Molecule and Ion Technology of Hydrogen Energy System/CRDS-FY2006-SP-15
Executive Summary

The hydrogen energy system, possesses a potential to achieve high energy efficiency of fuel cells and other applications, and its R&D is promoted. However, the system has not had an advantage over the existing systems in total energy efficiency between primary energy collection and consumption. Moreover, the system is now facing big problems such as costs, durability, and so on.

To overcome above problems, a breakthrough that is not an extension of existing technologies is necessary, and R&D should be promoted based on fundamental physics and chemistry including clarification of reaction and deterioration mechanism of fuel cells and hydrogen occlusion material, and subsequent new material searches. Therefore, we propose the following assignments including promotion methods:

[1] Clarification of physical and chemical mechanism of fuel cell and material searches
- Clarification of movement, transportation, and reaction of hydrogen (molecules and ions), water, and catalyst elements inside of a catalyst electrode and an electrolyte film of fuel cells, and accompanying deterioration mechanisms
- Search of electrolyte films with high conductivity and high stability
- Search of materials and structures of catalyst electrode with high revitalization, high stability, and low-cost

[2] Clarification of physical and chemical mechanism of a hydrogen storage material
and material searches
- Clarification of occlusion and discharge of hydrogen molecules in a hydrogen storage material, and accompanying deterioration mechanisms
- Search of hydrogen storage materials with high storage density and lower energy for the storage and discharge

[3] R&D on measurement technology for grasping behavior of system configuration materials
- In-Situ visualization techniques for observation of behavior of the hydrogen ions, water molecules, catalysts, carriers, and electrolyte films
- In-Situ measurement techniques for observation of storage and discharge behaviors of hydrogen storage materials

Since the hydrogen can be produced from non-petroleum fuels such as natural gas and coals, and renewable energy source such as biomass, the oil dependence in the transportation sector can be reduced. In addition, the hydrogen energy system is thought to be applicable to a wide various fields including fuel cell powered vehicles, home-use hot-water supply and power co-generation systems, mobile device power supply, renewable energy storage, and so on, and its practical impacts on the society would be tremendous. A practical hydrogen energy system can be achieved only after development for practical use is made based on the knowledge obtained by the above R&D.