`Hydrogen Formation from Wood Bio-Mass Such as Thinned Trees`

Arranged by T. Homma
1. National Policies
2. FC Certification and Related Information of Certification
3. Policies by local governments
4. Policies by Oversea Governments
5. Development of FC Related Elementary Technologies
6. Trends in SOFC Development
7. EneFarm Business
8. FCV Forefront
9. Technology Development of Hydrogen Production and Purification
10. FC Related Business

1. National Policies
@On Oct. 15, 2010 the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Mr. Ohata met the German Minister of Economy and Technology, Mr. Rainer Bruederle, visiting Japan, talked about reinforcement of economic relations between the two countries. The statement was published on this matter. Through the talk, the two ministers shared visions that the two countries can be mutually important partners, and it was clearly written in the statement that in cooperative demonstration of smart community by fully using next generation cars, and in the statement the two countries started information exchanges, renewable energy, electric vehicles (EV) and fuel cells (FC). In Nov. of 2010 Japanese delegation of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, NEDO and companies is going to visit Germany. Besides these, the two ministers exchanged information about cooperative actions of rare earth stable supply and security and standardization of EV. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Oct. 19, 2010, and The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) Oct. 20, 2010]

2. FC Certification and Related Information of Certification
@The Japan Electrical Manufacturer's Association (JEMA) published the 6th edition of FC certification standard "Criteria and Test Method for Home FC" (common certification criteria). It is shown in the home page. The revised point is in "testing method of network transmission protection devices" and replacement was done in accordance with the method supplied by .Japan Electric Safety and Environment Institute. Moreover, review was done from technical viewpoints, and the terminologies are become consistent with JIS. These criteria are applied to stationary PEFC units and stationary SOFC units of less than 10 kW. [The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) Oct. 18, 2010]

3. Policies by local governments
(1) Inzai city of Chiba Prefecture
@Urban Renaissance Agency is going to maintain north area of Inzai Makinohara station of Hokuso line of Hokuso railway Co., Ltd. as a low carbon area introducing advanced environmental technology. ."Machidukuri Meeting Room," an organization consisting of 11 companies and Inzai City, was established to carry out a project, named "Wander Green Project." Introducing smart grid they aims at 30% reduction of green house effect gas and examine concrete measures, like solar photo energy, wind, and geothermal energy. Beside the above renewable energy, introduction of FC and EV and positive maintenance of all-electrification houses are promoted. To realize delivery of electric power in the area, introduction of smart grid is taken into account. [The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction) Oct. 6, 2010]

(2) Fukuoka city
@Fuikuoka City enlarges common research facility, "Cooperative industrial and Academic Research Center," and it is planned to open in periphery of "Fukuoka Industry-Academia Symphonie" near Ito Campus of Kyushu University. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Oct. 15, 2010]

4. Policies by Oversea Governments
@Korean Knowledge Economy Division announced on Oct.13, 2010 on new investment of 40 trillion won (about 2.9 trillion yen) by cooperation between government and companies. It is to cope with rapid development of Chinese industry in solar photo and wind to promote development of these fields. Items are solar photo generation (20 trillion won), Wind (1 trillion won), FC (9,00 billions won), bio-related fields (900 billion won).and so on. Solar-photo generation will become the second semi-conductor industry and wind energy will be the second ship-building industry. In each field Korea aims at share of 15% in the world. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Oct. 15, 2010]

5. Development of FC Related Elementary Technologies
@On Oct. 5, National Institute for Material Science announced that it developed catalyst technology, by which large amount of rare metals, rhodium and platinum can be reduced. The new catalysts were developed by nano-technology. Using thin hollow spheres (metallic cell), coagulation by heat is reduced in comparison with conventional ones. Metallic catalyst tends to adhesion with each other and melting among themselves by heating, so that generally rare metal is used as an active point and because of this decrease of active points occurs, rare metal is used excessively, and consumption of rare metal is unavoidable... The metallic cells are used as active points. The basic material of the newly developed catalysts is hollow metallic cell, and the metal cells are spheres of 1 micron m surrounded with cell wall, which is fine spheres of 1/100 mm diameter.. The catalytic active points has specific topology protected with cell walls, so that it has superior long life even at high temperature, where conventional catalysts lost the activity. The metallic cell is made by chemical reduction of platinum on surface of polystyrene fine powders in alcohol solution. The synthetic method is simple, and it is applicable to various catalysts like platinum and rhodium. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Chemical Daily Oct.6, 2010]

