Energy Storage

Published on November 8th, 2013 | by Glenn Meyers

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World's First "Ene-Farm" Home Fuel Cell for Condominiums to Be Released

This October 21 press announcement on a condominium fuel cell to soon be released n Japan in interesting. Expect to see much more concerning the development of fuel cells that can substantially reduce energy consumption.

“Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. President: Tsuyoshi Okamoto and Panasonic Corporation President: Kazuhiro Tsuga today announced the joint development of the world’s first “Ene-Farm” home fuel cell for condominiums. The new “Ene-Farm” home fuel cell for condominiums will be sold by Tokyo Gas from April 1, 2014. The product is the first commercialized fuel cell in the world where the fuel cell unit, hot water unit and backup heat source unit can all be stored in the pipe shaft of the condominium.

“In comparison to detached houses, condominiums have more restrictions on the conditions for installations. By increasing the airtightness of the unit itself, it has become possible to install the new fuel cell in the pipe shaft in the open hallway of a condominium. In addition, in order to meet the installation standards of condominiums, the legs that anchor the unit have been strengthened, making the fuel cell more earthquake resistant, and measures, such as a modified exhaust structure, have improved the wind resistance of the fuel cell, making installation in the upper floors of a condominium and operation in strong winds possible.

“Compared to using electricity from thermal power plants and heating water using city gas, the new “Ene-Farm” fuel cell for condominiums reduces primary energy consumption by approximately 37% and CO2 emissions by approximately 49% when operating at the rated electricity generation. In a model case, users can cut around 30,000 to 40,000 yen from their annual utility bills, and reduce annual CO2 emissions by approximately 1.0 ton.

“Tokyo Gas is aiming for sales of 500 units in FY 2015 (ending March 31, 2015).

“The “Ene-Farm” fuel cell cogeneration system generates electricity through a chemical reaction between oxygen in the atmosphere and hydrogen extracted from city gas, which is used at home. The heat generated as a byproduct of this process is also used for hot water supply. This system is extremely eco-friendly as the electricity is generated and used in the same location, leading to no loss during transmission.

“Since the world’s first “Ene-Farm” products were put on general sale by Tokyo Gas in May 2009, Panasonic has now shipped a total of approximately 31,000 units throughout Japan as of the end of September 2013, of which approximately 24,000 have been sold by Tokyo Gas. For fiscal 2013, Panasonic will complete a production setup to enable an annual production capacity or more than 15,000, while Tokyo Gas will aim for annual sales of 12,000 units. Tokyo Gas also aims for a cumulative sales total of 300,000 units in 2020.

“In last fiscal year, Tokyo Gas expressed its intention to announce the release of the new fuel cell for condominiums in FY 2014 (ending March 31, 2014). As of Monday October 21, Tokyu Land Corporation and Sohgoh Real Estate have expressed their will to adopt the new fuel cell in condominiums they will sell (2 properties, 456 units).

“Through the spread of these “Ene-Farm” products, Tokyo Gas and Panasonic will contribute to bringing greater comfort to their customers’ lives as well as helping to protect the global environment and cutting peak power demand.”

Appearance of the product (when installed in the pipe shaft)

Pipe shaft with doors open Pipe shaft with doors closed

Example of installation layout (unit: mm)

Image of the fuel cell installed in the pipe shaft in an open hallway

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About the Author

Writer, documentary producer, and director. Meyers is a contributor to CleanTechnica, and founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.



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