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Tanaka Precious Metals Records Shipment Volume of Fuel Cell Catalysts

Tokyo– Tanaka Holdings Co., Ltd. (Holding company of Tanaka Precious Metals) today announced that Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo K.K., which boasts the world’s leading share in fuel cell catalysts, had posted record shipment volume of fuel cell catalysts in FY2010 (April 2010 – March 2011).

Looking at the shipment volume (index) based on FY2004(1) (see the image in the full release), the shipment volume for FY2010 greatly surpassed the previous record set in FY2006 (169%) and marked a record high at 198%. In addition to the spread of home fuel cells which are called “ENE-FARM” in Japan, active R&D of fuel cell vehicles (FCV) is believed to have pushed up the shipment volume.

Shipments for home fuel cells reached record level of 323%

In particular, remarkable growth of the volume shipped for home use was marked in FY2010, and the new record of 323% significantly outstripped the level established in FY2009 (234%) when full-scale sales of home fuel cells began. Steady progress in their spread due to subsidies from the government, gas and oil companies, along with environmental friendly boom of these days, also led to a significant increase in the shipment volume of catalyst, rising to 1.4 times the level of FY2009.

Furthermore, home fuel cells are gaining much attention due to heightened awareness of power savings since April 2011. The market is expected to continue to expand in FY2011 with the release of a new compact version at an affordable price, and this is expected to result in increased demand for catalyst in the future.

Automotive catalysts increased to 162% with the acceleration of research on FCV

After R&D demand calm down in FY2008 (135%) and FY2009 (133%), shipments for automotive use rose to 162% in FY2010. Automotive companies and energy-related companies are currently preparing for the large-scale market release of FCVs in 2015(2) when they are expected to become widespread, and have begun development of mass produced FCVs and joint efforts to establish hydrogen supply infrastructure. Recent economic trends such as energy issues and the high price of oil have contributed to heightened interest in FCVs, and demand for catalysts used in FCVs is forecast to continue to rise in the future.

Fuel cells, which are clean, environmental friendly and have excellent energy efficiency, face issues such as cost, durability and performance, however, development of practical technology for use as the promising next generation of energy technology, verification tests, establishment of infrastructure and projects to promote the technology are being provided on a national level. This is expected to result in further demand for precious metal catalysts used in the fuel reformers in fuel cells.

Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo will quickly identify the requirements of the fuel cell market and establish a production system able to respond to customers’ needs, while working on the enhancement of research and recycling to reduce the use amount of rare precious metals in order to lower costs and effectively utilize resources, and developing new technologies and new products aimed at spreading the use of fuel cells in the future.

June 28, 2011 - 1:00 PM