(1) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
@In budget draft of Agency of Natural Resources and Energy for 2011, energy related special account is increased by 6.0 % compared with the previous one to 735.6 billion yen. Support for energy saving equipment purchase in industry is increased by 29.3 % to 57.8 billion yen and subsidiary for EV, PHV etc. got twice budget i.e., 20.1 billion yen. Thus low carbon energy demand structure and economical growth are both encouraged. As a policy for smart grids, sophisticated control of solar photo-generation by communication got 8,00 million, and 2 billion yen was allocated to development of large scale batteries. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Feb. 1, 2011]
@The ministry decided to allocate budget for supporting international industrial standardization to next generation vehicles, smart grids etc. at high priority. The ministry will invest expense for industrial associations and companies to make propositions of standardization to ISO, IEC etc. The investment will be increased in these fields of high priority. At the same time number of supported items will be decreased, increasing allocation for each accepted items. Till now about 5 million yen was allocated per one item, but since 2011 fiscal year it would be increased to be 10 - 20 million yen. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Feb. 1, 2011]
@The ministry selected technologies of high priority which Japan shall take initiative in international industrial standardization. These are 13 themes including LED illumination, ultra-high frequency sonic cancer remedy equipment and FC. The government will decide and it will clearly show them as measures to strengthen international competitiveness. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Feb. 7, 2011]
@NEDO will start social demonstration research of hydrogen supply infrastructure for FCV. In 2015, i.e., beginning of propagation, hydrogen station is anticipated 400 million yen for 70 MPa and 300 million yen for 35 MPa. Technology should be in this level. Hydrogen supply cost shall also be 90 yen/Nm3 at standard state of 0 and 1 atmosphere. The budget scale of this demonstration is totally 1.34 billion yen in 2011 fiscal year. Among the budget about 1.2 billion yen is for social technological demonstration (2/3 is paid by NEDO.) and 20 million yen is expected for each local demonstration (see The Latest News no. 177). [The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction) Feb. 8, 2011]
@NEDO completed "Energy Saving Strategy 2011" in which important energy saving technologies in home, business and transportation are pointed out. Comments on this is solicited and accepted since Feb. 24, 2011. In the fields of home, business and transportation, 4 items are described including ZEB and stationary FC. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) 25, 2011 and The Chemical Daily Feb. 28, 2011]
2. Research of FC Elementary Technology
@Toyo Spinning Co., Ltd. developed two kinds of poly electrolyte membrane; one is for DMFC preventing methanol permeation and the other is for PEFC of high gas barrier characteristics. The former is begun to ship as sample in role, and early real use is expected. It is unique polymer material developed by the company and it has characteristics close to engineering plastics, so that methanol permeation is suppressed and the characteristics is twice comparing with fluorocarbon type. The time for mass production is not determined. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 4, 2011]
3. PAFC Business
@Fuji Electric System Corp. announced that it started demonstration of 140 kW using pure hydrogen. The company supplied PAFC and Iwatani Corp. operates it to supply electric power and heat to a public facility. Hydrogen produced by a steel maker in the same area is used, so that carbon dioxide is not formed. The electric power efficiency is 48 % and overall efficiency is 70 % when high-temperature water over 100 is recovered. It increases to 99 % when medium-temperature water is recovered at 60. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Feb. 3, 2011 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Feb. 10, 2011]
4. Demonstration and business of SOFC
(1) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. and Sekisui House Corp.
@The above two companies began living test of smart energy house in cooperation since February. The test will be continued till March of 2014 for 3 years. In the house SOFC, solar panels, lithium ion batteries are installed together with energy saving facilities, like EV recharging equipment, LED illumination etc. With Home Energy Management System (HEMS), optimum control of three kinds of cells is done. Furthermore, management and control of home appliances and a hot water supplier, while advice on energy saving is also given. In this demonstration energy saving effect and comfortableness are tested. [The Mainichi Shimbun, The Sankei Shimbun, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun Feb. 2, 2011, The Denki Shimbun (electricity), The Chemical Daily Feb. 3, 2011, Feb. 3, 2011, The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) Feb. 4, 2011, The Jutaku Shimpo (houses) and The Yomiuri Shimbun Feb. 10, 2011]
(2) JX Nihon Oil Corp.
@The above company will begin to sell SOFC since about October. Power generating components will be supplied by Kyocera Corp. and final assembling is done outside. The output is 700 W, and power efficiency is 45 %. Two types are made for LPG and town gas. The present price is 2 million yen including subsidy. The price of the new product is estimated to be 1.2 - 1.5 million yen. In 2011 fiscal year 1000 sets are expected. On the other hand the present type (PEFC) will be reviewed from view point of production cost since April and it will be 2.7 - 2.8 million yen, which is comparable with those of Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and Panasonic Corp. [The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Feb. 21, 2011, The Denki Shimbun (electricity) Feb. 22, 2011, The Asahi Shimbun, The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Chemical Daily Feb. 25, 2011 and The Yomiuri Shimbun Feb. 28, 2011]
@In next generation energy infrastructure concept "mountainous and intermediate model" was opened in Gujo city of Gifu prefecture on March 6, 2011, and eco-friendly multi-energy system by JX Nikko Nihon Oil Corp. was accepted. In this system solar photo-generator (2.4 kW), lithium ion batteries (9.7 kW), and SOFC (0.7 kW) are installed together with a small hydraulic power generator of 0.5 kW, imaging independent energy supplying system.. Moreover, with HEMS various energy parameters are displayed. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun (construction) Feb. 24, 2011 and The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) March 4, 2011]
(3) Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd.
