(1) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
@On April 26, 2010 the ministry set forth a scheme for promoting propagation of solar photo cells, home use FC and EV to homes as well as small and intermediate firms which are effective in CO2 reduction. The ministry support lease purchase of low cost at introduction. These policies are in concrete items in growth strategies "Environmental Economy Growth Vision," and the ministry intends to include them in a new growth strategies to be completed in June by the government. [The Sankei Shimbun, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and the Fuji Sankei Business Eye April 27, 2010].
(2) Government Revitalization Unit
@The government is going to get down in administrative reform, which was inactive after the power replacement. The subdivision for reforming regulations and institutions under the above committee is beginning to review 67 items of regulations for FCV and hydrogen stations. The secretariat for activation of local area in the cabinet secretariat is also making examination of reforming using special area for the same purpose. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) May 7, 2010]
@On My 14, 2010 NEDO announced that it is going to make cooperative frameworks of real use and propagation of FC for vehicles and hydrogen infrastructure with a German organization, Organization for Hydrogen and FC (NOW). The memorandum was going to be signed in Essen, Germany on May 16. In the both countries projects on FCV are now going on assuming FCV propagation start in 2015. NEDO and NOW will make information exchange and sharing of FCV and hydrogen infrastructure for early real use, and these are now under R&D in both organizations for efficient business promotion and international propagation. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Fuji Sankei Business Eye May 15, 2010, The Sankei Shimbun, The Denki Shimbun (electricvity), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chemical Daily May 17, 2010]
2. Policies by Local Governments
(1) Fukuoka Prefecture
@"Hydrogen Energy Test and Research Center" the first Japanese center to support development of products necessary for cultivating hydrogen energy industry was opened, and the opening ceremony was held at the Center in Itojima Research Park, Itojima city, Fukuoka prefecture with about 130 related attendees. The is one of the activities done by Fukuoka Strategy Conference for Hydrogen Energy, and it is a public legal person invested total money by the prefecture and operated by the congress.. Endurance tests of valves, pipes and sensors to be used in FCV and hydrogen stations will be made, and support for products development and worldwide standardization will also be done. Two one-story houses of total area of about 2,000 m2 were built, and 12 laboratories are equipped with 1,000 atmosphere compressor, vibrators, etc. [The Nishinihon Shimbun April 29, 2010 and The Chemical Daily May 6, 2010]
(2) Osaka Prefecture
@Osaka Prefecture organized the executive committee of "Osaka New Energy Forum" to actively appeal activities of the prefecture in propagation of EV, introduction of FC etc. The forum is also intending to provide attendees with chances for information exchange to create innovation by positive circulation. Experts of EV etc. will be invited from about 20 countries, and 10,000 participants are expected. [The Osaka Nichinichi Shimbun May 5, 2010]
(3) Okayama Prefecture
@To cultivate batteries related industry, which draws attention as a growing fundamental industry, in Okayama prefecture, the prefecture office is going to establish a research group in June gathering members from governmental, industrial and academic fields. Items of research are 3 fields, i.e., solar cells, FC and large capacity secondary batteries. Development of organic solar cells, for which large cost reduction is expected, is goal for solar cells, and as for FC possibility to enter to this new field is the theme because of large number of related components. Secondary batteries are thought to be fundamental and essential components for EV. [The San-yo Shimbun May 9, 2010]
3. Technology Development Related with SOFC
@Prof. Senda and his group of Doshisha University developed a system and started full experiment. In this self-sufficient system electric power produced with solar photo cells are used for electrolysis to get hydrogen, which is stored in cylinders. Electric power and heat are produced together with SOFC using stored hydrogen and town gas.. Recently solar cells are propagated, but for a family who is out of house in the day time efficient self-sufficiency is difficult, because of expensive batteries. By using this type of system about 15% self-efficiency is possible for 4 person family using exhausted heat and electric power, they said. [The Sankei Shimbun May 10, 2010]
4. PEFC Elementary Technologies Development and Business Deployment
(1) Nisshinbo Chemical Inc.
