@On the condition that the 2011 fiscal year budget is approved in the Diet, the subsidizing activities of FC systems introduction will be continued. The Fuel Cell Association (FCA) was selected as an undertaker, and it published the outline. The objective systems for the subsidies should be FC systems for general use, and the size etc. are pre-determined. FCA evaluates performances of the systems and accepts it as subsidy objectives. In addition to the purchase expense of the systems, installation expense is partly subsidized. Moreover, half of a conventional hot water supplier purchase and half of the installation cost will be given. The upper limit will be 1.05 million yen and the application will be accepted since the beginning of April. A new condition is added and that is those given subsidies should join "domestic credit institution." This was started in 2008, and it certificates reduced amount of greenhouse gas exhaustion by technical and financial support by the large companies. It can be used in independent action program, achieving goal in trial exhaustion trade etc. [The Dempa Shimbun (radio wave) March 21, 2011]
2. Policy by Local Government
@The Firm Bureau of the Hyogo Prefecture sold divisions in Ushio Ashiya D zone (Ashiya City) where the city is promoting the construction of detached houses, and it has a plan to sell 340 divisions in the new future. At present constructers for D2 zone are being selected by bid done on May 10, 2011and in September the lands will be hand over. As D2 zone is an advanced eco-friendly town, in the houses solar generating devise and advanced eco-friendly equipment (home use FC and CO2 heat pump) are installed. The construction will be started in December and the sales will be started in March of 2012. [The Kensetsu Tsuhin Shimbun (construction) March 18, 2011]
3. Development of FC Elementary Technology
@Professor Gunji, an associate professor of Faculty of Science and Technology of Tokyo Science University, announced that he developed technology for greatly improve performance of platinum nanoparticles for environment cleaning equipment and FC electrode materials. In nanoparticles they adhere to each other. To avoid this various materials are added, but they tend to adhere in strong acidic or alkaline solutions, and the efficiency is decreased. In the newly developed technology polyethylene imine is used to avoid adhesion in pH range from minus 1 to plus 15. Thus surface area becomes large so that performance as catalyst is improved. Because large effect is obtained with small amount, cost down and reduction of resources are expected. [The Chemical Daily March 11, 2011]
4. Development and Business of SOFC
(1) Sumitomo Precision Industry Co., Ltd.
@The above company is going to sell business use SOFC of 5 kW electric output as the first product among other companies. The company had developed the similar scale SOFC of 46 % rated electric generation efficiency together with NTT in 2009. Since the end of 2010 it started out-of-door demonstration of half size small SOFC (1800 mm height, 1500 mm width and 900 mm depth). The possibility of commercial sale is ascertained. Users to be delivered are not announced, but two orders were received from firms related with information and communication and they would be delivered in the after half of 2011 fiscal year. The initial price is about 3 million yen per 1 kW output. Till 2013 fiscal year downsizing of generating modules and simplifying auxiliary devices will be tried. The price would be reduced to about 1.6 million yen. Moreover, home use SOFC will be developed in 2015 fiscal year. For system makers, OEM supply of 1 kW class modules are being planned. According to the plan, the price will be 0.4 million yen / kW, which is almost the same as that of a gas engine generator. The sizes are 1500 mm high, 950 mm wide and 400 mm deep. The company will promote replacement for environmental conscious firms and public facilities. At the same time business use SOFC up to 100 kW class is going to be developed. The goal of the company is 10 billion yen annual sale. The company has technologies for heat controlling systems for aircraft engines, ozone producers etc., and on these bases the company has been developing SOFC system for 10 years. In the collaborative development, the company made development of all parts except electric generating device (cell). [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 22, 2011]
(2) TOTO Corp.
@This company has intention to enter home use FC market by 2014 as a target. On the base of sanitary ceramic production, such as ceramic molding and sintering, the company is developing generating modules of SOFC. In the before half of 2011 initial production line is going to be introduced in Chigasaki Factory, and the mass production technology would be fully investigated. In SOFC exhausted heat from cell reaction can be used in reforming reaction of fuel, the electric generation efficiency is remarkably higher by 10 points in comparison with PEFC. Furthermore, number of components is 1/2 to 1/3 of PEFC. Therefore, downsizing and cost reduction are possible. Hereafter, the company is planning the following items, such as confirming endurance, examining maintenance conditions, cost reduction of materials and components, and establishment of mass production technology. [The Chemical Daily March 23, 2011]
5. EneFarm Business
(1) Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
@Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. decided sales target in 2011 fiscal year, and it is 5000 sets i.e., twice of that of 2010 fiscal year. The company will promote propagation, showing advantages of new FC to be sold since April. EneFarm is expected as charging spots for FC and FCV. From the view point of next generation infrastructure, the propagation draws attention. On the other hand, for real propagation of this new products, development of small FC for apartment houses is a task . The company and Panasonic Corp., both developing EneFarm, establish system for development of products for apartment houses by "Yokohama Smart City Project" with Nissan Motor Corp. They are intending to commercialize the new products. The Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. thinks that" hydrogen stations are hard to be managed by only hydrogen supply to vehicles," and it is thinking of "supply surplus electric power to neighboring houses." [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) March 5, 2011]
(2) Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
@On March 11, 2011 Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. announced that its management program, in which 2011 is thought as "Year of Boost Up. " The concrete items are as follows. The sales target of EneFarm is 3000 sets increasing by 58 % compared with 2010 fiscal year, and 2400 sets of solar photoelectric generation would be sold. It is concentrated to home use market. [The Denki Shimbun (electricity) and The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 14, 2011]
6. Forefront of FCV, EV and Other Movers
(1) Nissan Motor Corp.