6. Trends in SOFC Development
@Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd. begins to increase production of zirconia sheets for electrolyte in SOFC. In a factory in Kyushu area it modifies lines in existing facility and additional testing equipments are installed. Anticipating production capacity increase in spring of 2011, the capacity will increase 1.5 times and annual production being 3 million sheets. Since the sales to US Bloom Energy Corp. is being rapidly increased, production increase should be hurried. Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd. began to sell the sheets to Bloom Corp and supplied about 70% of Bloom's consumption. On this occasion the processes of zirconium to sheets and to sinter them to sheets are both reviewed to increase yield ratio and to speed up the lines. At the same time, it is being planned that testing equipments for quality control are increased. The anticipated investment is 400 million yen. In December, 2009 Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd. increased facility for sintering sheets, and the production capacity increased by 3.3 times and annual production became 2 million sheets. The new facility started full production since this spring, and the sales amount from April to September seems to be 1.8 million sheets. In October the existing facilities are assumed full operation, so that the company decided additional investment. The company is evaluated to be one of growing company in energy industry, and the sales amounts in 2010 fiscal year is expected 2 million sheets, which is twice of the previous fiscal year, and the operational gain is expected to turn to surplus. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Oct. 5, 2010]

7. EneFarm Business
(1) Hokkaido Gas Co., Ltd.
@In development of EneFarm for cold climate, commercialization becomes predictable, so that it is going to begin it since 2011 fiscal year. In the first fiscal year, over 30 set would be sold and several thousands set would be sold in the future, competing with all electrification to aim at expanding gas utilization. The company has been making development of cold climate specification with a heater preventing from freezing, which can work - 15Ž with Panasonic Corp. In the beginning test sale was planned and over 30 set was the goal, but because commercialization seems to be early, [The Hokkaido Shimbun Sept. 30, 2010]

(2) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., Yamanashi
@Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., Yamanashi in Kofu city announced on Oct. 1, 2010 that it installed 2 home use FC systems in general homes for monitoring, and the systems are now under testing. The commercial systems sold till now can use only town gas without nitrogen, but the test systems installed in Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., Yamanashi can use it. [The Yamanashi Nichinichi Shimbun Oct. 2, 2010]

(3) JX Nippon Oil and Energy Corp.
@The two companies developed "smart router" in cooperation for connecting dispersed sources, such as solar photo generation, FC, batteries etc. and supplying power efficiently and stably to appliances in home. By connecting sources in DC, the components in the power conditioner are simply connected. Since 2011 fiscal year testing will be done in JX employee's houses. In cooperation with other companies they propagate this concept and aim at commercialization in 2015 fiscal year. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Oct. 4, 2010]

(4) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. and Tabuchi Electric Co., Ltd.
@The above two companies developed in cooperation double power conditioners for combination of EneFarm and solar photo generation. At present these two power sources are separately connected power conditioners for DC AC conversion. By integrating these, cost reduction, low price and down sizing are expected. The power conditioner will be developed for double generation unify inverters to a common inverter. Powers of the two sources are separately identified and operated. Power controller function is installed to charge solar power. Furthermore, the power controller has a function that power by FC does not go to the grid. Compared with installation of different power controllers separately to FC and solar energy, the volume becomes by 40 % reduced. The commercialization is forecasted within 2 - 3 years. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Oct. 8, 2010]

(5) Mitsui Fudosan Residential Co., Ltd.
@The above company announced on Oct. 6, 2010 that its detached houses with EneFarm were going to sell in middle of November. It is "Fine Court Hamadayama." It is consisted of 8 wooden houses of two stories, and the area is from 92 m2 to 99 m2. Enefarms are installed in every house. Daily energy consumption is measured and displayed. The price is about 90 million yen. Since February of 2011 they will be available. The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), Oct7, 2010, The Kensetu Tsushin Shimbun (construction), and The Jutaku Shimpo (residence) Oct. 12, 2010]

(6) NTT Group
@The group is going to propagate "DC Power Supply" which is supplying DC power to Information and Communication Technology equipments. The company has been trying to introduce DC power supply mainly to the data centers of the company. Now technology development is begun together with electric manufacturers and university and it will be used in general homes.. Power by home use solar generation and FC is efficiently used. Comparing with AC supply, electric power supply is 10 % increased and CO2 exhaustion can be reduced at the similar ratio. [The Fuji Sankei Business Eye Oct. 18, 2010]

(7) Four Major Town Gas Companies
@The amount of sales of EneFarm by the 4 town gas companies, i.e., Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. Toho Gas Co., Ltd. and Saibu Gas Co., Ltd. is 3767 set (including order accepted) for the beginning half year of 2010 from April to September. Each company reached over 75 % and increasing steadily. The most set was sold by Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. Its characteristic point is that the sale to detached houses is more than others and over 40 %. As a cause for good trend Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. pointed out "establishment for business system." Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. also begins to organize business system, foreseeing future. In June of 2010, they established "FC promotion team" in planning division of living business department, and function of the technology development was transferred to the living department. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Oct. 19, 2010]

