THE LATEST NEWS NUMBER 164, 2009
`SOFC Real Demonstrations By Companies`

Arranged by T. Homma
1. National Policies
2. SOFC Technology Development, Demonstration and Business
3. Research and Development of PEFC Elementary Technologies
4. Technology Development and Business Related with Enefarm
5. FCV Forefront
6. Technology Development of Hydrogen Production and Purification
7. Technology Development of Micro-FC

1. National Policies
(1)Administration Reforming Committee
@By classification done by the committee for reforming administration in the cabinet, 1/3 reduction of subsidiary for Enefarm and abolition of subsidiary for protection of existing underground pipes are decided. Relatives are concerning, and said "It throws a wet blanket." The cost of Enefarm is over 3 million yen. But the subsidiary (upper limit 1.4 million yen) and the burden by the companies, the present users' burden for the installation is kept less than 1 million yen. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) [Dec. 3, 2009]

(2) Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports
@The second supplementary budget of the ministry for 2009 fiscal year is 35.2 billion yen. The budget for developing environmental and energy technologies is 23.3 billion yen, and a research facility of X-ray free electron laser will be promoted for R&D of FC and solar photo generation. Others are 11.8 billion yen for keeping up medical systems and 100 million yen for supporting newly graduated students' employment. [The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction) Dec.22, 2009]

2. SOFC Technology Development and Business
(1) Nippon Oil Corp.
@The company is planning to start sale of SOFC in 2011 fiscal year, and they assuming mainly business use like installation in convenience stores and small-scale workshops, where continuous operation is anticipated. In addition to the high efficiency, SOFC does not need processes for treatment and removal of CO in comparison with conventional PEFC. Furthermore components number is 1,000 - 2,000 for PEFC but that for SOFC is reduced to 200 - 600. Since 2009 fiscal year the company begins full demonstration for evaluation of endurance. For cost reduction the company is negotiating cot reduction by mass production of stacks, and the company is looking for common use of periphery components with conventional PEFC. [The Chemical Daily Dec. 14, 2009]

(2) Kyocera Corp. et al
@Four companies, i.e., Kyocera Corp., Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., Rinnai Corp. and Gaster Co., Ltd. announced about SOFC development. They developed home use co-generation system in collaboration. The system is 700 W power output SOFC of lateral stripe type. Demonstration in a detached house is now going on.. The endurance and the energy saving characteristics are going to be tested, and real use in before half of 2010s is anticipated. The size is quite small, and 104 cm height, 65 cm width and 35 cm depth, respectively, and it is more suitable in home using more electricity than heat. As to the endurance the life is extended from about 1 year at present to about 5 years by reviewing materials and designing. The four companies are thinking 10 year life. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Kyoto Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye, The Chemical Daily Dec. 16, 2009 and The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) Dec. 17, 2009]

(3) Toyota Motor Corp., et al
@Toyota Motor Corp. and Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd, announced on Dec. 17, 2009 that the two companies are going to install total 30 sets of home use SOFC co-generation systems, which are developing with Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. and Kyocera Corp., and the systems were supplied through 5 town gas companies; 1 set to Hokkaido Gas Co., Ltd., 4 to Tokyo Gas Co, Ltd., 1 to Toho Gas Co., Ltd., 23 to Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. and 1 to Saibu Gas Co., Ltd., respectively. This is one of 2009 fiscal year demonstration by NEDO. The output power is 700 W and the power efficiency is 45% (LHV). The SOFC cells are made by Kyodcera Corp., with which the power generating unit by Toyota Motor Corp. and Aishin Seiki Co., Ltd. is combined together with the exhausted heat recovery unit for supplying heat and hot water(made by Osaka Gas Co., Ltd).. Osaka Prefecture is going to install some sets in detached houses of Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. employees in Kyotanabe city and the data is going to be collected for 1 year. They are intending real use in before half of .2010. [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 Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Kyoto Shimbun, The Fuji Sankeii Business Eye and The Chemical Daily Dec. 8, 2009]