@This company started operation of Chiba Factory, a new factory for producing PEFC separators. Transfer machines are automated and the productivity increases several times, so that it can cope to future demand increase and cost reduction. As to separators for home use PEFC, this company is the monopoly and shares 100% of market. The capacity in 2012 fiscal year is going to increase several times compared with that in 2009 fiscal year. Chiba Factory can increase production to over 6 million sheets, and it can produce not only those for stationary FC but also for FCV. However, separators market for FCV is very large, and required specification and cost are different, so that specific process in a new factory is thought to be necessary. [The Chemical Daily April 27, 2010]
(2) Du Pont
@The company developed new ion exchange membrane of high strength and 20 times longer life, and it was going to sell it since after half of May in the world. They elucidated degradation mechanism in its operation and improved it by chemical treatment. Furthermore, dimensional change by swelling is depressed with reinforcement. The new product "XL-100 membrane" makes long life in real severe environment of eco-cars. When separation of oxygen and hydrogen is not enough in FC, hydrogen peroxide forms, from which radical is formed and damages the membrane to degrade the FC. The company elucidated the mechanism of radical attacking and managed to decrease the membrane degradation. Humidity/load cycle test showed us the life elongated 20 times and fluorine dissolution becomes 1/40 compared with conventional ones. Reinforcement depresses dimensional change by swelling. The thin polyethylene membrane (several tens micron m) sandwiches, so that handling becomes easy. The price becomes high by 20 - 30%, but even using hydrocarbon electrolyte membrane, but superiority of the new one is clear. The new membrane was going to be sold for eco-friendly cars, home use FC and DMF.C. [The Chemical Daily May 12, 2010]
(3) Sumitomo Metal Industries
@The company succeeded in operation of PEFC of 700 W using metallic separators under development. A unique design of stacks is adopted, and demonstration of 650 hours was succeeded. The company intends to improve the performance and to support FC development from a stand point of a materials maker. The metallic separators of the company has unique structure that it is stainless steel foils of 100 - 200 micron m., and electro-conductive fine metallic deposits are uniformly distributed in the metal. This deposits break inactive film formed on the steel plate. The deposits in the steel becomes road for electric current to decrease contact resistance, while it can be used as separators without surface treatment because of the inactive film. The demonstration test was done with PEFC of 21 cell stack. In this cell stack the separators developed by the company, gaskets of ethylene propylene rubber (EPDM) and others developed with other companies are used as unique components. The home use PEFC of 700 W was operated for 1,300 hours including stops in the night and the holidays. The company aims at real use of the separators they developed for FCV and also for stationary use. The company intends to use know-how obtained together with other components to actively support improvement of PEFC. [The Chemical Daily May 14, 2010]
(4) Ibazraki University and Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute
@On May 17, 2010 the above two organizations developed PEFC system using deuterium as fuel and demonstrated that the electric generation efficiency increases by about 4% compared with conventional FC using usual hydrogen. By downsizing of the system and performance improvement, it would be applied to underwater power sources, such as submarines and observation system in deep sea, which need high performance using fuel efficiently stored in a small space. By using deuterium instead of usual hydrogen, the system shows by 30 mV increase in electromotive force (about 4% increase,) and the output is 0.73 V. Deuterium occurs 0.015% in natural water and it is obtained by electrolysis. It is not radioactive so that handling is not difficult. Deuterium gas can be obtained, and it can repeatedly used in the circulation. Experiments are going to be done in this year to conform if it is used in "Urashima," a deep sea observing vehicle of Ocean Research and Development Organization. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Chemical Daily May 18, 2010 and The Denki Shimbun (electricity) May 20, 2010]
5. Enefarm Business
(1) Town gas companies
@Town gas companies are expanding Enefarm selling systems and major 4 companies intend to increase sold sets 4,900 sets in 2010 fiscal year (by 42.7% increase compared with 2009 fiscal year). In addition to this, they are going to develop new models of low price and small size. Total set number of 4 companies in 2009 fiscal year is 3,434 sets (completed contracts). Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. is planning 2,500 sets by 700 sets increase, Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. 1,700 sets by 400 sets increase, Toho Gas Co., Ltd. 500 sets by 250 set increase, and Saibu Gas Co., Ltd. 200 sets by 110 sets increase. The subsidy will be continued, but the upper limit will be 1.3 million yen by 0.1 million yen decrease. Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. decreases installation cost by 0.1 million yen to compensate the above decrease in the subsidy. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) April 28, 2010]
(2) Shizuoka Gas Co., Ltd.