@The above company reduces large amount of platinum in stacks to realize low cost FCV. At present several tens g platinum is used in one stack, and the company would try to reduce it to 1/10 or below 10 g for 2015. The cost of platinum is about 30 % of the total cost, and by reduction of platinum catalyst they would find ways to large cost down. But it is known that reducing used platinum amount, resistance for oxygen and hydrogen to supply to electrodes becomes large and leads to decrease in effective use of platinum, so that they carried out improvement of platinum effective use at low temperature and also improvement of materials around platinum and its structure. In cooperation with universities, the company reviews functions and structure of the catalyst from materials level to develop low platinum catalyst. In FCV, motors, inverters, batteries etc. are installed, and there are possibilities that they can be used commonly in EV and HV. Thus cost down could be expected by mass production. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) March 8, 2011]
(2) Mercedes-Benz Co., Ltd.
@Mercedes Benz in Daimler group is taking action that lithium ion batteries (LiB) used in EV are going to be replaced by those made by their own factory by 2014. Announced EV made by their factory are three. "A Class E CELL" based on A class in which LiB by Tesla Motros are installed. Till now 500 cars were produced and being sold by lease in European main countries like Germany and France. In 2012 compact cars "Smart" will be sold with Tesla's LiB). Furthermore, EV version of super car "SLSAMG" with LiB by a Korean company, SK Innovation.[The Chemical Daily March 8, 2011]
(3) Suzuki Motors Corp.
@On March 9, 2011 the company made clear that it will sell FC scooters "Bergman Scooters" by lease in Europe, and in 2015 it will sell the scooters widely in other countries and in Japan. It announced that it got European Unified Certificate (WVTA). An air-cooling type small FC of high output cell developed in cooperation with Britain company, Intelligent Energy is installed, and in acceleration electric output from LiB is used as hybrid type. The maximum speed is 63 km/h and by one charge of hydrogen it runs 350 km at the maximum. Aimed sales price is 8,000 Euro (about 9,200,000 yen). The company participates demonstration of FCV sponsored by English Government. [The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Mainichi Shimbun, The Nihon Keizai Shimun, The Sankei Shimbun (economy and industry), The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology), The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile), The Tokyo Shimbun, The Chunichi Shimbun, The Shizuoka Shimbun, The Fuji Sankei Business Eye March 20, 2011]
7. Hydrogen Station Business
@Honda Motor Corp. started demonstration of home use hydrogen production equipment "Solar Hydrogen Station" (SHS) in Saitama prefecture. Power from solar photo-electric generators is used for hydrogen production. By combining this home use equipment with public hydrogen station, which can charge quickly, convenience of FCV would be improved. The company started small scale hydrogen supplying system in 2000. The first generation of combining hydrogen electrolysis with compressor was made and it was developed to the second generation of high efficiency by integrated them. The second generation system was demonstrated and 130 kg of hydrogen was produced for one year. This is equivalent to range of about 50 km. The company thinks that this system would be contributed to formation of hydrogen stations covering whole Japan, and it will elucidate technical tasks, such as efficiency increase and cost reduction. [The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (automobile) March 7, 2011]
8. Development of Hydrogen Storage Technology
@US Los Alamos National Laboratory established chemical process for regenerating ammonium borane from materials used for hydrogen release. Hydrazine is toxic, but it is used as fuel for rockets, artificial satellites etc. In the present process it is used as reducing reagent. Under benign conditions, they succeeded in the regeneration of ammonium borane. This substance is compound of boron hydride connected with ammonia. At the room temperature it is stable white solid. It stores 19.6 % hydrogen and releases hydrogen by heating. In the process polymer of borazine (polyborazine) remains after reaction. When liquid of ammonia and hydrazine is added to this, reaction proceeds in a high pressure container at 40 for 24 hours and 92 %is converted to ammonia borane. Furthermore ammonia borane is formed from the polymer and hydrazine with nitrogen. This nitrogen is obtained and this is used in formation of ammonia and hydrazine. In the future used ammonia borane is recovered from FCV, and it is assumed that hydrazine producing equipment would be built together with the ammonia borane recovery equipment. At present hydrazine production capacity is 200,000 ton totally in the world. New production method is necessary instead of the present method using ammonia and sodium chlorite. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 25, 2011]
9. Development and Business of DMFC
@The company is going to mass-produce small DMFC in 2012. It will be supplied as auxiliary power source by OEM for a major smart phone maker. Full charge to a smart phone can be done for about 2 hours. Moreover, Panasonic Corp. is going to carry out demonstration of 100 W output type FC assuming out-door use in 2011. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 8, 2011]
(2) Toyobo Co., Ltd.
@The company made as a trial one "Proton Cube System", a solution against emergency and disaster. Combining pure water producing equipment, infectious disease detection apparatus etc., it will be useful in emergency for victim's safety, keeping life infrastructure etc. The fuel consuming rate is 1.2 L/kW, and the rated output is 400 W. Multiple AC 100 V outlets are attached on the front surface to be used for illumination, communication etc. Small reverse osmotic apparatus for pure water production and ultra-centrifugal apparatus for pure water can supply water at the rate of 50 m3/day from rivers and lakes. To detect infectious diseases small automatic analysis apparatus and automatic gene analysis apparatus are connected for keeping good hygiene state. Proposition is presented, and the company will start demonstration in 2011 at its earliest case. This company has carried out development of polyelectrolyte for DMFC , and it intends to expand FC market and to sell its components and materials. [The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (business and technology) March 11, 2011]
------------ These articles are extracted from the Japanese version made up of March 25, 2011. ---------------