(1) Hitachi Metals€Ltd.
@The company is going to fully get into market of inter-connecters, i.e., separators for SOFC. The basic materials are specific stainless steel alloy mainly of iron and chromium, and required characteristics, such as thermal expansion, anti-oxidation characteristics, and high conductivity, are realized. The company began sample shipping. For the separators anti-oxidation characteristics and high conductivity in high temperature are required, while difference in thermal expansion between the electrolyte and the separators should be small. Till now electro-conductive ceramics were used, but metallic separators are now drawing attentions in cost, machining, light and thin forms. However general stainless steels are not enough in anti-oxidation, and austenite is inferior in large thermal expansion. The company developed new ferrite alloy containing 22% chromium with small addition of zirconium and lantern, and aluminum and silicon was decreased to reduce the oxidation in high temperature, while the conductivity was increased. Thus, the company succeeded in high conductivity and high anti-oxidation. At present a subsidiary company Hitachi Metal Admet stores samples for R&D, and evaluation is going to be requested to domestic batteries makers as well as batteries makers in US and Europe. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 1, 2010 and The Tekko Shimbun (iron and steel) March 3, 2010]
(2) NEONAX Materials Co.
@The above company, a subsidiary company of Hitachii Metals€Ltd, in Suita city, Osaka began sample shipping of clad metal. The clad metal is a metal on which another metal is mechanically pressed and heated to strengthen inter-metal adhesion by metal diffusion. Copper and stainless steel clad with nickel on both side was proposed for current collectors and separators. For the separators nickel is clad on stainless steel in a ratio of 1 to 8, and elasticity of stainless steel and low electrical resistance of nickel are both realized. For the current collectors of less resistant nickel is clad on copper in a ratio of 3 to 1. Even in high temperature it is anti-corrosive because of nickel and surface treatment for low resistance is also possible. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 9, 2010]
(3) Chino Corp.
@The company developed a series of testing apparatuses of button type specimens for SOFC, "FC5300 series." Conventional ones are consisting of two units and a personal computers, but the holder, a furnace, a humidifier and a measuring unit are unified to reduce the space. Furthermore, gas supply and steam generation are controlled in high accuracy. A personal computer is attached, so that automatic operation is possible and endurance test becomes easy. By connecting with inexpensive impedance meters impedance measurements up to 100 kHz can be automated. The price is 7 - 10 M yen. After May they are going to be sold it to battery materials producers, universities, and research institutes, and annual sales of 30 sets are aimed. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 8, 2010 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) March 9, 2010]
(4) New Energy Foundation (NEF)
@NEF held a meeting for report of 2009 fiscal year SOFC demonstration results in Tokyo. NEF has a plan of the demonstration for 4 years from 2007 to 2010 fiscal year., and the operation data were analyzed, and CO2 exhausted was reduced by about 34% for typical demand sites. Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. reported that comparing 2007 fiscal year system, the long time decrease in the output voltage of 2008 fiscal year system is small, and endurance and reliability of SOFC are steadily being improved. Hokkaido Gas Co., Ltd. reported demonstration results in cold climate and showed high-energy efficiency was observed in low temperature below -10. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) March 9, 2010]
(5) Kyocera Corp.
@Kyocera Corp. downsized electric generating unit in home use SOFC systems. The conventional depth of 350 mm reduced to 300 mm using high performance thermal insulator, and exhausted heat recovery was also improved. Comparing 2008 fiscal year model, 2009 fiscal year model was modified also in the height (reduction by 60 mm), the width (10 mm reduction) and the weight (93 kg to 86 kg). It supplied 12 units to Osaka Gas Co., Ltd., 1 set to Tokyo Electric Power Co., Ltd. and 1 unit to Tohoku Electric Power Co., Ltd (total 14 units). One of the tasks of SOFC development is endurance, and decrease in power efficiency was shown from 2007 fiscal year model to 2009 fiscal year model, while further improvement would be observed in 2009 fiscal year model. The company is going to carry out the development and demonstration, and endurance and system reliability would furthermore improved. As to the cell stack, endurance of 10 years, i.e., 90,000 hours is aimed. Reducing the production cost the company intends to put them in the market early. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) March 15, 2010]
(6) Hokkaido University and Mitsubishi Chemical Co., Ltd.
@Prof. Motohashi and his group in the university and the above company found high oxygen storing performance of double perovskite type manganese oxide. In low temperature below 500 they confirmed 3.7 wt% oxygen absorbing performance, while that of conventional materials is 2.8 wt%. It takes about 10 seconds to absorb fully oxygen, and its oxygen absorbing characteristics is very high. Beside catalysts for automobile exhausted gas oxidation, application to SOFC cathode materials are also expected. In the near future they are going to start collaborative research. They are intending improvement of oxygen absorbing performance by optimizing the process, and they also are looking for other applications. [The Chemical Daily March 23, 2010]
2. Elementary Technologies Development of PEFC and DMFC
(1) ACAL Energy, Ltd.
