surface and thin film is formed by drying. Before painting, the cathode surface is treated by heating etc., and the thickness of the thin film becomes about 1 micron m. Comparing with low temperature FC, the output increases by about 10% theoretically, and the electric efficiency is expected to be about 42%. Comparing with high temperature FC, it has advantage of low cost. R&D will be continued forecasting real use after 10 - 20 years. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Oct. 21, 2009]
7. Business Related with Home Use FC "Enefarm"
(1) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
@The company begins service of remote management of Enefarm users' data since October. Using PHS communication, a report of customers operating data is presented, and introduction effect such as expenses of light and heat, carbon dioxide reduction etc. is shown. Thus they aim at customers' satisfaction. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 25, 2009]
(2) Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd.
@The company intends to deploy fully business in home use FC field. Making full use of its high level catalyst technology, R&D of reformers are promoted, and the company is intending to be adopted by FC makers in 2012 - 13 when replacement by next generation FC would begin. The reformer the company succeeded in development till 2007 can be applied to multiple fuels, like kerosene, LPG, town gas, bio-ethanol, bio-gas etc. To realize real use of home use FC, it is said that the present price of about 3 million yen per unit should be decreased to 5 hundred thousand yen. For this goal, the price of a reformer should be reduced to one hundred thousand yen. The company carried out technology development, even if the market size is still small comparing with the price of one hundred thousand yen. The company also looking for business deployment chance in overseas market. Beside European market of high heat demand, Asian market of expanding energy demand is aimed at. Bio-mass fuel produced in Asia is also taken into account. [The Chemical Daily Oct. 20, 2009]
8. FCV Forefront
(1) Suzuki Motors Co., Ltd.
@The company announced that in the 41st Tokyo Motor Show 2009 it is going to display FCV "SX4 - FCV," FC installed electric wheelchair "Mio," and as a bike FC scooter "Burgman Fuel .Scooter" The FC scooter runs 350 km by one charge at the speed of 30 km/h. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Oct. 1, 2009, The Sankei Shimbun Oct. 10, 2009, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Oct.12, 2009, The Asahi Shimbun Oct. 14, 2009, The Nishinihon Shimbun, The Shizuoka Shimbun, The Hokkaido Shimbun, The Kahoku Shimpo, The Chiba Nippo Oct. 20, 2009 and The Chugoku Shimbun Oct. 21, 2009]
(2) Iwatani Corp.
@On Oct. 8, 2009 the company announced that it developed electro-assisted bicycle driven with FC. Since Oct. 13 demonstration is being done in Kansai International Airport to gather data for real use. When electric power is exhausted in a battery, hydrogen is supplied to FC and the battery is charged. By one charge of hydrogen it can run about 45 km. [The Mainichi Shimbun, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Chemical Daily Oct. 9, 2009, The Sankei Shimbun Oct. 10, 2009, The Yomiuri Shimbun Oct. 12, 2009 and The Asahi Shimbun Oct. 13, 2009]
9. Bio-FC Development
@Prof. Ota and Assistant Prof. Yoshida of Tokyo Metropolitan University developed a bio-FC, in which mediater is not involved between the electrode and microbes. " Roadpseudomonus pulsetoris" a species among bacteria called red photo-synthesis bacteria is used and it is a species producing much hydrogen. When photo-synthesis microbes are illuminated, they produce organic substances. NADH molecules change to NAD molecules and produce hydrogen and electron. Electron is got as electric energy with the electrode. Hydrogen ion in the water goes to the cathode through the membrane and reacts with oxygen to form water. By gene treatment hydrogen producing function in the bacteria is broken, and thus many electrons can be got. The anode is carbon electrode contacted with air, and the cathode is carbon electrode on which electro-conductive polymer is painted. Between them Nafion is inserted. The cathode is immersed into cultivate medium and illuminated. Thus electric current flows. The gene treated bacteria produced 1.3 times electrons compared with naturally occurring bacteria. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Oct. 1, 2009]
10. Development and Business of Micro-FC
