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Osaka Gas Solid Oxide Fuel Cells ready for large scale distribution in April

Osaka Gas Solid Oxide Fuel Cells ready for large scale distribution in April

Osaka Gas Co. in collaboration with Aisin Seiki Co., Kyocera Corp., Chofu Seisakusho Co. and Toyoto Motor Corp. announced that  it will start selling one of the world’s most efficient household fuel cells on April 27.

The ENE-FARM Type S features a power generation efficiency of 46.5%, the best operation rate in the world for house hold use.  According to the five cooperated companies, the new model will be sold at around 2,750,000 yen (about 33,530 US dollars) per unit in Japan from April and the Japanese makers expect to sell about 1, 000 units in the the first year.

ENE-FARM Type S utilizes ceramic electrolyte for the power generating cell stack which achieves a high operating temperature of 700 to 750 degrees Celsius. This high temperature heat can be efficiently used as energy to reform utility gas to hydrogen and thus the high power generation efficiency level  of 46.5% is subsequently achieved — with an overall energy efficiency of 90.0%.

The SOFC system includes a hot-water supply and heating unit which uses exhausted heat with a storage tank at a small size of 90 liters to optimally utilize the high temperature heat exhausted during power generation; as well as a high efficiency latent heat recovery type hot-water supply heating unit for the back-up boiler.

Through these measures, the system is environmentally and economically enhanced, and eliminates annual COemissions of about 1.9 tons while also reducing annual energy costs of about ¥76,000 compared to ordinary gas-powered hot-water supply and heating units.

Moreover, due to the low number of parts and small quantity of exhaust energy, a compact design was made possible for both the power generation unit and the hot-water supply and heating unit — thus allowing it to be installed even at homes with limited installation space. In the future, the companies also plan to expand use of the system to apartment buildings.

This advanced SOFC system has been developed based upon the companies’ advanced technology in areas such as the design, installation and maintenance technology of Osaka Gas for co-generation systems; the design and production technology of Kyocera for cell stacks; the design and production technology of Aisin/Toyota for generation units; and the design and production technology of Chofu for hot-water supply and heating units using exhausted heat. The companies submitted 121 units in total to the “Demonstrative Research on Solid Oxide Fuel Cell” project undertaken by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and the New Energy Foundation which was an important part of the road to commercialization.

Testuo Kuba, President of Kyocera Corporation told reporters that as the announced system was developed mainly to be installed in single family house, the company would further miniaturize the size of the model for families in apartment houses.

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