A residential fuel cell system is about to enter the market co-developed by Toyota, Kyocera, Osaka Gas, and other Japanese corporations.
The corporations, which also include Aisin Seiki Co. and Chofu Seisakusho Co., developed a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) co-generation system that can power homes.
Dubbed "ENE-FARM Type S," the system has a power generation efficiency of 46.5%, the highest level in the world for a residential fuel cell, they say.
Kyocera makes the fuel cell stack; Aisin incorporates the stack into generation units; Chofu makes the hot-water supply and heating unit using exhausted heat; and Osaka Gas will start selling the product in April in Japan. We're not clear on Toyota's role.
The compact design requires few parts and is small enough for most homes. The companies also plan to expand use of the system to apartment buildings.
A ceramic electrolyte in the power generating cell stack achieves high operating temperatures of 700-750 degrees Celsius. This heat is then used as energy to transform gas into hydrogen, achieving 46.5% power generation efficiency, with an overall energy efficiency of 90%.
Excess heat generated from power generation goes into a small, 90-liter hot water supply and heating unit.
The partners say the system reduces annual energy costs by about $916 compared to traditional gas-powered hot water and heating systems, while eliminating about 1.9 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.