December 16, 2009
Tokyo Gas, Kyocera, Rinnai and gas equipment maker Gastar have begun field trials for residential solid oxide fuel cells, reported Fuelcellsworks.com. The four partners will evaluate the performance and durability of solid oxide fuel cells for homes.
Compared with the proton exchange membrane fuel cells currently being sold, the next-generation SOFCs promise higher efficiencies and reduced energy consumption, plus reduced carbon dioxide emissions. The goal is to have commercial versions ready for the market in 2014-15.
The field trials will test a proprietary cell stack that can provide both electricity and hot water for households. Model homes are being operated in Yokohama and Tokyo, and the number of test locations will be increased to six in 2010.
Nippon Oil Corp, Japan’s largest refiner, plans to make fuel cells using ceramics from Kyocera to power homes and meet growing demand for alternative energy sources. Nippon Oil aims to make smaller and more efficient solid oxide fuel cells by March 2012 to target apartments, and could expand its lineup to fuel cells with more power for commercial use.