The First of Its Kind in Industry! SOKODES Was Developed for Use with Solar Panels to Quickly Detect Faults and Estimate Their Location

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5 Topics CASE 01 New Energy 1. The portable SOKODES. This device can detect connection failures in solar panels and estimate the location of failures. 2. The device in the middle is the Ground Fault Detector 20G, which can detect ground faults, a type of short circuit. The device on the right is the SOKODES GF, which can detect the location of connection failures and ground faults in solar panels. 3. A mega solar power plant in Kyushu, where the integrated SOKODES model is installed to provide remote monitoring of the status of faults. 4. Chairman and CTO Hiroshi Date showing an example of a fault in a solar panel. Faults can be created by even small separations of soldering in solar panels. CASE 01 Success Story New Energy 1 2 The First of Its Kind in Industry! SOKODES Was Developed for Use with Solar Panels to Quickly Detect Faults and Estimate Their Location Japan s shrinking semiconductor industry The path that one startup chose After hitting a peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Japan s semiconductor industry, which held the largest share of the global semiconductor market, has been shrinking since However, the market for solar panels, a type of semiconductor product, continues to expand globally. According to the Renewables 2014 Global Status Report, the amount of power produced by crystalline silicon type solar cells, which are the major component of solar power generation, increased by more than 20 times from 1.9 million kw in 2005 to 43 million kw in A company that paid close attention to this trend was System JD Co., Ltd., a semiconductor venture company located in Fukuoka. System JD Co., Ltd. New Energy Venture Technology Innovation Project, etc. The company originally produced test programs for semiconductor inspections and supplied them to manufacturers. However, it became necessary for the company to shift its business focus because the need for semiconductor inspections decreased as demand for semiconductors declined. The founder and current chairman, Hiroshi Date, tried to find a way to compete in the field of solar power, which is still continuing to grow. At that time, it was commonly said that solar panels did not develop faults and that maintenance was not required until long after a solar panel had been installed. Mr. Date, with his extensive experience in semiconductor inspections, doubted such claims for a long time. He believed that because semiconductors that are carefully produced in clean rooms can develop faults, solar panels 3 4 used outside must develop faults as well. When he had the opportunity, he asked a question about this at a seminar on solar power generation. In response, a seminar participant from a manufacturing company explained that it was very difficult to detect defects in solar panels at installation sites. He also said that if there was a simple fault tester available, it would be helpful. After hearing this, Mr. Date decided to develop a system that could easily detect faults in solar panels by utilizing the semiconductor inspection technology developed by his company. From Hokkaido to Okinawa with an experimental model After attending the seminar, Mr. Date was able to participate in joint research with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology(AIST). He then learned from AIST about one of NEDO s New Energy Venture Business Technology Innovation Program projects that had been publicly announced. Realizing that this would be a good opportunity to help promote his company s technology, Mr. Date and his colleagues applied to participate in the project. His company then began the development of a fault detection system from 2009 as a commissioned project. Mr. Date and his colleagues produced an experimental model of a solar panel fault detector and then traveled across Japan 5 5. Technological development at System JD. Toshiyuki Shigemura, Director, Engineering and Development Department and sitting in the foreground, played a key role in product development. 6. COO Shigenori Matsuo explaining the structure of the integrated SOKODES model installed at a mega solar power plant. 6 NEDO s Role Since FY2007, NEDO has aimed to support venture business activities in new energy fields and foster related industries in order to promote technology development utilizing potential technology seeds of small and medium-sized enterprises as well as venture companies. NEDO also provides assistance for creating business plans and expanding business domains, thereby improving the efficiency of the to inspect solar power facilities. Over three years, they inspected all of the panels of the 18 solar power plants owned by Kyushu Electric Power Company. During repeat inspections of many sites, it was found that there were actually more faults in solar panels than previously thought. It made sense that faults would be found in solar panels that had been used for a number of years, but faults were also discovered in new panels as well. The most common cause of faults was connection failure in the circuits. It is difficult to solder wires to solar panels, so vibrations can cause the wires to tear away and disconnect when they are not soldered correctly. In addition, it was discovered that there was a danger of fire from a wire igniting if open circuits are neglected. After obtaining this information and continuing to make improvements to the detector, SOKODES, a portable detector that can estimate the location of faults in solar panels in a short period of time, was finally completed. Furthermore, an integrated detector for large-scale facilities was developed by employing the technology of the portable detector SOKODES being tested. For the integrated model, the green circuit boards are installed in junction boxes at a mega solar power plant. With the integrated model, measurement data is automatically sent to a monitoring center via the Internet, which enables remote monitoring of solar panels to be performed. For The Future Further Continuing to improve the product improvement and starting then taking it overseas marketing and sales Even after the product was developed, technological improvements continued. A new device capable of detecting earth faults, a type of short circuit, as well as open circuits was developed and introduced to the market. Also, in consideration of an expanding global market, plans were made to start overseas marketing and sales. Since 2015, the company has participated in NEDO s Demonstration of Photovoltaic System Remote Maintenance project and has carried out basic research related to the demonstration in Thailand. Because it is predicted that, as the use of solar energy expands globally, the demands for maintenance management of solar panels will increase as well, this company is aiming to expand sales of this devices inside and outside Japan. new energy industry and increasing the depth of the industrial structure for alternative energy. During a project, NEDO utilizes a stage gate system having multiple stages so as to refine technology seeds having a high level of potential for commercialization based on various conditions in society. In each stage, NEDO provides hands-on support in cooperation with outside specialists in technology, intellectual property, and management in order to support the basic research necessary for commercialization, such as the creation of prototypes and the measurement of data, and all research and development themes needed to achieve commercialization. In this way NEDO aims to further promote the development, introduction, and popularization of innovations in new energy fields

