(1) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
@The Ministry decided to invite International Energy Agency Congress in 2014 in Tokyo, raising three concepts, i.e. safety and relief; environment and energy; and social infrastructure. Related meetings are going to be held in concentrated way, and discussion on standardization will be leaded in the fields where social needs and markets needs are high in worldwide, while Japanese technological powers can be made fully used. Final decision is going to be done in general assembly of JISC in September and the invitation will be made in October in IEC 2010 congress to be held in Seattle, US. The contents in the three concepts are energy saving technology, urban development using smart grids,, highly sophisticated infrastructure or railways etc., electrical vehicles, batteries, FC etc. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Sept. 30, 2010]
(2) Innovation Network Corporation of Japan
@In cooperation with private firms, the above organization is going to establish "intelligent properties fund" in this year to buy unused patents possessed by universities and research institutes and it is also the purpose to transfer the technologies to venture firms etc. It is also the aim to promote real use of advanced Japanese technologies and to improve international competitiveness. The objectives are FC, Nano-technology, Life science, next generation lithium ion batteries, solar photo-generation, "photo-switch," namely the principle device in next generation photo-communication, etc. Collaboration will be made with JST, which manages unused patents. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Aug. 5, 2010 and The Asahi Shimbun Aug. 7, 2010]
@On pre-requite of buying whole renewable energy resources, the ministry is going to renewal subsidy institution since 2011. The objectives are concentrated to solar heat, snow and ice, temperature difference utilization, natural gas co-generation, FC and so on. Whole amounts of solar photo-generation, windmill generation etc. are already bought, so that they becomes out of the objective. [The Chemical Daily Aug. 6, 2010 and The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Aug. 10, 2010]
(3) Ministry of Environment
@To reduce global worming gas exhaustion from homes, the ministry decided a policy on Aug. 24, 2010 that subsidy is going to be given to companies leasing eco-friendly products, and about 1 billion yen is capitalized in the draft of the next year budget. This is called "Eco-lease project" and it will be presented to the special items in "policies contest." When a leasing company purchases eco-friendly goods, like solar panels, high-efficiency hot water suppliers and EV, part of the money would be subsidized. [TheYomiuri Shimbun Aug. 25, 2010]
2. Policies by Local Governments
(1) Fukuoka Prefecture
@Fukuoka Prefecture started construction of Kitakyushu hydrogen town, which is planned for area of trial hydrogen utilization, and it is done together with the Research Association of Hydrogen Utilization Technology (located in Tokyo) and others. In 2010 fiscal year they will install FC at 7 condominiums, 3 model houses, 1 commercial facility and so on, total 13 sites, and demonstration is going to be started. Kitakyushu Hydrogen Station, an FC forklift and an FC assisted bicycle will be operated in the town. Hydrogen is going to be supplied directly from Yahata Works of Nippon Steel Corp. with a 10 km pipe line together with further 3 km pipe line will be built. The total expense is estimated roughly 1.5 billion yen. Fukuoka Prefecture already completed Fukuoka Hydrogen Town in 2008 fiscal year and energy saving effect is now being examined. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) July. 30, 2010]
(2) Hokuriku Clean Energy Research Group
@On Aug. 25, 2010, the above research group makes light up demonstration using recovered hydrogen in the lawn square on the west exit of Fukui JR station. Hydrogen is formed by reaction of aluminum waste like aluminum coated packs. The Hydrogen Division of the Group developed technology to separate pure aluminum from the waste and to produce hydrogen in a cartridge type reactor. Aluminum waste is recovered by cooperation with local government, resident organization, etc. This is the second demonstration. In this second demonstration hydrogen producing equipments are open to public and hydrogen is produced by the reaction of aluminum and sodium hydroxide. With FC connected to the reactor, LED emits light, which illuminates replicas of dinosaur and posters of special exhibitions by the Prefectural Dinosaur Museum. [The Fukui Shimbun Aug. 26, 2010]