3. R&D of PEFC Elementary Technologies
@An assistant professor of Tohoku University, Hayashi developed technology by which nano-particles of platinum, gold, silver etc. in low cost of 1/3 of the present cost. The unique point is to use ultrasonic wave. Cooperation started with Hitachi Corp and Hitachi Cables, Ltd. aiming real use.. When powder of noble metal oxide is put into 5 - 25% ethanol solution in ultrasonic wave, fine bubbles of less than micro-size are formed. By bubbling ethanol reacts with the oxide. Though the reaction time depends on the sort of the metal, it is from 5 min to 1 hour. It was confirmed that the method can be applied almost all noble metals. This technology does not need expensive equipments like vacuum equipments, so that in the case of silver, for instance, the cost is below 300 yen/g but it was over 1,000 yen by conventional methods. Furthermore toxic reagent is not used and its environmental impacts are little. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Dec. 22, 2009]

4. Enefarm Related Technology Development and Business
(1) Tec Precision Co.
@In cooperation with Nippon Chemical Plant Consultant Co., Ltd. (Tokyo) the above company in Fukuoka prefecture is going to sell burners in reformers of home use FC in 2010 fiscal year. The burner heats a reformer to 600 - 800Ž, while the total length is about 120 mm and the diameter is about 20 mm. It is the characteristic point that in the reforming process methane can be completely burnt in mixture of methane, air and hydrogen. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Nov. 27, 2009]

(2) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
@On Nov. 27, 2009 the company announced that sale of Enefarm started since June and total number of set sold is over 1,000. Furthermore, Double Generation combined with Enefarm and solar photo generation is promoted, and in 40% of the sets this type is adopted. According to the company, by using these 1,000 sets reduced CO‚Q exhaustion by 1,300 tons. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Dempa Shimbun (radiowave), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Chemical Daily Nov. 30, 2009 and The Sankei Shimbun Dec. 3, 2009]
@By expansion of sales system and activation of promotion, Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. is planning to increase the sale to 2,000 sets. [The Chemical Daily Dec. 28, 2009]

(3) Panasonic
@The number of Enefarm sets produced in 2009 fiscal year is expected about 2,500 sets, which is about double of estimation at the beginning of the year. Due to the withdrawal of Ebara Corp. and expansion of demand, production is increased. In a factory for assembling FC in Kusatsu, Shiga prefecture, production capacity was already increased since August. Now the company supplied Enefarm to Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., Toho Gas Co., Ltd., Saibu Gas Co., Ltd. and Shizuoka Gas Co., Ltd., and at present the company estimated 3,000 - 5,000 sets in 2010 fiscal year and 60 - 100 thousand sets in 2015 fiscal year. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Dec. 1, 2009]

(4) Panahome
@The company made renewal of line-up of detached houses since January, 2010 as new "El SOLANA" series. In this new series a solar generation system (3 kW) is adopted as the standard specification, with which life without payment for light and heat is possible. Enefarm is attached as an option. [The Dempa Shimbun (radio Wave) Dec. 23, 2009]

(5) Sekisui House
@The company received order of 1,100 Enefarm sets by sales of "Green First"," i. e., installation of solar photo generation and home use FC. This is by 100 sets more than the number planned at first for the period from February, 2009 to January, 2010. Sales of detached houses with solar photo generation achieved the target of 6,000 by one month earlier. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and Technology) Dec. 28, 2009]

5. FCV Forefront
(1) Group for Creating Dream
@An independent research group named "Group for Creating Dream" in Kinki Branch of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is going to display a hybrid car in Osaka Motor Show to be held in Intex Osaka on Dec. 4, 2009. In the hybrid car, FEV, both FC and solar cells are installed. Lead acid batteries of 2 kW output capacity are also installed. Using solar cells of 150 W output and energy charged in the batteries with a plug in home, it can run 100 km. When charged energy decreases, it runs charging with PEFC. Hydrogen fuel is charged in a hydrogen storage alloy tank of cartridge type (capacity 300 L), and it can run about 15 km only with FC. FC and solar cells can be removed, and it can be used as an emergency power source for disaster prevention like wireless communication and illumination. As a multi-purpose hybrid car FEV, it got a number plate. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Dec.4C2009 and The Sankei Shimbun Dec. 5, 2009]