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14 New Energy Diaphragm in electromagnetic diaphragm blower Development of Innovative Blowers for Fuel Cell Systems Indispensable for Realization of a Hydrogen- Based Society Blowing a Breath of Fresh Air to Realize a Hydrogen-Based Society Techno Takatsuki Co., Ltd. New Energy Venture Business Technology Innovation Program Fuel cells are coming into wider use in so-called ENE-FARM residential fuel cell cogeneration systems (Micro-CHP) and other applications. The key to diffusing fuel cell systems is developing system components that are energy-efficient, durable, and inexpensive. This project focused on the blower, a major fuel cell system component used to move system gases. Two types of innovative blowers were put to commercial use: one for boosting gas pressure and the other for recirculating hydrogen. Extending the life of an electromagnetic diaphragm blower for boosting gas pressure Durability is essential for promoting residential fuel cell systems (Micro-CHP) such as ENE-FARM because once installed, they are expected to be in continuous operation for a long period of time. Prerequisites for the widespread use of fuel cell systems in ordinary households also include energy efficiency and low cost. In light of the above, Techno Takatsuki Co., Ltd. focused on the development and commercial application of gas booster blowers, an auxiliary fuel cell system component designed to move fuels such as city-supplied natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas. Using an electromagnetic diaphragm blower, a highly efficient, friction-free pump originally designed for water tank use, Techno Takatsuki conducted accelerated life testing in a NEDO project to estimate actual blower Intake port Exhaust port lifetime by exacerbating conditions that would cause degradation. This led to realization of a gas booster blower for fuel cell systems characterized by low power consumption, low cost, and long life. The blower also features rubber diaphragms capable of withstanding repeated expansion and contraction during 40,000 hours (approximately four and a half years) of continuous operation. Returning to basic research to realize a safe hydrogen recirculation blower Fuel cell systems for vehicles use pure hydrogen for fuel and therefore require strict safety controls. Since hydrogen gas causes materials to experience hydrogen embrittlement, a phenomenon that decreases material strength, Techno Takatsuki improved the blower structure and conducted fundamental research jointly with Kyushu University on the hydrogen embrittlement of rubber, resin, and other materials used in the blower. As a result, efforts to prevent hydrogen embrittlement, including coating of permanent magnets inside the blower found to become brittle, led to realization of a hydrogen recirculation blower with a flow rate of 100 L/min. Today, steadily increasing numbers of hydrogen recirculation blowers are being used in industrial vehicles, auxiliary power supplies, and other systems with a view toward their introduction in fuel cell vehicles for the general public. Left: The workings of the electromagnetic diaphragm blower. The blower has a structure that features a pair of gas compression spaces, one on the right and the other on the left. Top right: The gas intake port (left) and gas exhaust port (right) were set at different heights in order to discharge drops of condensed water vapor contained in the mixed gas. Bottom right: The hydrogen recirculation blower for fuel cell systems developed during NEDO s project 08 NEDO PROJECT SUCCESS STORIES 2017 SUCCESS STORIES 09

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