8. FCV Forefront
(1) Daimler - Chrysler
@On Oct. 12, 2010 Mercedes Benz Japan announced that it started running test of small EV "Smart" in Japan. First 3 cars are purchased and tested mainly in Capital area. Since 2011 more than 10 cars and expand testing area will be used, and it is being planned to sell EV in 2012. Lithium ion batteries made by Tesla Motors was installed, and it can run 135 km by one charge at 200 V for 8 hours. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Oct. 13, 2010]
@On Oct. 18, 2010 Mr. Hermann, the director of development department of Mercedes Benz, Daimler - Chrysler Group Research, said on commercial sale of EV "ratio of EV will be increased from large cities like Tokyo, Paris and London." He also said "Development of EV will be carried out in relation with pure EV, FCV and range extenders." He also talked "In Europe EV of A class already is sold. This model will not be exported to Japan, but "line up will be expanded and A class type is a main. Development of EV "will be done in pure electric cars, FCV and range extenders. Thus for short range pure electric cars will be developed and for medium range FCV will be developed. Either will be selected." He postulated importance of diesel from point of view of fuel efficiency, and effort will be made furthermore for diesel engines. "Hereafter development of HV is also expanded." he said. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) Oct. 19, 2010]

(2) Toyota Motor Corp.
@On Oct. 14, 2010 the company announced that HV "Prius" will be open to public in US International Automobile Show to be held in January of 2011 in Detroit. The company has a policy to sell 6 HV varieties including the above in the world. Mr. Edmond, the vice-president of US Toyota Automobile Sales made clear that FCV will be sold in 2015 in addition to HV and EV. [The Yomiuri Shimbun Oct. 16, 2010]

(3) Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
@On Oct. 15, 2010 the company announced that it delivered "FCX Clarity" to Fukuoka Prefecture Office. This model has been sold since November of 2008 by lease. This is the 12th delivery. The period is one year and the lease rate is 840,000 yen per month. This purchase is the first case by a local government. On October 15 ceremony for delivery was held in Fukuoka Prefecture Office. This model is sold by lease in US and the total delivery is 28 in Japan and US. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Nishinihon Shimbun Oct. 16, 2010, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Oct. 18, 2010]

(4) Yamanashi University with Nissan Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
@FC Nano Material Research Center of Yamanashi University (the director of the center is Prof. Watanabe) begins cooperative research with Nissan Motor Corp. in Yokohama and Honda Technology Research Center in Saitama prefecture for real use of FC. The researches are going to carry out on FC performance improvements, production cost reduction and long endurance establishment, and applying the research results by the institute, the research in the center will be done. It is the first case that the center makes cooperative research with automobile makers, and it is said "it will be a fair wind for FCV real use in 2020." With Nissan Motor Corp. catalysts will be studied. At present utilization ratio of catalyst is about 10 % order, and its increase is the task. With Honda Motor Co., Ltd. materials the university has developed are used to make FC, and the FC will be tested to examine their performance ad endurance. In a space for the cooperative research, the center is going to make research. [The Yamanashi Nichinichi Shimbun Oct. 20, 2010]

9. Technology Development of Hydrogen Production and Purification
@Hitachi Zosen Corp. received an order "Fukuoka Bio-Hydrogen Project Oomuta Plant Construction" from Index Eco-Energy in Fukuoka city. It is a commercial plant to get wood bio-mass from thinned trees available in this area.. Highly pure hydrogen of about 7200 m3 can be made from wood of 15 ton. Produced hydrogen will be sold to semiconductor factory etc. The site for the plant is in Oomuta eco-town in Oomuta Kenro-cho, and 5 sections are used. The plant construction started in February of 2010, and ceremony for completion is expected in the end of September. The hydrogen production process is thermal decomposition and gasification in a tower of about 3.5 m in height and then reforming and purification are done. Comparing hydrogen production from LNG, CO2 exhaustion can be reduced by 75 %. [The Kensetsu Kogyo Shibun (construction), The Chemical Daily Oct. 8, 2010, The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction), The Nihon Kaiji Shimbun (maritime) Oct. 12, 2010 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Oct. 15, 2010]

10. FC Related Business
(1) Tokuyama Corp.
@Tokuyama Corp. strengthens activities for new business. Trial FC membrane production line is being introduced in Tokuyama factory by January of 2011, and line-ups of not only cation but also anion are made. Using these advantages, the company is doing research of catalysts except rare metals will be done. [The Chemical Daily Oct. 4, 2010]