@Since May 1, 2010 the company begins to recommend combination of the following equipments for customers' comfortable life; solar photo generation, Enefarm, Ecowill gas cogeneration system, and high efficient hot water supplier. [The Shizuoka Shimbun April 29, 2010]
6. Forefront of EV and FCV
(1) Beijing Motor Show
@Beijing Motor Show, which is among the world largest motor shows, was held on April 23 - May 2, 2010 in Beijing. In the last year China sold the most cars in the world, so that companies' sales strategy in China has influence on sales profit of motor companies. Therefore many executives of Japanese companies visited the show and PR of eco-friendly cars like HV, EV etc. are made. The area of the show is about 200,000 m2 and it is 10 times larger than Japanese Motor Show.. About 2,100 companies join from Japan, US, Europe and China, and 990 cars are shown. Cars shown first in this show are 89 and 5 cars are from China. [The Mainichi Shimbun April 23, 2010]
(2) Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
@EV is thought to be a cinch in next generation eco-friendly cars and its propagation is activated gradually. In December the company began to sell 5 passenger cars "Leaf" at the price of 2.99 million yen (practically with governmental subsidy). Mitsubishi Motor Co. Ltd. also downs price of EV by about 620,000 yen. The prices of EV are reduced to about the same of gasoline engine cars, so that the choice is expanded for consumers. In the "Leaf" high performance lithium ion batteries are installed, and it can run 160 km or more by one charge. The maximum speed is over 140 km/h, and sales goal in 2010 fiscal year is 6,000. In 2012 production strongholds of EV and the batteries will be operated in Japan, US and Europe, and 500,000 sets of the batteries are being planned annually. The batteries will be supplied to Renault and other automobile makers, aiming at price reduction by mass production. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) April 23, 2010]
(3) Mitsubishi Motor Co., Ltd.
@Since April 1, 2010 the company reduced the price of its i-MiEV at 3.98 million yen which is equal to 2.84 million yen with subsidy. Since October they are going to be supplied by OEM to Peugeot Citro?n Group (PSA), and total 100,000 are planned to be supplied. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) April 23, 2010]
(4) GS Yuasa, Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsubishi Motor Co., Ltd.
@A company named "Lithium Energy Japan" (Kyoto city), to which the above three companies invested, is going to construct a new factory for lithium ion batteries for EV in Rinto city, Shiga prefecture, investing 37.5 billion yen, and to establish production system for annual production of 50,000. The operation is expected to start in April of 2012. The batteries will be supplied to other companies than i-MiEV. [The Nikkei Sazngyo Shimbun (economyand industry) April 23, 2010]
(5) Toshiba Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.
@Toshiba Corp. is going to complete a new factory for lithium ion batteries in Kashiwazaki city, Niigata prefecture investing 25 billion yen, and supply will be started in February of 2011. Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd., which produces the most batteries in the world, is also planning a new R&D building for these batteries and it will be completed in November. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun April 23, 2010]
(6) Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. and General Motors
@The above two companies have a plan to begin commercial production of FCV by 2015. Hydrogen is charged directly into the tanks, so that it is more convenient than EV, which needs long charging time. However the cost is high as it is for home use FC. Technologies for electric generation with little platinum catalyst and hydrogen tank for storing large amount of hydrogen at high pressure are carried out. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) April 23, 2010]
(7) Toyota Motor Co., Ltd.
@The company made it clear that the production cost of the present FCV can be reduced by about 90% in comparison with that in the middle of 2000. Furthermore it stated a forecast that it is possible to reduce the retail price of the first commercial FCV to about 50,000 US dollar (about 4.7 million yen). In a interview Mr. Masuda, an Executive, said that the first FCV with charged hydrogen will be a sedan, whose range is in the same order of gasoline engine cars. The cost is expected a little higher than that of gasoline cars. [The Fuji Sankei Business Eye May 7, 2010]
7. Technology Development and Business Deployment of Hydrogen Station
(1) Yokohama Rubber Co. and Iwatani Gas Co.
@Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. developed hose for 70 MPa hydrogen gas in cooperation with Iwatani Gas Co., Ltd. By using special synthetic fiber for reinforcement, endurance against hydrogen is improved. It is light and flexible, so that it is characteristic point that it can be easily carried and handled in charging operation. The company intends to apply it to other various high-pressure fields using high sealing characteristics as well as dispenser. In many conventional 70 MPa high pressure hose, steel wire is used for reinforcement, hydrogen is absorbed in the steel wire and strength is decreased by hydrogen enbrittlement. The new product, "ibar HG70" was developed based on high-pressure hose production technology of Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. and industrial gas handling and evaluation technology of Iwatani Gas Co., Ltd. [The Nikkei Shimbun (economy and industry), The Chemical Daily April 23, 2010, The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (autombile) April 26, 2010 and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) April 28k, 2010]
(2) Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
@Anticipating FC propagation, town gas companies are carrying out R&D for constructing hydrogen supply network. Demonstration for hydrogen stations have been done first, and then "local hydrogen network" is made for hydrogen as core energy in the area. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) April 23, 2010]
(3) Mitsubishi Motor Co., Ltd.
@In 2008 FCCJ agreed with FCV that hydrogen supplying stations are going to be made business by 2015, and they decided a course that about 1,000 hydrogen stations shall be set up in Japan by 2015. The Research Association of Hydrogen Supply Utilization Technology started its activities along with the scenario by FCCJ. To do this, the above company is going to prepare construction of commercial hydrogen stations by standardization of high-pressure hydrogen line. .High-pressure hydrogen lines in a hydrogen station is consisting of high-pressure tanks to store hydrogen, compressors to send hydrogen to the tanks and dispensers to charge hydrogen to cars.. Making the standardization, the company will get optimum constitution of these equipments from view points of cost and performances. [The Chemical Daily May 12, 2010]
8. Technology Development of Hydrogen Production and Storage
@Vantec Corp. in Nasushiobara city developed hydrogen forming equipments (electrolysis) using electrodes of 10 year life (2 times longer than conventional ones) and intending its commercialization in this fall. The equipment is a hydro-cube of 2.2 m width, 3.2 m depth and 2 m height. Applying voltage, 120 electrolysis cells electrolyze sodium hydroxide solution, and flowing through a purifier, 99.999% hydrogen is obtained. In cooperation with Utsunomiya University, the company developed amorphous alloy of phosphorus and nickel, and it has about 100,000 times anti-corrosive characteristics compared with stainless steel. By electroplating stainless steel with this alloy, the surface becomes homogeneous and delays corrosion. The electrode life elongates about twice and price of hydrogen is reduced by about 30% to about 200 yen/m3 at 0 and 1 atmosphere. In conventional water electrolysis equipment nickel plated stainless steel is used. In these cases crystalline boundaries are on the surface and electric current mainly flows through the boundaries, so that life by corrosion is 4 - 5 years. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business andtechnology) May 27, 2010]
9. DMFC R&D and its Business
@In series of business, Tokuyama Corp. newly constructed trial production lines of electrolyte membrane for DMFC and anion electrolyte membrane in Tokuyama Factory in Yamaguchi city. Comparing conventional fluorocarbon membrane, the cost performance is good and methanol permeability causing degradation is low. The production line of 10,000 m2 annual production is constructed aiming at early real use. The electrolyte membrane it producing is below half in methanol permeability compared with conventional ones. Low cost and easy customizing are characteristic points. Recently many inquiries are received on electric generators for camping cars from US and Europe. Cost reduction is aimed by using hydrocarbon membrane for portable DMFC generators of 100 - 300 W class. On the other hand anion membrane is being developed for AFC, in which replacement of platinum catalyst by nickel and chromium is possible.. [The Chemical Daily May 10, 2010]
@Sony Corp. developed bio-cells using juice as fuel, and remote controlled cars of toy were made in trial in collaboration with Tomy Co., Ltd.. Applications to personal computers, portable phones, portable music players etc are expected. Through a hole on the upper lid of the can, juice is poured into the cells, and then enzymes decomposes sugar and electrons are extracted. Adopting new enzyme by gene recombination and modifying micro-structure of positive electrodes, the output density of 1.5 mW/cm2 at the beginning of R&D in 2007 is increased to 10 mW/cm2 at present. The size of the developed cells is 4 cm square and about 2 cm thick. The toy car can run for 1 hour by 8 ml juice. The bio-cells are highly safe and fuel can be bought easily. Although the output is about 1/5 compared with FC, high power and long life are aimed at improving enzyme. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 17, 2010]