@Demond for zirconia sheets produced by the above company increases, for instance for electrolyte of SOFC produced by a US venture companies, and increase in production would be realized in the beginning of 2011. The product is 200 - 300 micron m and accuracy of the thickness is about 0.1 %. The company started development of the new product in middle of 1980. Then in 2000 it became new product and a foreign company used it in SOFC of 1 kW. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry) Feb. 21, 2011]
@In collaboration with Toho Gas Co., Ltd. and Sumitomo Precision Co., Ltd., NTT developed SOFC system of generating output of 5 kW. The rated generating efficiency was 44 %, and it was confirmed that generating performance was not decreased after 1000 hour operation. In 2009 the above three companies developed generating module. In the present SOFC improvement of insulation in high temperature increases generating performance, while in periphery devices those of small electric consumption are accepted, and by combining with high-efficiency inverter, performance of usable level was made. In fuel control device, piping design was made, so that pressure drop was reduced and fuel and air are stably supplied. In operating test, hereafter, interval between plate cells are reduced from 6 mm to 4 mm for downsizing to about half. System of several tens kW will be made aiming at 2020, and it will be used for power sources of communication facilities and data centers of NTT. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun Feb. 22, 2011]
5. Eco-House business and EneFarm Business
(1) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and Panasonic Corp.
@Tokyo .Gas Co., Ltd. announced that it began to sell EneFarm new model in April. Reducing the price by about 700,000 yen from that of conventional one, and including subsidy, real burden of consumers is suppressed to 1 million yen (2 million yen for the present model). The retail price the maker desired is 2,7615 yen. The new models are sold through Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., Toho Gas Co., Ltd., Saibu Gas Co., Ltd., Shizuoka Gas Co., Ltd., Keiyo Gas Co., Ltd. and Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. at the same date, April 1, 2011. The new model of 750 W rated output was improved in the generating efficiency to 40 % (LHV). Moreover, by unification of a hot water reservoir and the FC units, area to be placed became half, i.e., 2m2. The duration time is aimed at about 50,000 hours. For real propagation further cost reduction is essential and it would be 1 million yen. Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. anticipates the time for that would be 2013 fiscal year, and it hopes that impacts would be given by the present cost down. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) Jan 26, 2011, The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Nikkei Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), Tokyo Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye and The Chemical Daily Feb. 10, 2011]
(2) Panasonic Corp.
@On Feb. 9, 2011 Panasonic Corp. set forth that its home use FC would be sold in overseas countries by 2015 fiscal year. In the beginning it would be sold in Western Europe and US, where inexpensive natural gas is available, and expansion to developing countries in bad power supply situation would be in the future.. [The Mainichi Shimbun Feb. 10, 2011]
6. Forefront of FCV, EV and Other Movers
@Three FCV "B class F Cell" by Daimler started trip around the world on Jan. 30 , 2011. They started at its head office in Stuttgart to visit 14 countries such as US, Australia, China and Russia, and they will come back to the starting point after running 30,000 km celebrating its 125th anniversary of its establishment. The President, Mr. Tsuetch showed pose to take initiatives in development of EV and FCV. [The Tokyo Shimbun Jan. 31, 2011, The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) Feb.. 1. 2011] amd The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun Feb. 7, 2011]
(2) Toyota Motor Corp.
@Toyota Motor Corp. sets goal of FCV sales price below 2.5 million yen at 2020. In November of 2010 the company announced that FCV of sedan type would be introduced into the market of Japan, US and Europe, and then it showed that price of about 5 million yen at 2015 is under consideration. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) March 21, 2011]
@On March 2, 2011 the company published that it is going to develop DMFC for aircrafts in cooperation with Boing Corp. Reductions in weight of power sources and also in CO2 exhaustion are the aims. Multiple units are installed in an aircraft and they are planned to compensate auxiliary power sources. Using exhausted heat, hot water supplying system is also developed. [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan kKogyo Shimbun (business and technology) and The Tekko Shimbun (iron and steel) March 3, 2011]
7. Construction and Operation of Hydrogen Stations
(1) Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd.
@The company began operation of hydrogen supplying stronghold at Narita International Air Port. Supplying and usage of hydrogen are trusted by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to an association (HySUT), which supply hydrogen to FCV hiers in a series of "Hydrogen High Way Project." [The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (economy and industry") Feb. 28, 2011 and The Chemical Daily March 2, 2011]
(2) HySUT and Fujitsu
@HySUT constructed 3 hydrogen stations in the capital zone in cooperation with Fujitsu and this is one in a series of hydrogen high way project. In cooperation with HySUT, Fujitsu manages the system, such as operation, amount of stored hydrogen etc. All these information are managed with.
8. Development and Commercialization of Micro-FC
@Aqua Fairy in Kyoto city begins sale of a small FC "AF-M3000" for charging 3 W class mobile equipment. They are full passive type of palm size using water and hydrogen evolving reagent and auxiliary power sources of light weight. This is the best as portable power sources, especially for smart phones of relatively large energy consumption. The weight is 128 g and that of the fuel cartridge is 17 g. The maximum output is over 2.5 W and the practical working time is 190 minutes. The price of the FC 25,000 yen (tax is not included.) and that cartridge is 2,500 yen for 1 package of 5 cartridges without tax. The company is now looking for partners to do business in cooperation. [The Chemical Daily Feb. 21, 2011, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Feb. 23, 2011 and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun March 31, 2011]
------------ These articles are extracted from the Japanese version made up of March 4, 2011. ---------------