Patents by Inventor Kunihiro Ukai

Kunihiro Ukai has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Patent number: 10833339
    Abstract: A fuel cell system includes: a solid oxide fuel cell generating power by using, as fuel, air supplied to a cathode and hydrogen-containing gas supplied to an anode; a combustor generating a combustion exhaust gas by combusting anode-off gas and cathode-off gas discharged from the anode and the cathode, respectively; a reformer steam-reforming a material to generate the hydrogen-containing gas supplied to the anode; a first temperature detector detecting temperatures of the combustion exhaust gas and/or the combustor; and a controller performing, if a temperature detected by the first temperature detector is lower than a preset first threshold while the combustor is forming flame, at least one of operations of: increasing a ratio of air consumed to the air supplied in the cathode; decreasing a ratio of hydrogen-containing gas consumed to the hydrogen-containing gas supplied in the anode; and decreasing an amount of water supplied to the reformer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 22, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 10, 2020
    Assignee: PANASONIC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CO., LTD.
    Inventor: Kunihiro Ukai
  • Publication number: 20200350604
    Abstract: An electrochemical hydrogen pump includes an electrolyte membrane, an anode catalyst layer on one primary surface of the electrolyte membrane, a cathode catalyst layer on the other primary surface of the electrolyte membrane, an anode gas diffusion layer on the anode catalyst layer, an anode separator on the anode gas diffusion layer, and a voltage applicator that applies a voltage between the anode catalyst layer and the cathode catalyst layer. Application of the voltage causes hydrogen in a hydrogen-containing gas supplied to above the anode catalyst layer to move above the cathode catalyst layer and to be pressurized. The anode gas diffusion layer includes a porous carbon sheet that contains carbon fibers and a carbon material different from the carbon fibers and that has a larger porosity in a first surface layer on the anode separator side, than in a second surface layer on the anode catalyst layer side.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 10, 2020
    Publication date: November 5, 2020
    Inventors: KUNIHIRO UKAI, TAKAYUKI NAKAUE, YUKIMUNE KANI
  • Publication number: 20200340457
    Abstract: A hydrogen pressurization system includes: an electrochemical hydrogen pump being configured to transfer hydrogen in a hydrogen-containing gas to be supplied to an anode to a cathode through an electrolyte membrane, and pressurize the hydrogen; and a first removal unit through which an off-gas discharged from the cathode of the electrochemical hydrogen pump and the hydrogen-containing gas to be supplied to the anode flow with a water permeable membrane interposed therebetween, the first removal unit being configured to remove at least one of water vapor and water liquid contained in the off-gas.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 13, 2020
    Publication date: October 29, 2020
    Inventors: KUNIHIRO UKAI, YUKIMUNE KANI
  • Publication number: 20200340471
    Abstract: An electrochemical hydrogen pump includes an electrolyte membrane, an anode catalyst layer in contact with one primary surface of the electrolyte membrane, a cathode catalyst layer in contact with the other primary surface of the electrolyte membrane, an anode gas diffusion layer in contact with the anode catalyst layer, a cathode gas diffusion layer in contact with the cathode catalyst layer, and a voltage applicator that applies a voltage between the anode catalyst layer and the cathode catalyst layer. Application of the voltage by the voltage applicator causes hydrogen in a hydrogen-containing gas supplied to above the anode catalyst layer to move above the cathode catalyst layer and to be pressurized. The anode gas diffusion layer includes a porous carbon sheet that has a smaller porosity in a first surface layer, which is on the anode catalyst layer side, than in the inside layer deeper than the first surface layer.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 10, 2020
    Publication date: October 29, 2020
    Inventors: TAKAYUKI NAKAUE, KUNIHIRO UKAI, HIROMI KITA
  • Publication number: 20200343567
    Abstract: An electrochemical hydrogen compressor includes: a cell including a proton conductive electrolyte membrane having a pair of principal surfaces, a cathode disposed on a first one of the principal surfaces of the electrolyte membrane, and an anode disposed on a second one of the principal surfaces of the electrolyte membrane; a voltage applicator that applies a voltage between the anode and the cathode; a dew point adjuster that adjusts a dew point of a hydrogen-containing gas to be supplied to the anode; and a controller that, when the temperature of the cell increases, controls the dew point adjuster to increase the dew point of the hydrogen-containing gas.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 14, 2020
    Publication date: October 29, 2020
    Inventors: HIDENOBU WAKITA, YUUICHI YAKUMARU, KUNIHIRO UKAI
  • Patent number: 10811712