11. Business by Company
@Porite Co. (Saitama city) supplies metallic separators for small FC which Bloom Energy (California) developed. It is expected that specific production lines are constructed in a factory in Taiwan and mass-production will be started to supply them. The invested money is several billion yen. Bloom Energy is a US major environmental venture and developed container type FC. It is to be sold to companies and local governments for their domestic use. Polite has technology to mold metallic powder to sinter them, and high precision metallic products are their typical ones. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) May 13, 2010]
------------ This edition is made up as of May 20, 2010. ---------------
EA POSTER COLUMN
EU comprehensive strategies for development and propagation of EV
@EU European Committee completed comprehensive strategies for development and propagation of EV. The goal is that charge can be done anywhere and anytime in EU territory. Safety standards will be formulated within the year first, and then standard specification of plugs for charge will be started. In the future system for reusable batteries will be made, and it should be common in EU. EU has huge market of 500 million population and it intends to get initiative making early standardization of plug for quick chargers installed in stands etc.
@It is characteristic points that in the comprehensive strategies the tasks and policies are described on following items and policies; 1) Safety standardization, 2) Standardization of specification, 3) Infrastructure construction such as charging stands, and 4) Utilization of renewable energy, such as wind mills and solar cells. The EU Committee said that its specification standards of charging plugs would be completed by 2011.
@According to the EU Committee, EV would be 30% at maximum in total new car sale. EU Committee thought that economic growth strategy could also be done together with global warming measure and energy measure, and technology innovation measure, by propagation of EV. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 20, 2010]
Alliance in cooperative EV development Between Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. and Tesla Motors Inc.
@On May 20, 2010 the above two companies announced that they are going to tie up in capital and business for cooperative development of EV. Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. invests 50 million dollars (About 4.8 billion yen). They develop EV and it will be produced in the old factory previously used by a joint venture of Toyota motor Co., Ltd. and General Motors Corp.. Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. intends to strengthen competitiveness in advanced environmental field by cooperating with Tesla which is in advance in EV commercialization.
@Toyota's ratio of investment to Tesla seems 2 - 3 %. They are going to make cooperation in development in EV and related components a well as business. Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. will sell the developed cars. Hereafter an expertise team will be established to investigate concrete items of cooperation.
@For the production a part of NUMMI site, which was a site of Toyota - GM venture till April, is purchased by Tesla and it will start production of "Model S" under development by Tesla. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 21, 2010]
Smart Grid Control Technology Demonstration in Cooperation with 25 Companies and 3 Universities
@Twenty five companies including Toshiba Corp., Mitsubishi Electric Co., Ltd. and Kansai Electric Power Co., Ltd. and 3 universities such as Tokyo University, and Tokyo Institute of Technology begin demonstration of next generation electrical network (smart grid). It is a project by governmental, academic and private sectors leaded by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and it is a project of about 2,billion yen and 3 years. Using model houses using solar photo-cells and EV, real system for controlling electric power for optimized use.. Hitachi Corp., Tokyo Electric Power Co., Ltd., Itochu Corp., Mitsubishi Motor Co., Ltd. Daikin Industries will join and the cost will be shared half-and-half by companies and governmental and academic sectors.
@In campuses of Tokyo University, houses are going to be built with heat pump hot water suppliers, solar panels and EV. Surplus power is used by a electric power company to heat hot water and to store in batteries etc. by sending order to control the power and to stabilize voltage. Other equipments will also be tested. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun May 22, 2010]