(2) Nissan USA
@The company started commercial lease of FCV "X TRAIL FCV" of high pressure hydrogen type. The first car was delivered to Sacrament Coca Cola Bottling Co. The Maximum speed is 150 km/h and the range by one charge of hydrogen is about 500 km with the maximum motor output of 90 kW and the maximum torque of 289 Nm. The lease term is 1 year. [The Dentsuho (electricity) Dec. 7, 2009]

(3) Toyota Motor Corp. and Hino Motor Corp.
@On the same day as "Fukuoka Motor Show 2009," Dec. 11, 2009, the above two companies open a FC hybrid bus, they have developed together, to the public in the prefecture office. Hydrogen is stored in high-pressure tanks on the roof, and it can run 250 km by one charge. The cost is about 200 million yen per one. [The Nishinihon Shimbun Dec. 12, 2009]

6. Technology Development of Hydrogen Production and Purification
(1) Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo, Ltd.
@The company developed hydrogen permeable palladium membrane of 1/3 thickness compared with conventional ones. The hydrogen permeability is increased and amount of metal is decreased, so that it leads to the cost reduction. The company succeeded in this technology based on their metal technology especially, thin film technology they have been studied for long time. The company will sell the products for FC and high-purity hydrogen production. [The Chemical Daily Nov. 10, 2009]

(2) Tohoku University
@Prof. Saito and Assistant Professor Cho and their group have succeeded in production of hydrogen from wood. Considering 70% of the wood is consisting of cellulose, which is composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, wood chips are mixed with calcium oxide and the mixture is heated at a constant temperature. Thus they got about 480 L of hydrogen from 1 kg of wood. The purity of hydrogen is fairly high (90%), and they could find the optimum temperature for reducing CO‚Q production below 0.1%. They are now investigating how much hydrogen can be got from barks, chips, leaves and papers. The results will be completed in 2010 fiscal year. [The Kahoku Shimpo Dec. 2, 2009]

(3) Hokuriku Green Energy Research group
@The above group was going to make experiment to generate electric power with FC using hydrogen formed from aluminum waste for illumination with LED in 3 Hokuriku prefectures simultaneously. This technology has been developed by Tonami Transport Co., Ltd. since 2006 and accepted as a technology for global worming in 2009 fiscal year. Hydrogen is formed by reaction of aluminum and sodium hydroxide, and drink packages recovered in the prefectures are used. In Toyama prefecture Tonami Transport Co., Ltd., Fujikoshi Corp., Ltd., Toyama University, The Prefecture and Toyama City join the program. [The Kitanihon Shimbun Dec. 12, 2009]

7. Technology Development of Micro-FC
(1) Panasonic Corp.
@On Dec. 25, 2009 the company opened batteries and DMFC to the public. They are newly developed lithium ion batteries for EV and trial products of DMFC. The both are now in research stage and the company intends to commercialize them in 2012 - 14. One of DMFC is palm top size and about 360 cc volume, and the other is a large box type of 2 L volume while the output is 100 W. The former is a power source for personal computer and the latter is a generator for leisure. It is planned to commercialize them in 2014. The price is anticipated 100 - 200 thousand yen. [The Asahi Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Dec. 25, 2009, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) and the Chemical Daily Dec. 28, 2009]

(2) Richell
@The above company, a resin products maker in Toyama city, developed resin chip, and it was accepted in a charger for portable phones by a big home appliances maker. The manufacturing method of the chip was developed in collaboration with Toyama Industrial Technology Center and Toyama University. Inventing unique silicon molds, the shape of the molded products is reproducible with accuracy of 1 micron m in depth and diameter, and the mass production is possible with this injection molding machine. It is one of unique points that liquid injected in channels on the chip flows at a constant rate naturally. Chargers for portable phones are FC type of methanol injection, and it is also a unique point that injected methanol quickly flows into generating parts. A big maker shipped 3,000 sets as samples. [The Kitanihon Shimbun Dec. 26, 2009]


------------ This edition is made up as of December 29, 2009. ---------------