(1) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
@The ministry presented the draft of "Fundamental Energy Plan until 2030" to Advisory Committee for Energy held on March 24, 2010. A new index of "Energy Independence Ratio, " which is the energy self-sufficiency ratio, is set up and about 70% is the target to be increased from the present ratio of 38%. As a concrete policies of energy demand and supply structure, new energy saving standards are made, for zero energy buildings (ZEB). Until 2020 it should be accomplished in average by multiple energy saving measures for newly built public buildings, and until 2030 ZEB should be realized. Other concrete items are promotion of atomic energy power generation; expansion of sustainable energy power generation; introduction of CCS to coal burning power plants; 100% replacement of illumination by LED and organic ED, by 2030, traffic systems and urban construction and others are included. Especially for home use FC introduction of 1.4 million sets is proposed, while ZEH should be standard of newly built houses. [The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction) March 26, 2010]
@The Ministry decided the following "Next Generation Automobile Strategy 2010" on April 12, 2010. Propagation target is 80% at the maximum in 2020 for foregoing eco-friendly cars (internal combustion engine cars superior in environmental performance and next generation cars, such as EV, FCV, clean diesel engine cars etc.), while that for next generation cars, such as hybrid cars (HIV) and EV, is 20 - 50% in 2020 and 50 - 70% is aimed at 2030. [The Asahi Shimbun, The Mainichi Shimbun, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) and the Chemical Daily April 13, 2010]
(2) Ministry of Environment
@In the end of 2009 the ministry established "committee for examination of propagation measures of eco-friendly cars" consisting experts and related business executives, and they examined fundamental policies and targets, taking accounts of market trends and technology developments. On April 30, 2010 they accomplished strategy for propagation of eco-friendly cars. According to this, the propagation target of next generation cars like EV and HV is about 2.5 million cars to be sold and the share would be 51% in 2020. They are estimated about 3.87 million cars and 90%, respectively, including FCV in 2050. For propagation the following points were pointed out in addition to establishment of mileage standards and tax. They are preference, mass production and lease of batteries for cost reduction of EV, systems of car sharing and utilization as taxi for market expansion, increase in the range and decrease in charging time, together with expansion and increase in charging facilities etc. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) March 31, 2010]
(3) Ministry of Land, Transportation and Infrastructure
@To intensify Japanese competitiveness in next generation cars such as EV, HV, FCV and so on, the ministry is going to establish a new cooperative organization consisting of industrial, academic and governmental sectors. Domestic and international standardization of Japanese originated advanced technology will be examined, while road-map related with mutual certification of new car models are going to be compiled. These will be done by a high-level group of tops of related industrial associations and ministers level statesmen. The ministry anticipates that globalization of automobile industry is proceeding and competition is intensified in China and India, while importance of some measures for global warming by exhausted CO2 reduction and those for traffic accidents would be worldwide tasks. To cope to these, the ministry intends to intensify Japanese competitiveness by internationalization of Japanese advanced technologies. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) April 20, 2010]
2. Policies by Local Governments
(1) Fukuoka City
@Fukuoka City and Port-Hakata Co. solicited and recently accepted proposition of "Town Developing Project" of 5th area in Island City. The decided undertaker is a joint venture of Sekisui House Corp. and Kyushu House Construction Association. In this area they set CO2 zero area and intend to construct "low carbon town" in top domestic level. As advanced models the proposition of detached house attached with latest technological facilities was solicited. The JV of Sekisui House Corp. proposed total 178 houses; namely, 103 houses in one area of 34,900 m2 and 75 houses in the other area of 24,400 m2. In the proposition two models are proposed; one is "double generation model" of home use FC and solar cells, and the other is "all electrification model." CO2 zero would become real by the above two models. Furthermore, in the two areas CO2 balance monitors will be installed, and smart meters will be introduced to visualize the emission. Plug-in charging system will be set in every house for eco-cars. In the area as a whole, wind environment simulators and cool spots will be installed, while green networks and common spaces will be constructed to make area comfortable, The period of the project ends in 2015 fiscal year and opening of the town will be 2012 fiscal year. [The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction) and The Nikkan Kensetsu Shimbun (construction) March 26, 2010]
(2) Osaka City
@To make support systems of emerging industries, reorganization is going to be done on April 1, 2010. There is not a concrete definition of emerging industries, however new energies, such as solar electric generation, FC etc. and bio-industries, are assumed. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 26, 2010]
3. Technology Development Related with SOFC
(1) Kyoto University