@An English company "ACAL Energy," in which Sumitomo Corp. invests, assembled trial PEFC modules, and the production cost was reduced by using inexpensive metallic liquid compounds as catalyst in place of platinum catalyst. Platinum catalyst is not used, and instead a catalyst system of specific liquid is circulated in a stack. For anodes platinum catalyst is needed, but its amount can be reduced by 90% in its maximum. Sumitomo Shoji agreed that it would cooperatively deployed business. It is assuming commercialization within 2 years as stationary emergency power sources. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Feb. 26, 2010 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) March 1, 2010]
(2) Kyushu University
@Prof. Kishida and an associate professor Takenaka developed a new technology to prevent degradation from PEFC performance. Platinum catalysts on the electrode is covered with inexpensive silicon dioxide of 2 - 3 nm thickness. Even if CO is contained in fuel of hydrogen, degradation of catalytic performance is controlled below 1/8 by function of the covering thin film. For the anodes carbon nano-tubes are used and platinum particles of 3 nm diameter are attached with SiO2. In the electric generation test using hydrogen containing 100 ppm CO as fuel, the current is reduced to 80% compared with th SiO2 covers decrease is 10 - 20% with 4- 5 times increase in the output. It is said that SiO2 coverage is also effective to solve a problem of dissolution of platinum from the cathodes. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Feb. 26, 2010]
(3) Tokuyama Corp.
@The company is going to compete mass production lines of hydrocarbon electrolyte membrane until spring of 2011. They are proton-conduction type and anion conduction type, and the total annual production is 10 Mm2. Especially the anion conductive type is alkaline membrane for FC, and other metals than platinum, such as nickel and cobalt can be used. It leads to cost down of FC. Adding anion electrolyte solution of high conductivity, the company began their sample shipping since spring of 2009, and moreover it assembled trial MEA in collaboration with another company. Many inquiries were received and demonstration is now underway, so that the company decided the mass production. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun March5, 2010]
(4) Sojitz Corp.
@The above company got agency from a Taiwan maker, "CeTech" which has special production technology of gas diffusion layers, and it will sell them. Roll type can be sold, and custom made type can also be done. The gas diffusion layer by CeTech is superior in the cost and endurance. In addition to carbon cloth the company established production technology of roll type carbon papers. They fit both to PEFC and DMFC. [The Chemical Daily March 9, 2010£
(5) Noritake Co., Ltd.
@The company started development of core-shell type catalyst. Nickel was accepted as core material and on the surface of platinum covers the surface. It was confirmed that it is about 3 times higher in activity than conventional catalyst. It was produced using metal water solution and reduced, which is suitable for mass production. [The Chemical Daily March 10, 2010]
3. EneFarm Business
(1) WawHouse Co., Ltd.
@WawHouse, a house building company in Fukuyama city is going to construct residential complex "Wau Tsuru Shinden No. 6 Complex" in Kurashiki city with Mizushima Gas Co., Ltd., and EneFarm of town gas specification will be installed. Thus the complex is "an eco-friendly complex." According to estimation by Mizushima Gas Co., Ltd., about 60% of charges for electric power would be produced by domestic generation and 50,000 - 60,000 yen of electric and hot water charge would be saved for standard home of 4 persons. Thus 1.2 tons of CO2 would be reduced. [The San-yo Shimbun Feb. 26, 2010]
(2) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
@Coping to propagation of FC, the company is going to establish "FC Business Promotion Division" on April 1, 2010 as the headquarter organization for propagation and expansion of FC business. The headquarter is for strategic overall planning such as commodity planning, technical supports, etc. It started general sales of EneFarm in May of 2009, and these few recent years would become a crucial stage for the formation of FC market. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) and the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 1,2010]
(3) Tech Precision Co.