(3) Hyogo Prefecture
@Hyogo Prefecture announced that it decided to sell a part of Shio-ashiya to Sekisui House Corp. for environment-conscious houses (Eco-town).. The company is going to construct houses with EneFarm and/or solar panels and to sell them since January 2011. [TheKensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction) Aug. 26, 2010]
3. SOFC R&D
(1) Tokyo University
@Collaborative Research Center for Energy Engineering of Tokyo University established "Energy Engineering Research Unit" for low-carbon society by donation by Tokyo Electric Power Co., Ltd. For 3 years since now, research of roadmaps toward low-carbon society is going to be done. They also are going to research highly sophisticated large-scale renewable energies, while they intend to cultivate personnel to contribute industrial sector. Prof. Hashimoto and Prof. Hara are major in this unit. In highly sophisticated power generation, high generating efficiency from 53 % at present to over 65 % is aimed at, with combination of a gas turbine and a steam turbine with SOFC. In the case of coal it will be used as clean gas fuel by combination with coal gasification, and 55 % efficiency is aimed at. If all domestic power generation facilities were changed to these schemes, annually 216 million ton of CO2 exhaustion would be reduced. In the research optimization of shearing ratio among three is to be investigated. Fundamental research of SOFC will be done, and furthermore, they will investigate the case that 30 % of wood is mixed in coal gasification. Gasification and liquefaction will be tried to make liquid fuel. Strategic roadmaps will be made to achieve target of Japanese government, i.e., 25 % CO2 reduction by 2020. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun Aug. 7, 2010 and The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun Aug. 9, 2010]
@The above company in Tokyo developed diffusion bonding method of alloy for SOFC separators. Alloy for SOFC is not good for diffusion joint, but by using stainless steel of ferrite base, anti-pressure strength of 0.3MPa was realized. In diffusion jointing two metal peaces are pressed in high-temperature vacuum furnace, and the atoms diffused each other through the jointed surface. Complicated channels are formed by stacking metal plates. Thus supplied gas increases reacting surface. Thus diffusion joint can be used for SOFC separators. When the joint is not enough, it causes gas leakage. Two alloys are successful; one is stainless steel "ZMG" of ferrite base by Hitachi Metals and the other is "crofer" of VUM by German Thyssenkrup. In both alloys metallic atoms do not easily diffuse, but "SUS430" of controlled surface roughness is sandwiched between the separators. Atoms in stainless steel diffuse each other and thus forms good joint. Price for trial manufacturing is from 0.5 million Yen, and annually 50 million yen is anticipated. Future demand for R&D will be explored.. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Aug. 20, 2010]
4. EneFarm Business
(1) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
@On Aug. 11, 2010 the company announced that it is going to construct "Smart House," a condominium in combination with a solar heat hot water supplier, solar photo-generators, FC etc. and it will be used as houses for employees to demonstrate its performance, and. in addition to this, the company start to investigate for promoting introduction to cleaning factories and supply energy to business buildings. Discussion will be started on thermal recovery energy In "Yokohama Smart City Project" by Yokohama City supported by the government, the company is going to build over 20 apartment houses of 14 stories for the company employee in Isogo Ward, Yokohama city. On the roof a 10 kW solar panel, solar heat collectors are installed on each building. and several balcony installation type gas hot water system using solar heat "SOLAMO" and 10 sets of EneFarm will be introduced. These are managed with home use energy management system (HEMS), and renewable energy is used with preference. By this management 30 % of conventional CO2 exhaustion is reduced. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) 9 Aug. 12, 2010 and The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Aug.24, 2010]
(2) Sekisui House Corp.