(2) Ogura Clutch Corp.
@The company starts component business of exhausted gas purification (DPF) from diesel cars, and it begins to delivery circulation pumps for DPF to European makers. The company is preparing to supply components to multiple domestic and oversea makers. The component supplied for DPF is a blower for pumping air to the equipment. Since the beginning of 2010 the company begins production of hydrogen circulation pumps for FC, and it is making effort for products coping to next generation technology and environment, in addition to components of gasoline engine cars. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Oct. 19, 2010]

(3) Linear Technology Corp.
@The company begins sale of synchronous commutation boosting converter,"LTC3105", in which function of maximum power point control (MPPC) is installed, and it starts at low power voltage of 250 mV.. This product works in wide voltage range, i. e., 0.2 - 5 V. Therefore it is optimum for collecting energy from high impedance alternative power sources, like photovoltaic cells, thermoelectric generator, FC etc. [The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) Oct. 20, 2010]

------------ This edition is made up as of Oct. 20, 2010. ---------------

Toyota Motor Corp. to Develop Systems to Control Electric Power Consumption by Automobiles and Houses
@On Oct. 5, 2010 Toyota Motor Corp. announced that it will develop an information system to control electric power consumption by automobiles and houses, and it would be really used in 2012. It will manage and control solar photo generation, power consumption by electric appliances, remaining battery charge of the car, etc. in a lump to minimize the electric expense for home. The users, for instances, charges PHV, which can be charged in home in the cheapest way and/or the user indicates charge by using portable phone.
@In the beginning of 2012 when PHV is going to become commercially available, service using this new system will be started. "Home Management System" is installed to manage electric consumption in home, and thus PHV and EV are used in combined way. A General Manager, Mr. Kodaira, said in a press conference on Oct. 5, 2010 "For real use of smart grid technology will be established and business models will be made."
@The new system watches always power consumption in home and automobiles and control the power consumption, taking account of electric consumption fare depending on time, weather forecast and life rhythm. For instance, when the automobile is charged, the new system decides whether the electric power is charged by home battery or by night electric power from grid. The system decides inexpensive way from overall viewpoints. Since portable phone can be connected with the information of the system. Information on charging stands and EV range can be sent. With portable phone we can confirm residual power remaining in battery. We can also indicate charging and operation of air conditioner from remote site. Batteries, electric hot water suppliers "Ecocute" and other energy saving equipments can be operated, and also power generation by solar panels can be learned with a portable phone.
@According to the estimation by the company, comparing with a case that a gasoline engine car is used in a general home, annual CO2 exhaustion can be reduced by about 76 %, about 3 tons. Already the system was introduced in real use in the smart grid in Rokkassho village of Aomori prefecture, and repeating similar tests they makes progress for real use. Making use of system used in existing car navigation system, additional investment can be reduced. Until real use price relating with contents would be examined. At the beginning the system would be used only in Toyota cars.
[The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Oct. 6, 2010]

Smart Grid Demonstration in an Advanced Energy Saving House
@A Japanese major home builder will carried out demonstration test, in which smart grid is assumed, and most advanced energy saving technologies are also shown. The location is Yokohama Minato Mirai (MM21), and the exhibition place of ready built houses is assumed a town. Existing exhibition houses are consisted a town as a whole. They are shown in the period of APEC to show high technologies.
@Using a house exhibition place "Yokohama Home Collection" (about 20 houses), power by solar photo-generation is supplied among the houses each other and/or charged EV. Advanced technologies are really introduced into 3 - 4 houses, but facilities managing energy consumption is controlled in a overall town.
@Sumitomo Forestry Co., Ltd. was going to complete a detached house at a section in western part in the end of November. Solar panels, FC, batteries etc. are introduced. Special structure is adopted and opening windows, wind flows through the house. Most advanced building materials of high thermal insulation were used. Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd., and Sekisui House Corp. also show energy saving houses using solar panels and other advanced technologies.
@To really show smart grid scheme for high efficiency energy consumption as a whole, Yokohama City has been making proposition of early propagation of next generation energy system.
[The Kanagawa Shimbun Oct. 14, 2010]

Mega-Solar Generation and Smart Grid Operating in Miyako Island
@Using batteries, a smart grid facility for controlling large amount of renewable energy started to work in Miyako Island of Okinawa prefecture. Okinawa Electric Power Co., Ltd. opened the facilities to public on Oct. 18, 2010.
@Okinawa Electric Power Co., Ltd. constructed a solar photo-generation facility of 4,000 kW with NaS batteries of 4,000 kW. Main facilities such as smart grid controlling system were constructed by Toshiba Corporation. In the island, 4,200kW wind power plant is operating, the generated electric power is used to charge the batteries. The output of thermal power plant was followed to the change of renewable energy change. This load following function is going to be shared partly by batteries, so that the increase in natural energy is possible without increase in the thermal power generation.
[The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Oct. 19, 2010]