@KDDI (au) and Toshiba Corp. developed trial FC installed portable phones, while their length, width and thickness are 115 mm, 50 mm and 22 mm, respectively, and the thickness is half compared with conventional ones. In the fuel tank of the phone 3.5 mL methanol can be stored, and 320 hour continuous waiting can be done at the maximum. The two companies announced trial FC installed portable phones in 2005, but its thickness is 40 mm and the installed FC can not be removed. The present trial phone is thin and FC can be replaced by conventional lithium ion battery, so that either FC or battery can be selectively used, depending on the situation. The two companies are going to carry out R&D continuously and in the future they intends to make the thickness below 20 mm which is the same as the present portable phones. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun (econly and industry) Oct. 6, 2009]
11. Technology Development of Hydrogen Transport and Storage
@Guest Prof. Kajiwara of Dental Faculty, Aichi Gakuin University discovered that chemically modified rock wool has function of storing and releasing hydrogen and nitrogen. In its structure magnesium hydroxide is sandwiched with silica. By pouring sulfuric acid on it, magnesium hydroxide is dissolved and flows away to form cavities. When this material is left in a container containing compressed hydrogen or nitrogen, hydrogen and nitrogen are stored. Reducing the pressure, they are released. The capacity of the rock wool is 1.2 g of hydrogen in 100 g of the wool, and it is small. An attempt was made to increase the capacity of rock wool, but it is limited, so that it is intended to make research to increase capacity using other natural ores of the similar structure. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 26, 2009]
12. Development of Auxiliaries and Components Related with FC and Hydrogen
(1) Nippon Seisen Co.
@The company in Osaka city developed hydrogen-endurance stainless steel wire for spring, "HYBREM. It can be used under high-pressure hydrogen and it has the same strength as SUS 304, and it is superior in fracture toughness and spring wearing characteristics in hydrogen atmosphere. HYBREM is classified in austenite type stainless steel, but by controlling trace element, change in crystalline structure after cold machining is prevented, while squeezing value is stabilized in hydrogen atmosphere. Balance of carbon and oxygen is optimized to control displacement adhesioin in Cottrell atmosphere. The main usages are hydrogen gas pressure controlling valve, nozzles for charging high-pressure hydrogen, spring for FCV etc. Samples were already supplied to some users and demonstration tests were underway. Annual 50 - 60 ton sale is forecasted. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Tekko Shimbun (iron and steel) Oct. 7, 2009 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Oct. 9, 2009]
(2) Tabuchi Denki
@The company developed "Power Conditioner," an equipment for adjusting efficiently voltage from FC. In addition to convert changing FC direct current to stable alternative current usable in appliances in home, the voltage can be changed. The conversion efficiency is over 92%. The controlling circuit is separated to two; for high-voltage and for low-voltage, and thus it can cope to a FC specific problem, i.e., changing voltage. The real products are intended to be produced in 2010 fiscal year. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Oct. 7, 2009]
13. Development and Business of Metrology, Observation and Monitor System Related with FC and Hydrogen
(1) Misawa Homes Co.
@Since October of 2009 the company begins to sell energy monitoring system, which was developed by cooperative development with Osaki Electric Industry Co., Ltd. This system displays the present electric power generation by solar photovoltaic generation and home use FC together with consumption of electric power, gas and water, and they can be seen at a glance. The characteristic point is that not only total consumptions but also consumptions are shown for each room and each appliance. The price is 225,000 yen. Sales of 1,000 sets is planned in the first fiscal year. [The Jutaku Shimpo (house) Sept. 29, 2009]
(2) Murakami Giken Co.
@The company in Osaka prefecture developed a hydrogen leakage detection equipment for industry which is developed only for hydrogen. When magnesium alloy is contacted with hydrogen gas, its silver color changes to transparent. This phenomenon is used. When hydrogen is leaked, it is alarmed by warning sound and signals. There is no heat source, so that there is no danger for hydrogen to burn. Usage in FC producing factory where large amount of hydrogen is used and other demands are anticipated. The new standard equipment is 6.5 cm high, 4.3 cm deep and 6.5 cm wide, and the price is 174,300yen. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Sept. 30, 2009]
(3) A&D Co.
@The company developed a quick meter to measure electrolyte solution etc. within 0.5 second, and forecasted usages are production lines of FC etc. It is a hybrid of accurate type measurement at 0.1 mg accuracy and load cell type for quick measurement. The price will be 240,000 yen. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Oct. 9, 2009]
------------ This edition is made up as of October 24, 2009. ---------------