@Since September, a branch of the above company in Okayama city is going to begin sale of comfortable house set plan, i.e., a solar photo-generating system of roof tile type, EneFarm, security service and a stainless built-in kitchen. [The Sanyo Shimbun Aug. 5, 2010]
@Kanagawa sales head office of the above company was going to sell an environment conscious house "Green First LED-Kanagawa" which is a set of LED illumination, an EV charger, Solar cells and FC. In a case of about 130 m2 and 4 persons, CO2 exhaustion could be zero in awakening time. About 4 million of initial payment is necessary, but it could be recovered for about 10 years by the effect of sale of electric power and energy saving, they said. The initial annual sale target is 200, and three years after it aims at 500. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Kanagawa Shimbun Aug. 18, 2010 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Aug. 25, 2010]
@The company intends to increase installation of EneFarms to 2,400 sets in the first quarter of 2011. It also intends to increase sale of "Green First Premium" which makes CO2 emission zero by appealing advantage of double generation. Its highest class environment conscious house is about 37 million yen (total floor area over 140 m2). The business will be made mainly in Capital area, Chubu area and Kinki area. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Aug. 25, 2010]
(3) Sumitomo Forestry Co., Ltd.
@The company begins to sell its new wooden houses, "New Solabo" in which introduction of solar cells, EneFarm, ECOWILL etc. is possible without any change in the previous model. The price per 3.3 m2 is over 580,000 yen including tax. [The Mainichi Shimbun Aug. 19, 2010]
(4) Fuel Cell Association
@According to publication of Fuel Cell Association, application to subsidy for home and business FC at the end of July, 2010 is 1,307 sets (town gas specification 1,182 sets and LP gas specification 125 sets).. The numbers in each prefecture are 266 sets in Tokyo, 209 sets in Kanagawa, 145 sets in Hyogo, 113 sets in Osaka and 109 sets in Aichi. This subsidy is financial support to users and leasing companies of home use FC EneFarm. Continuing from 09 Fiscal Year, it still is continuing in 10 fiscal years. [The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) Aug. 19, 2010]
5. Forefront of FCV and EV
(1) Japan Post Service Co., Ltd.
@In 2011 the above company is going to purchase a good number of EV from a venture, Zero Sports. It purchases 1,000, which is 1/3 of annual renewal. The large number as this is not seen in the past contracts. Barriers to start EV business are relatively low, so that mall ventures are possible to raise them in competition with large companies. Zero Sports developed its EV on base of light cars by Fuji Heavy Industries Corp. Other main components like lithium ion batteries, motors etc. are purchased from domestic producers. Assembly is done at a factory in Aichi Prefecture. The price is by 20 - 30% lower than those by large companies. It can run over 1000 km by one charge of about 8 hours, while collection and delivery can be done together with other cargo, and a large room for cargo is one of features.[The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Aug. 16, 2010]
(2) Chinese Government
@Chinese government decided its policy that for promotion of new energy vehicles, EV as a main, and about 100 billion Yuan (about 1.3 trillion yen) is going to be invested. By the strategy that domestic producers are supported financially, 5 million new energy cars would be propagated in 2020. Ministry of Industry and Information made a draft of "Development Plan for New Energy Vehicle and Energy Saving Car Industry" and it is now in its final coordination. EV and PHV are thought to be cores. On base of governmental policy, major national firms will be organized in the near future. Beside Chinese First Automobile Group in Jilin Province, Manchuria and other major firms, Chinese Petrochemical Industry Group, which is developing batteries and charging station, in Beijing and others (total 16 firms) will join the group. The background of governmental support is their hope to raise worldwide firms (an executive). As to hybrid cars, which use gasoline too, and other energy saving cars, 20 billion Yuan will be invested for development and subsidy. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Aug. 17, 2010]
(3) Asakusa Samba Carnival
@On Aug. 28, 2010 in "The 30th Asakusa Samba Carnival, FCV "FCX Clarity" was going to lead the parade at the front. After the parade the car will be displayed in a commercial facility "ROX." [The Mainichi Shimbun 24, 2010]
(4) Toyota Motor Corp.