    Abstract: A hydrogen supply system includes an electrochemical hydrogen pump which includes: an electrolyte membrane; an anode provided on a first surface of the electrolyte membrane; a cathode provided on a second surface of the electrolyte membrane opposite to the first surface; and a current adjuster adjusting a current amount flowing between the anode and the cathode, and which performs a hydrogen supply operation by allowing a current to flow between the anode and the cathode using the current adjuster so as to boost the pressure of hydrogen which is supplied to an anode side at a cathode side and to supply the pressure-boosted hydrogen to a hydrogen demander; and a dew point adjuster adjusting a dew point of a mixed gas in which a hydrogen-containing gas which is discharged from the anode side and a hydrogen-containing gas which is supplied from an outside are mixed together.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 20, 2020
    Assignee: PANASONIC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Osamu Sakai, Kunihiro Ukai, Hidenobu Wakita
  • Publication number: 20200328436
    Abstract: A fuel cell system includes: a fuel cell; a reformer to generate a hydrogen-containing gas; an electric power generation raw material supply unit; a reforming material supply unit configured to supply at least one of reforming water and reforming air, to the reformer; an oxidizing gas supply unit to supply an oxidizing gas to a cathode of the fuel cell; a combustor to ignite an exhaust gas discharged from the fuel cell; and a controller. In an operation stop process of the fuel cell system, the controller causes the oxidizing gas supply unit to supply the oxidizing gas, causes the electric power generation raw material supply unit and the reforming material supply unit to intermittently supply the electric power generation raw material and at least one of the water and the air to the reformer, and causes the ignitor to perform an ignition operation.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 26, 2020
    Publication date: October 15, 2020
    Inventors: Shigenori ONUMA, Kunihiro UKAI, Hiroshi SHIRAHAMA, Takeshi SAITO, Yosuke AKAGI, Taiichiro SAKAMOTO, Toshiharu OOE, Toshiharu OTSUKA
  • Patent number: 10756376
    Abstract: A hydrogen supply system includes: an electrochemical hydrogen pump including an electrolyte membrane, an anode and a cathode provided to a first and second main surfaces of the electrolyte membrane, respectively, an anode flow path and cathode flow path through which hydrogen flows, and a voltage applicator applying a voltage between the anode and cathode, pressurizing and sending hydrogen supplied to the anode via the anode flow path to the cathode by applying a voltage by the voltage applicator, and supplying the pressurized hydrogen in the cathode flow path to a hydrogen reservoir; a pressure adjuster adjusting a cathode flow path pressure; and a controller controlling the pressure adjuster and making the cathode flow path pressure higher than an anode flow path pressure before starting a hydrogen pressurization action for pressurizing and supplying hydrogen supplied to the anode flow path to the cathode flow path.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 8, 2019
    Date of Patent: August 25, 2020
    Assignee: PANASONIC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Hidenobu Wakita, Kunihiro Ukai, Osamu Sakai, Yoichiro Tsuji
  • Patent number: 10741858
    Abstract: A fuel cell system includes: a fuel cell; a reformer to generate a hydrogen-containing gas; an electric power generation raw material supply unit; a reforming material supply unit configured to supply at least one of reforming water and reforming air, to the reformer; an oxidizing gas supply unit to supply an oxidizing gas to a cathode of the fuel cell; a combustor to ignite an exhaust gas discharged from the fuel cell; and a controller. In an operation stop process of the fuel cell system, the controller causes the oxidizing gas supply unit to supply the oxidizing gas, causes the electric power generation raw material supply unit and the reforming material supply unit to intermittently supply the electric power generation raw material and at least one of the water and the air to the reformer, and causes the ignitor to perform an ignition operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 25, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 11, 2020
    Assignees: PANASONIC CORPORATION, MORIMURA SOFC TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Shigenori Onuma, Kunihiro Ukai, Hiroshi Shirahama, Takeshi Saito, Yosuke Akagi, Taiichiro Sakamoto, Toshiharu Ooe, Toshiharu Otsuka
  • Patent number: 10722841
    Abstract: A hydrogen supply system includes: a controller; and an electrochemical hydrogen pump including: an electrolyte membrane; a pair of electrodes provided on two surfaces of the electrolyte membrane; and a current adjuster adjusting a current flowing between the electrodes, the electrochemical hydrogen pump performs a hydrogen supply operation supplying pressure-boosted hydrogen to a hydrogen demander by allowing a current to flow between the electrodes by the current adjuster; and when a cumulative hydrogen supply amount which is supplied to the hydrogen demander from start to completion of the hydrogen supply operation to the hydrogen demander from the electrochemical hydrogen pump is smaller than a cumulative hydrogen supply amount in another hydrogen supply operation, the controller controls the current adjuster so that the current flowing between the electrodes is decreased to be smaller than that in the another hydrogen supply operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 15, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 28, 2020