@An associate professor, Hibino and his research group in Kyoto University succeeded in development of a new SOFC, which is a one room type, and stable electric generation was confirmed. Compared with two room type SOFC, it is simple in structure, because it does not need to separate the gas room. Short start-up is possible. Hydrogen gas leakage needs not worry and safety is high. In one room type SOFC on one side of the electrolyte anode catalyst is used, while on the other side cathode catalyst of different selectivity is used. Separation of fuel from air is not needed, and electric generation is done using mixture of hydrogen and air. It is strong against shock and heat. Because partial oxidation is exothermic reaction, the cell temperature increases spontaneously and the reaction proceeds in reducing atmosphere. The electrolyte used is oxide of barium, lanthanum and indium of high electrical conductivity in a low temperature range. For cathode oxide of lanthanum, strontium, manganese and iron is used, while oxide of cesium and samarium is mixed with nickel and oxidized for the anode. Cesium samarium oxide is used as protecting films. When the ratio of methane to air is 2 to 5, the maximum performances were obtained, namely the voltage of 877 mV and the output density of 64.8 mW/cm3 at the maximum. Because increase in the power density is expected for one room type SOFC, the research group will be continuing R&D furthermore, by materials improvement. [The Chemical Daily March 31, 2010]
(2) Japan Gas Association
@At a press conference on April 19, 2010 Mr. Ichino, the President of the association, set forth its policy on next generation home use SOFC to be commercialized in the before half of 2010s. "To compete with electric power companies it should be in cooperation with oil companies." [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun April 20, 2010]
(3) Toho Gas Co., Ltd.
@Mr. Saeki, the President of the company, announced that the company accelerates assembling 5 kW class SOFC demonstration system for business use to be completed in this fiscal year. In the last fiscal year 3 kW class SOFC was made and high power efficiency of 59% was shown. If this is realized, the usage of FC only limitted for electric generation could be imagined. In cooperation with NTT Corp. and Sumitomo Precision Products Co., Ltd., the company developed 3 kW output generating unit. They aim at real use of 5 kW class assuming usages in small-scale stores, offices etc. [The Chunichi Shimbun April 21, 2010]
4. PEFC Elementary Technologies Development
(1) Japan Die & Mold Industry Association
@In western branch of the association (in Osaka city) 40 member companies made stainless steel separators by press molding and combined them with MEA for trial assembling PEFC. These are tested by Osaka Prefectural Technology Research Institute , and 2.5 V output was obtained. Future collaborators are solicited because of low-cost mass-production technology. The branch said "they intend to explore new demands of molding." [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 31, 2010]
(2) Toshiba FC System Corp.
@The company is trying to reduce cost and weight by 20 - 30% reducing number of components, while they intend to decrease total cost of home use FC to half by introducing new catalyst technology and membrane technology. Since the present FC is expensive, for propagation cost reduction is essential. By cost reduction the production scale increases from the present number of 2,000 annually to over 10,000. [The Chemical Daily April 21, 2010]
5. Enefarm Business
(1) Nihonkai Gas Co., Ltd.
@The company in Toyama city started sale of home use FC, and discounted "eco-life rate" for general customers is also applied to home use FC users. This is conventionally applied to "eco-will" which has been applied to electric power and hot water supply system. The company installed home use FC at 8 homes in Toyama prefecture since 2005 fiscal year and test application has been made. As a result the company decided to launch fully the business, because increase in gas demand is also anticipated. The company will guarantee 40,000 hour operation by its own policy. [The Kitanihon Shimbun March 30, 2009 and The Toyama Shimbun March 31, 2010]
(2) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
@The company is going to promote sales, for instance price reduction of Enefarm. The government provides 1,4 million yen as subsidy to enefarm buyers, but it would be by 100,000 yen reduced to 1.3 million yen in 2010 fiscal year. Coping to this the company is going to reduce the installation cost by 100,000yen. This is substantial price reduction.. Further cooperation with housing sector is also under consideration. Furthermore, the sale target is 2,100 sets in 2009 fiscal year, and it will be increased to over 2,500 sets. Moreover, in 2011 fiscal year new model development would be considered for low price and small size. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun March 30, 2010 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) April 1, 2010]
@Mr. Okamoto, who was the vice-president of the company and was going to be the President on April 1, 2010, set forth his thought that cooperation with other town gas companies should become strong. Beside these gas companies, it will collaborate with Panasonic Corp. etc. in using common components to reduce the cost., and they will compete with all electrification by electric power companies. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun April 1, 2010]
@On April 5, 2010 the company was going to launch a promotion group for smart energy network. Combining FC, co-generation, and renewable energy, the group is going to make planning, programming and promoting network for high level energy utilization. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) April 5, 2010 and The Chemical Daily April 6, 2010 and The Nishinihon Shimbun April 7, 2010]
(3) Saibu Gas Co., Ltd.