@On Aug. 25, 2010 the company announced a plan to improve mileage of passenger cars to be sold worldwide by 5 % in 2015 fiscal year, compared with 2009 fiscal year. The company had improved the mileage by 19 % from 2005 fiscal year to 2009 fiscal year, so that the goal for 2015 fiscal year would be 25 % improve, compared with that for 2005 fiscal year. The objectives are passenger cars and hybrid cars to be sold in Japan, US, China and Europe. Total hybrid sold in the beginning of 2010 is 5 million cars, and the goal could be got, if the goals of PHV and EV, which are rechargeable by home power sources are achieved. The company has a plan to commercially sell PHV and EV, and it is aimed at that FCV would become commercially available by 2012. In Environment- conscious plans, CO2 exhaustion per one car production should be decrease 29 % in 2012, fiscal year compared with that in 2001 fiscal year (worldwide). In Japan 37 % reduction is planned. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Aug. 26, 2010]
6. Technology Development for Hydrogen Production and Purification
(1) Kobellco-Solutions Co., Ltd.
@The above Company in Kobe city announced that it delivered on-site hydrogen and oxygen production equipment and delivered it to Japan Atomic Power Company. In the equipment solid polymeric electrolyte membrane is used, and pure water is electrolyzed to form pure hydrogen (99.999 % purity) and oxygen (99.9 % purity). The company intends to expand usages like hydrogen stations for FCV, home use FC etc. [The Kobe Shimbun July 29, 2010 and The Tekko Shimbun (iron and steel) Aug. 5, 2010]
(2) Kogakuin University
@Prof. Saika of Kogakuin University developed a reactor by which hydrogen is formed safely and efficiently from ammonia. Combining heating and catalytic reaction, liquid ammonia is decomposed to hydrogen and residual ammonia is dissolved in water to supply hydrogen only. Because ammonia is toxic, circulation is adopted in the system. The heater and the catalyst are unified to form electric heating catalyst. Catalyst of ruthenium and alumina is used, and its structure is honeycomb. Thus ammonia is decomposed efficiently. A trial reactor was made and it was confirmed that with 10 L ammonia 10 hours continuous operation is possible with 1.2kW FC. Comparing high-pressure hydrogen, a tank is small, so that applying this feature, technology will be developed. The professor said "By using ammonia from wasted deeply fried food and ammonia recovered from sewage of domestic animals, total income should be balanced with expenses." [The Chemical Daily Aug. 11, 2010]
7. Development of Batteries Using Hydrogen
@Takasago Thermal Engineering Co., Ltd developed batteries using hydrogen with hydrogen supplying function. This is developed in cooperation with Daiki Ataka Engineering Co., Ltd. and Agency of Industrial Science and Technology. It is consisted of cells commonly used for water electrolysis and FC, storing tanks of water and hydrogen. The power output is 3 kW. The company uses it as an auxiliary power source. The company used it and by this experience applicability as rechargeable power sources are confirmed. Downsizing of periphery equipment like pump will be studies for real use. Emergency power sources, power storage in night to release it in day-time and hydrogen production for FCV are investigated. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Aug. 25, 2010]
8. Business of FC Main Body and Related Components
(1) Consec Co., Ltd.