    Assignee: PANASONIC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Kunihiro Ukai, Osamu Sakai, Atsuo Okaichi
  • Patent number: 10700374
    Abstract: A high-temperature operating fuel cell system includes: a fuel cell stack that generates electric power through an electrochemical reaction of an oxidant gas and a reformed gas; a combustor that combusts a cathode off-gas and an anode off-gas; a reformer that generates the reformed gas from a raw material by utilizing heat of an exhaust gas generated by the combustor; a first preheater; a second preheater that preheats the oxidant gas through heat exchange with the exhaust gas and supplies the preheated oxidant gas to the cathode of the fuel cell stack; a casing that contains these components; and a first heat insulator that covers at least part of the casing, wherein the first preheater covers the first heat insulator and preheats the oxidant gas by heat transferred from the casing through the first heat insulator before the oxidant gas is supplied to the second preheater.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 20, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 30, 2020
    Assignee: PANASONIC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Hideki Nakata, Kunihiro Ukai, Masakazu Aoki
  • Publication number: 20200179205
    Abstract: A hydrogen-containing gas supply system includes one or more hydrogen-containing gas suppliers, one or more acquirers, and a controller. The one or more hydrogen-containing gas suppliers supply a hydrogen-containing gas to one or more areas in a building. The one or more acquirers acquire information indicating that a person is present in the one or more areas. When it is determined that a person is present in a certain area of the one or more areas in accordance with the information acquired by the acquirers, the controller causes at least one of the one or more hydrogen-containing gas suppliers to supply the hydrogen-containing gas to the certain area.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 13, 2020
    Publication date: June 11, 2020
    Inventors: KUNIHIRO UKAI, KAZUHITO HATO
  • Publication number: 20200171265
    Abstract: A hydrogen supply apparatus includes: an air path having an inlet and an outlet; a fan that is disposed in the air path and produces a flow of air from the inlet to the outlet; a first pipe having an end that forms a first supply port through which to supply hydrogen gas to the air path; a flow control device that is attached to the first pipe and adjusts a flow rate of the hydrogen gas; and a hydrogen gas sensor, disposed downstream of the fan or the end in a direction of flow of the air that detects a concentration of the hydrogen gas in the air path, where the end is disposed between the fan and the outlet or between the fan and the inlet in the air path.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 3, 2020
    Publication date: June 4, 2020
    Inventors: YASUFUMI TAKAHASHI, KAZUHITO HATO, KUNIHIRO UKAI
  • Publication number: 20200124039
    Abstract: An electrochemical hydrogen pump includes: at least one hydrogen pump unit including an electrolyte membrane, an anode, a cathode, an anode separator, and a cathode separator; an anode end plate disposed on the anode separator positioned in a first end in a stacking direction, the first end is one end and the second end is another end; a cathode end plate disposed on the cathode separator positioned in a second end in the stacking direction; a fixing member that prevents at least members from the cathode end plate to the cathode separator positioned in the second end from moving in the stacking direction; a first gas flow channel through which hydrogen generated in the cathode is supplied to a first space disposed between the cathode end plate and the cathode separator positioned in the second end; and a first pressure transmitting member disposed in the first space.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 2, 2019
    Publication date: April 23, 2020
    Inventors: KUNIHIRO UKAI, TSUNEYUKI EJIMA, NORIHIKO KAWABATA
  • Patent number: 10629926
    Abstract: A solid oxide fuel cell system includes: an igniting portion configured to ignite a raw material when starting up the solid oxide fuel cell system; a raw material supply portion configured to supply the raw material; a reforming air supply portion configured to supply reforming air; and an electric power generation air supply portion configured to supply electric power generation air. When starting up the solid oxide fuel cell system, the raw material supply portion supplies the raw material, and the electric power generation air supply portion supplies the electric power generation air. The igniting portion ignites the raw material. After the ignition, the reforming air supply portion supplies the reforming air. With this, the safety can be increased in consideration of characteristics in respective phases from the start-up of the solid oxide fuel cell system until the electric power generation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 30, 2018