@The company published business plan of Enefarm for 2010 fiscal year. It started the sale since 2009 fiscal year, and the target of 2010 fiscal year is 200 sets, which is double of the target for the previous year. It begins the sale to existing houses. [The Nishinihon Shimbun April 31, 2010 and April 7, 2010]
(4) Toho Gas Co., Ltd.
@On March 31, 2010 the company announced business plan for 2010 fiscal year. According to this plan, the target of Enefarm becomes double, i.e., 500 sets. The sales of Ecojows, a hot water supplier of energy saving type is by 25% increase to 30,000sets. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Chugoku Shimbun April 1, 2010]
(5) Hokkaido Gas Co., Ltd.
@The company is going to decide the specification and to make field test, to introduce Enefarm of cold climate specification and next generation Ecowill in 2010 fiscal year. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and the Nishinihon Shimbun April 8, 2010]
(6) Shizuoka Gas Co., Ltd
@The company will construct low-carbon type subdivision with eco-energy facilities in Mishima city. The area is about 5,900 m2 and divided to 22 houses. In addition to FC and solar cells, in 2 houses lithium batteries will be attached for cars made by EnerDel óUS for the policy "local product, local consumption." [The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Shizuoka Shimbun Aspril 8, 2010, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) April 9, 2010 and The Nihon Keizai Shimbun April 10, 2010]
(7) Hiroshima Gas Co., Ltd.
@On April 5, 2010 the company set forth its business plan for 2010 fiscal year. In new business double generation of home use solar cells and Enefarm is included, competing with all electrification by electric power companies. The company aims at 100 set sales. [The Denki Sghimbun (electricity) and Chugoku Shimbun April 9, 2010]
(8) Komatsu Gas Co., Ltd.
@The company in Komatsu city started sales of Enefarm since April 19, 2010. It aims at 3 - 4 sets in the first fiscal year. [Hokkoku Shimbun April 20, 2010]
6. Hydrogen Stations--- Related Technology Development and Business Deployment
(1) Saga Prefecture, Japan Air Liquid etc
@Saga Prefecture, Saga Prefecture Local Industry Support Center, Japan Air Liquide Co. , Mitsubishi Chemical Engineering Corp., Tosu Kankyo Kaihatsu Center and so on are going to carry out collaborative development of hydrogen. System. In their scheme of hydrogen system, hydrogen is produced from unused chips of thinned wood, and it is stored in a simplified hydrogen station for supplying hydrogen to FCV in intermediate and small cities and country side villages and mountainous area. In December a new system will be developed and FCV running test will be done. A wood bio-mass plant operating in Tosu is used and water vapor in a temperature range from 800 to 1,000 is flowed into the fined wood flours to form CO, methane, CO2, from which highly pure hydrogen is produced. According to the plan 45,000 L - 50,000 L of hydrogen is produced from wood chips of 500 - 700 kg for 8 hours. Hydrogen of 170 L will be supplied to a FCV tank at 350 atmospheres. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) April 6, 2010]
(2) Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K.and Iwatani Corp.
@The above two companies completed removal of JHFC Ariake Hydrogen Station to a new site at 1-5-8 Ariake, Koto ward, Tokyo, and the operation was started in the new site. Hydrogen is charged at 35 MPa from liquid hydrogen storage, while electric charging is also made with a rapid charger (30 kW) installed in a series of promotion activities for infrastructure of EV propagation. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), and The Chemical Daily April 13, 2010]
7. Technology Development of Hydrogen Production and Storage
@An Associate Professor, Yashima of Tokyo Institute of Technology finished elucidation of electronic structure of a catalyst, which dissociates water to hydrogen and oxygen. This research was done together with a Professor Domen and an Assistant Professor, Maeda of Tokyo University. This catalyst is well known substrate for blue light emitting diode, gallium nitride, in which a part of gallium is replaced by zinc and a part of nitrogen is replaced by oxygen. It was found that introduction of zinc and oxygen changes electronic structure to absorb visible light of higher wave length. When catalyst absorb visible light, electron and hole are formed and move to the surface, where water dissociates to hydrogen and oxygen. Hereafter, changing amounts of zinc and oxygen, change of electronic structure is going to be investigated, to develop process for efficiently producing only hydrogen from water. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) April 9, 2010]
------------ This edition is made up as of April 23, 2010. ---------------