@The above company in Fukuoka prefecture developed a burner for home use FC reformer in cooperation with Nihon Chemical Plant Consultant (Tokyo). The burner is 80 mm long and 14 mm in diameter of cylindrical parts. Parts made of 0.8 mm stainless steel by press machining are used. Thus the price was reduced to 1/6, and it is about 5,000 yen per one. The company intends to begin mass production in 2010 fiscal year to deliver them. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) March 3, 2010]
(4) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
@On March 12, 2010 Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. announced business plan in 2010 fiscal year and it promotes full sale of solar photo generation. The sales target of home use solar panels is 1,800 sets and that of EneFarm is 2,000 sets. In 2010 fiscal year about 200 companies of its service chain are going to sell solar photo generation systems to homes and install them. PV of Sharp Corp., Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. and Kyocera Corp. will be dealt with them. At the same time the company will positively makes proposition of double generation combining EneFarm and PV. [The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Mainichi Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Mrch13, 2010, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and Industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 15, 2010, The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 23, 2010]
@On March 18, 2010 Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. announced that the total set of EneFarm sales became over the target of 1,300 set. The set the company is selling is made by Toshiba FC System Corp. According to its catalog the electric power generation efficiency is over 35% (LHV), while the exhausted heat recovery efficiency, the overall efficiency and the hot water tank capacity are respectively over 45%, over 80% and 200 L. On March 1, 2010 EneFarm made by ENEOS CELLTECH Co. was introduced. The price is 3.255 M yen including the tax, and maximum 1.4 M yen of public subsidy can be got. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 19, 2010, The Asahi Shimbun March 20, 2010, The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) March 22, 2010 and The Chemical Daily March 23, 2010]
(5) Fukuoka Hydrogen Town
@Fukuoka Prefecture and Fukuoka Hydrogen Energy Strategy Congress summed up total energy saving effect from March to September in 2009 in social demonstration of "Fukuoka Hydrogen Town." Average CO2 reduction in home is 17.1 kg/month and average annual reduction is estimated 14.3%. Consciousness change by EneFarm installation was investigated, and 78% mentioned increase of energy saving consciousness, while 62% answered change to diligent switching off. [The Chemical Daily March 17, 2010]
(6) Hiroshima Gas Co., Ltd.
@The company started sale of solar panels and it makes proposition of combining it with EneFarm. [The Chugoku Shimbun March 20, 2010]
4. Forefront of FCV and FC Mobiles
@Ishikawajima Harima Heavy Industries Corp. (IHI) announced that it made contract with the Boeing Co. on development of FC systems for aircrafts. What they are going to develop is regenerative FC systems for a kitchen to utilize efficiently electric power generated with jet engines. By using surplus electric power hydrogen and oxygen are formed, stored and used for power generation. Until 2011 the development will be carried out and demonstration will start till 2013. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, March 3, 2010, The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Denki Sjhimbun (electricity), The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Fuji Sankei Business Eye and The Chemical Daily March 4, 2010]
(2) Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.
@Mr Chin, the president of Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (China) talked his plan that within this year it begins to sell HV, "Roewe 750" mild hybrid vehicle, and in 2112 "Roewe 550" of 50% fuel consumption will be sold, while EV will be introduced to the market. To Shanghai World Expo about 1,000 clean energy vehicles, such as EV and FCV, will be supplied. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) March 9, 2010]
@According to an announcement by GM it developed FC of half size compared with the conventional GM models, and it said that Commercial production of FCV with this FC by 2015 is possible. The new FC model is light by about 100 kg, and the platinum used is 1/3. Thus the mass production by low cost became possible. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) March 19, 2010]
5. Hydrogen Stations Business
(1) Japan Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Demonstration Project (JHFC)
@On March 2, 2010 JHFC had a meeting in Tokyo and reported R&D results in 2009 fiscal year on real use of FCV and hydrogen stations. Real commercialization, in which supplying hydrogen to FCV is established as a business, is estimated in 2015. For propagation of hydrogen station tasks of reviewing regulations in laws of building, high-- pressure gas etc. are listed up. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 3, 2010 and The Nikkn Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) March 4 and 8, 2010]
(2) Toho Gas Co., Ltd.
@Toho Gas Co., Ltd. built a hydrogen station where hydrogen can be charged at the pressure of 70 MPa and the testing started on March 15, 2010. It is in research laboratory of the company in Tokai city, Aichi prefecture. 500 million yen was invested. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and tefchnology), The Hokkaido Shimbun March 16, 2010 and The Chunichi Shimbun March 19, 2010]
6. Technology Development of Hydrogen Production and Purification
(1) Tanaka Holdings Co.
@On March 2, 2010 the company announced that it established technology for ultra-thin film containing palladium for hydrogen separation (permeation) and its sample shipping was going to start. Rolling is applied so that close film of few defects is formed. Palladium containing ultra-thin film of the minimum 5 micron m thickness and the maximum 200 mm width can be made. The rate of palladium permeation is 3 times increased, and amount of used palladium is also decreased, so that they lead to cost down of hydrogen production equipments. To get 1 kW electric power output, hydrogen must be supplied at about 10 L/min. If this new membrane is used, the area is 73 cm2 and the palladium mass needed is 0.4 g. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chemical Daily March 2, 2010]
(2) Japan Planning Organization Inc.