@The above company manufacturing tools for construction in Hiroshima city begins full examination toward FC mass production. High-efficiency was observed using an equipment developed with Waseda University, so that there are possibilities to make competitive products and real products would be produced within 2 or 3 years in collaboration with Waseda University and XNET Corp., a company developing illumination devises in Tokyo. By irradiating electron beam to electrolyte membrane, power output increases 3- 5 times, so that they think commercialization of this technology should be done. Waseda University began to make trial equipment, and hereafter, they will look for partners like hydrogen container makers. The company aiming at producing small equipment for home appliances like a television set. The price is assumed 3.05 million yen. To reduce assembling cost .a subsidiary Chinese company is under consideration. [The Chugoku Shimbun Aug. 10, 2010]
(2) Hagiwara Work
@The above company is a maker of small pumps, water treatment equipments in Suwa machi, Nagano, and now it is carrying out small sensors for home FC. Its new sensor detects CO2 babble in water to control amounts of fuel and water for reducing babbles formation. It is said that the babbles formed in area of reaction of oxygen and hydrogen decreases efficiency and damages FC. The sensors are simple in structure and low cost, and useful in energy saving and also space saving. Nagano Technology Foundation selects it in technology seeds incubation business. [The Shinano Mainichi Shimbun Aug.10, 2010]
(3) Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
@The company is going to begin mass production of "Micro-blower" a small blowing devise using piezoelectric ceramics .since this fall. This is small air blowing system based on its own technology. It intends to apply them to cooling of small mobile devises, air pump for FC etc. The micro-blower is consisted of piezoelectric body with diaphragm in resonance, room for pump to store air, and a nozzle. Piezoelectric plate is pasted on a diaphragm and they are vibrated. Thus capacity of the pump room changed and it works as a pump. Continuous air blowing is possible, and it increases cooling effect. Hot air can be blown. The geometry is 2 mm in depth, 2 mm in width and 1.86 mm in height, and the nozzle pressure is 2 kPa at 15 V drive. Air is blown at the rate of 1 L/min. [The Chemical Daily Aug. 12, 2010]
(4) Kikuchi Seisakusyo Co., Ltd.
@Kikuchi Seisakusyo Co., Ltd., a maker of precise parts and mold in Tokyo, is going to sell micro-pumps to control little liquid flow. By spring of 2011 low-price disposable micro-pumps in which stainless steel is used instead of silicone will be sold. The company anticipates demand for tools to flow small amount of liquid in medical and analytical apparatus and in small FC. It was developed applying devise technology related small amount of liquid, which posses a German research institute, Fraunhofer IZM. The size is 7 mm square and 1 mm high and it can be put on a finger top. The shape is a chip and used in micro-FC etc. By applying electric current it deforms. and vibrating deformation drive the pumps. The pressure is 50 kPa at the maximum and the rate is 1.5 mL/min. Kikuchi work has made one by one, but technology to joint multiple metallic layers was developed, so that mass production to make multiple sheet from on sheet is in sight. The production cost is reduced to about 1/10 compared with conventional ones, they said. Hereafter smooth flow of liquid will be repeatedly tested with other characteristics. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (eibint abd industry) Aug. 26, 2010]
------------ This edition is made up as of August 26, 2010. ---------------
A POSTER COLUMN
Examination and Experimental Exploration on Multi-Purpose Utilization of Coal Gasification
@Osaki-Cool Gen ( Hiroshima city) , to which Chugoku Electric Power Co., Ltd. and J Power co-invested, established a research group to examine possibilities of coal gasification. Its first meeting is going to be held on July 30, 2010 in Tokyo. Total 8 members join from steel, chemistry, gas and coal industries including academic experts. The applications to fuel substitute and hydrogen production will be explored besides electric power generation.
@In the development of the coal gasification in Japan, there are two systems, "air blowing" and "oxygen blowing". The former is excellent in electric power generation. The latter is expected to be developed into "IGFC", a triple combined electric power generation of GT, FC and ST. The oxygen blowing system is thought to be applicable, and oxygen blowing system can be used in fuel substitutes like oil, natural gas etc. In Osaki project electric power generation technology for oxygen blowing coal gasification and optimum model for CO2 recovery technology are examined and tested for 2 years from 2010 fiscal years. Furthermore, demonstration will be done using 170 MW plant since 2016 fiscal year for 3 years. Then, CO2 recovery equipment will be added, and demonstration will be made for about 3 years. [The Denki Shimbun(electricity) July 27, 2010 and The Fuji Sankei Busines Eye July 28, 2010]
Development of Lithium Ion Batteries of Quick Charge, , Large Capacity and Long Life
@Batteries makers and their materials makers, such as Mitsubishi Chemical Industry Co., Ltd., and GS Yuasa Corp. developed technologies for improving lithium ion batteries (LIB) performances successively. By development of LIB materials, quick charge, large capacity and long life are achieved as next generation batteries and real use on board in 2 - 3 years is anticipated. Japanese companies have 80 % share in the world for instances electrode materials and insulating materials. However, there still technology tasks remain unsolved. Competing with Korean and Chinese firms is strong. Japanese companies confirmed that they improved electrode materials and other materials, and they got materials whose performances are over the conventional ones. At present recharging takes 15 hours, but they succeeded in shortening it to one night (10 hours ), and present life of several year would become longer (over 10 years).