    Date of Patent: April 21, 2020
    Assignee: Panasonic Corporation
    Inventors: Osamu Sakai, Tatsuo Fujita, Kunihiro Ukai, Takashi Kakuwa, Taiichiro Sakamoto, Toshiharu Ooe
  • Patent number: 10573906
    Abstract: A fuel cell device includes: a reformer that generates a reformed gas; a fuel cell; a combustor that combusts off-gas of the reformed gas and air for power generation, and generates a combustion exhaust gas; a first air heat exchanger that has a combustion exhaust gas path and a first air supply path, and that performs heat exchange between the combustion exhaust gas and the air for power generation; a fuel cell storage which stores the fuel cell; a second air heat exchanger that has a second air supply path that supplies the air for power generation to the fuel cell, and that performs heat exchange between the off-gas of the air for power generation and the air for power generation; and a housing that stores members. The first air supply path and the second air supply path are disposed to cover whole members stored in the housing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 18, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2020
    Assignee: Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Hideki Nakata, Kunihiro Ukai, Masakazu Aoki
  • Patent number: 10544514
    Abstract: A gas diffusion device includes a first gas diffusion layer that diffuses gas and is formed of metal and at least one first metal plate that is provided on at least one main surface of the first gas diffusion layer and includes a manifold hole through which gas flows and a gas flow path which communicates with the manifold hole, and the gas flow path passes through the first metal plate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 23, 2017
    Date of Patent: January 28, 2020
    Assignee: PANASONIC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CO., LTD.
    Inventor: Kunihiro Ukai
  • Publication number: 20200023306
    Abstract: An electrochemical hydrogen pump includes an electrolyte membrane, an anode catalyst layer, a cathode catalyst layer, an anode gas diffusion layer, a cathode gas diffusion layer, an anode separator, a cathode separator, a first end plate and a second end plate that are disposed on the respective ends of at least one hydrogen pump unit in which the electrolyte membrane, the catalyst layers, the gas diffusion layers, and the separators are stacked on each other, a fastener that fastens the end plates and at least one hydrogen pump unit, and a voltage applier. The electrochemical hydrogen pump transfers hydrogen from the anode catalyst layer to the cathode catalyst layer and pressurizes hydrogen when the voltage applier applies the voltage. The cathode gas diffusion layer includes a water-repellent carbon fiber layer in a main surface thereof that is on a side of the cathode catalyst layer, and is compressed by the fastener.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 5, 2019
    Publication date: January 23, 2020
    Inventors: KUNIHIRO UKAI, TAKAYUKI NAKAUE, HIDENOBU WAKITA
  • Publication number: 20200011313
    Abstract: An electrochemical hydrogen pump includes a hydrogen pump unit including an electrolyte film, an anode catalyst layer, a cathode catalyst layer, an anode gas diffusion layer, an anode separator, a cathode gas diffusion layer, and a cathode separator, a first end plate and a second end plate, a fastener, and a voltage applicator. The electrochemical hydrogen pump transfers and pressurizes hydrogen on the cathode catalyst layer, when a voltage is applied by the voltage applicator. Cathode gas flow channels in which the cathode gas flows are connected to each other. The amount of thickness reduction of the cathode gas diffusion layer due to compression resulting from fastening of the fastener is larger in the hydrogen pump unit positioned at at least one end of the stacked hydrogen pump units than in the hydrogen pump unit positioned at neither end of the stacked hydrogen pump units.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 17, 2019
    Publication date: January 9, 2020
    Inventors: KUNIHIRO UKAI, HIROMI KITA, TAKAYUKI NAKAUE
  • Publication number: 20190383283
    Abstract: An electrochemical hydrogen pump includes at least one hydrogen pump unit including an electrolyte membrane, an anode on one main surface of the electrolyte membrane, a cathode on the other main surface of the electrolyte membrane, an anode separator on the anode, and a cathode separator on the cathode, the at least one hydrogen pump unit transferring, to the cathode, hydrogen supplied to the anode and pressurizing the hydrogen, a first fixing member for preventing movement of the cathode separator in a direction in which the cathode separator is stacked, a first end plate on the anode separator at one end in the stacking direction, a second end plate on the cathode separator at the other end in the stacking direction, and a first gas flow channel through which hydrogen in the cathode is supplied to a first space between the second end plate and the cathode separator.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 21, 2019
    Publication date: December 19, 2019
    Inventors: KUNIHIRO UKAI, NORIHIKO KAWABATA, OSAMU SAKAI, HIDENOBU WAKITA, JIN ZHANG, YUKIMUNE KANI