By >Daimaou - G.G-B
Tokyo Gas and Panasonic to Launch New Improved “Ene-Farm” Home Fuel Cell
Panasonic and Tokyo GAS has joined forces to develop and commercialize a new “Home fuel Cell” solution name Ene-Fram. Based on the simple yet complex fuel cell technology, the Ene-Farm” fuel cell co-generation systems generate electricity through a chemical reaction between oxygen in the atmosphere and hydrogen extracted from city gas, and the heat generated as a byproduct of this process is also used for home heating and hot water supply. Since the electricity is generated and used at the same place, there are no losses in transmission. Also, all heat produced during electricity generation can be used without waste. Compared to conventional method of using electricity from thermal power plant and hot water supply and heating using city gas, the fuel cell system allows primary energy consumption to be reduced by approximately 35% and CO2 emissions by approximately 48%. Users can cut around 50,000-60,000 yen from annual utility bills, and CO2 emissions by approximately 1.5 tons a year.
Sold around 2,761,500 yen, the “Ene-Farm” fuel cell offers a rated generation efficiency of 40% compared to the previous model and also 700,000 Yen cheaper.
With greater efficiency in the “stacks” which generate electricity and other improvements, the rated generation efficiency has been raised to 40% – the world’s highest generation efficiency for a household fuel cell co-generation system*1.
The improvement in the durability of “stacks” and “fuel-processing device” which produces hydrogen from the city gas allows the operation of 50,000 hours, up 25% from the conventional model. This enhancement in generation efficiency and durability makes it possible to retain the same energy-saving and CO2 reduction effects as the conventional model, but with the rated generation capacity reduced from 1.0kW to 750W. In addition, the lower limit of the generation output has been changed from 300W for the previous model to 250W for an operation on a basis of the recent trend of lowering standby power consumption in energy-saving home appliances.
With the change in the electricity generation output range and the newly incorporated technologies which includes changing the installation method of parts within the “stacks,” the new core components such as the “stacks” has achieved reduction in size by some 30-40% compared with the current model. Furthermore, other design modifications have allowed the system configuration of the “fuel cell unit” to be greatly simplified, resulting in a 30% reduction in the number of components and a 20% weight reduction. As a result, the recommended retail price will be reduced to 2,761,500 yen (including tax, excluding installation), approximately 700,000 yen lower in comparison to the conventional model.
2. Industry’s smallest*1 installation space
The surface area required for installation has been reduced by up to 50%*7 in comparison to the conventional model to approximately 2 m2, the industry’s smallest. This has been achieved by changing to a tall and thin shape for the “fuel cell unit,” which allows it to be installed connected to the “hot water storage tank” in which water is boiled. The reduction in size makes the product suitable for homes with limited space such as those in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
*7: Depends on the installation conditions.
3. Larger remote control display
Compared to the conventional model, the LCD screen on the remote control (installed in the kitchen) has been made approximately 76% larger, making it easier to visualize the effects such as generation output and reductions in CO2 emissions. Furthermore, targets in lighting and heating expenses and the usage of gas and electricity can be set, and if the actual values are less than the target, the “smile” mark which indicates the achievements will be shown for an enjoyable energy saving and CO2 reduction.