@Mitsubishi Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. improved hole shape of pores in insulating materials., and for negative electrode inexpensive natural graphite is used, so that it can be charged at 1.5 times higher rates and it can run nearly 100 km by 40 min. charging. Toda Industry co., Ltd. developed technology to increase batteries capacity 1.5 times by using 3 component materials for positive electrode. Nihon Zeon Co., Ltd. developed rubber materials, by which decreasing of batteries performance is suppressed. GS Yuasa Co., Ltd. succeeded in making high-performance by using ferro-lithium phosphate batteries in positive electrode and it made high performance batteries of long life and they do not degrade by repeated charges and discharges. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun ]Aug. 10, 2010]
Ethanol Production from Cellulose Bio-mass Like Rice Straw Increases 30 %
@Prof. Kondo et al in Kobe University developed technology by which gasoline substitute bio-ethanol is efficiently produced from non-editable plant cellulose like rice straw. Bio-ethanol is made by yeast. Final production increases by about 30 %, they said. Real application is intended for mass-production.
@In a case of producing bio-ethanol cellulose is converted to succharoid by enzyme, and then it is changed to ethanol by yeast. Prof. Kondo and his group made enzyme formed on yeast surface, and then change from cellulose to ethanol proceeds at the same time. To do this the yezst is developed by gene technology The temperature range for the enzyme to be active is from 45 - 50 , and in this temperature range yeast does not make ethanol, so that the yeast was replaced by varieties strong to high temperature. When it is tried at 48 , the ethanol production is increased by 30 %.
@Yeast becomes inactive when ethanol concentration becomes over definite concentration. The activity should increase in high concentration, and they intend real application. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Aug. 23, 2010]
A New Industry Creation Program of 500 Billion Yen Using26 Million Bio-mass
@On Aug. 28, 2010 outline of fundamental program for full use of bio-mass was made clear. The goal of the program is 2020. Intension of the program is as follows. Using woods and wasted food left in forest after thinning of forest (26.6 million tons of bio-mass, which is equivalent to 10 % of crude oil consumed in one year) new industry of 500 billion yen scale would be created.
@The program was approved in September in a meeting of Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Cabinet Office etc. and it is going to be approved in October.
@Trial use of wood chips, which the government pays attention, is to burn them with coal in thermal power plants and it is now propagating. In 2011 fiscal year Tokyo Electric Power Co., Ltd. is going to introduce it to Hitachi Naka Thermal Power Plant in Tokai village. Tohoku Electric Power Co., Ltd. is also going to introduce it to Sakata Cooperative Thermal Power Plant, which is managed with a subsidiary company.
@In the creation of the new industry, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery are in cooperation and electric power by solar cells and bio-mass will be purchased as a whole without limit by electric power companies since 2012 fiscal year. For suppressing use of fossil fuel, domestic environmental industry should be incubated. The amount of bio-mass usage would increase 10 % from 2009 fiscal year to 2020 fiscal year.
@In the fundamental program increase in utilization ratio of food waste from sewage are described together with fertilizer. The goal is clearly written. Food waste 27 % at present to 40 % and sewage 77 % to 85 %.
@In new research fuel, promotion of fuel development is proposed. Oil from alga in lakes is described. Oil in alga growing at high rate can be extracted and used it as fuel instead of petroleum. It is intended to develop new substitute energy to be able to use replacing gasoline and kerosene for automobile, aircraft. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun 28, 2010]