@It was decided that a hydrogen production plant is going to be constructed in Fukuoka prefecture, and the plant is based on hydrogen production technology (Blue Tower Technology) from bio-mass by Japan Planning Organization. Woods bio-mass such as construction waste and infanticide woods is thermally gasified and high-purity hydrogen is produced by annex hydrogen purification equipment. Several years before the Organization introduced gasifying technology, and based on original technology, a process was developed to reduce tar formation and hydrogen rich gas can be formed. Already 2 demonstration plants were constructed. A real commercial plant will be constructed. A main body of hydrogen production is "Idex Eco-Energy Co." a subsidiary company of IDEX Co., and produced bio-hydrogen will all be bought by IDEX Co. and sold to users. Test operation is going to be operated in 2012 fiscal year. [The Nishinihon Shimbun March 4, 2010 and The Nikkan Kensetsu Shimbun (construction) March 5, 2010]
7. Technology Development and Business Deployment of DMFC for Mobiles
@In October of 2009 Toshiba began to sell micro-DMFC, "Dynario" for mobile phones and personal computers with the limit of 3,000 sets. It is said that shipping proceeds as planned. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Feb. 26, 2010]
(2) Murata Manufacturing Co.
@The company developed pumps for mobile DMFC. It is in a series of micro-pumps of piezo-electric ceramics, "MZP". The thickness is about 1.5 mm, and it is said that the power consumption is reduced to about 10% compared with conventional ones. The size is 24 mm deep and 23 mm long, while the air aspiration is over 6 kPa and the liquid expiration is 35 kPa. [The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave), The Chemical Daily March 11, 2010, and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 15, 2010]
8. Metrological Technology and Business Related with FCV and Hydrogen
(1) JFE Techno-Research Corp.
@On March 2, 2010 JFE Techno-Research published that a facility undertaking analysis and evaluation of next generation batteries, "Batteries Materials Analysis and Evaluation Center" in Chiba city is going to be open in April. It will undertake series of works from trial assembling batteries to performance test, and it also will support makers of batteries and materials in new products development, trouble shooting etc. In the center 10 staffs are working and it will undertake developments of secondary batteries, solar panels, FC etc. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Tekko Shimbun (iron and steel), The Chemical Daily March 3, 2010 and The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) March 9, 2010]
(2) New-Cosmo Electric Co.
@The company in Osaka city announced that it is providing automobile makers with highly responsible hydrogen sensor modules under development to be installed in automobiles. The company realized performance that the sensor detects hydrogen leakage in automobiles within 1 second. It also succeeded in a small size sensor and the sensing spherical devise "Micro-CS" is 0.2 mm in diameter. The usable atmospheres are temperature range of -30 - 85 and humidity range of 10 - 95%, while the weight is about 80 g. When it detects hydrogen, it transmits analog signals. In its running test it was observed that detecting performance was not changed after about 4,000 km running. When it was dropped down from 12 m height on concrete, no change occurred in performance. Water-proof test, anti-salt water test and EMC test were made. Now R&D are underway for co-existence of fine hydrogen detecting performance and performance in running automobile. [The Nikkan Jifosha Shimbun (automobile) March 8, 2010]
9. Fundamental Research Achievements for Next Generation FC
@On March 8, 2010 Institute for Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) and Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI) published that they elucidated properties of magneli phase titanium oxide (Ti4O7) which has three types phase changes along the temperature. Observing it by X-ray Photo-Electron Spectroscopy and Laser Photo-Electron Spectroscopy, it is revealed that in the higher temperature phase above 154 K it shows properties similar to normal metallic properties, and in intermediate phase between the high temperature phase and the low temperature phase (semi-conductor) strange and abnormal phase occurs. The properties of this phase are neither metallic nor semi-conductor-like. These facts are thought to be an important point for application to electrodes in next generation FC. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chemical Daily March 9, 2010]
10. FC development for New Application
@Miyairi Valve Manufacturing Co. developed vegetable cultivation systems using LED illumination and CO2 exhausted from FC reformers and thermal power plants. Through valves in the systems CO2 is sent to vegetables in water cultivating plant factory and used for photo-synthesis. Vegetables are illuminated with LED. By controlling concentration and flow rate of CO2 and illuminating time with LED, all CO2 can be consumed in photo-synthesis, the company said. details of the systems depend on varieties of vegetables, so that the introduction prices are not yet determined. Including systems for aquatic living things, the systems will be sold to agriculture legal persons. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Feb. 26, 2010]
------------ This edition is made up as of March 23, 2010. ---------------