Fuel Cells can convert chemical energy to electrical energy directly. Several types of fuel cells such as PAFC, MCFC, SOFC and PEFC, are developing in the world. Among them PEFCs are in the commercialization stage in Japan. ENEFARMs are the home co-generation systems which use PEFCs with reformers. Over 30,000 units of ENEFARMs have sold already in Japan. Fuel cell vehicles will commercialize in 2015 or 2017 with 100 of hydrogen stations in Japan. In the age of the green hydrogen energy system which uses renewable energies as a primary energy and hydrogen as secondary energy, fuel cells might have more important role in the energy system. Continuous efforts with material innovation are always necessary for the future development of fuel cells.
Tokyo Gas has developed jointly with Panasonic the new model of its residential PEM fuel cell CHP system, named ENE FARM. Tokyo Gas started to sell the first commercial model of ENE FARM in 2009 and released the second generation model, the previous model, in 2011. Approximately 17,000 systems were sold in four years and their high performance and user-friendly interface satisfied its customers. Being based on the honored previous model, the new model has been developed in order to add following various improvements. By reducing the number of components of the system, listed price of the new model becomes less than 2 million yen for the first time in the world. Total efficiency goes up to 95%, the highest in the world, by the effect of enhancement of insulation. Downsizing and separation of the system improves flexibility of installation drastically. The display of the control device becomes in color and larger than previous model and it will lead to better user-friendliness. The new model has been available in the market since 1st April, 2013.
Toshiba Fuel Cell Power Systems Corporation has provided the residential PEFC systems “ENE-FARM” since 2009, and released a model at 2012. The new ENE-FARM has the highest level of total energy efficiency in the world. In 2012, we developed some new applications of the ENE-FARM, and we have been developing some functions which can enhance the usefulness of it. This report describes the new applications of the new ENE-FARM and recent trends for new functions that will apply to the ENE-FARM.
Reducing the amount of CO2 emissions in residential sector is urgent and critical issue, and to achieve this objective, increasing the popularity of the house that emits very little CO2 is the key factor. Smart House composing of the energy saving technologies, fuel cell system and photovoltaic generation system satisfies this precondition of being poplar, such as that it is comfortable to live, the utility expenses are low, it can offset CO2 emissions, the capacity of photovoltaic generation system can be comparatively small, and the appearance of the house isn’t restricted.
By the great earthquake on March 11, 2011, the needs of the smart house which can respond to the shortage of electric power supplies or a blackout have grown. For this reason, the “Green First Hybrid” with the system which combined the photovoltaic, the fuel cell, and the storage battery was made. In a “Green First Hybrid”, television and a refrigerator can be used also at the time of a blackout. Furthermore, bathing is also possible and the life near usually is possible. As for this, power generation of a fuel cell contributes greatly.
From now on, the smart house using hydrogen can also expect development.
Fuel cell vehicle is the nearest one to offer solutions for energy and climate change. In this paper, the technologies of fuel cell and fuel cell vehicle (FCV) are described. The recent CV has following significant features (1) Improved sub-zero startup, (2) Great extended cruising range and (3) Enhanced durability of the fuel cell stack. These performances of FCV are established close to the current gasoline powered vehicle. Toyota announced the introduction of FCV to the market around 2015. The Latest Toyota FC Stack has the highest output performance of 3kW/l power density in the world.
Nissan has achieved the feasible technology level for FCEV commercialization by the continuous research and development activities from 2001. New concept FC system had gotten the 2.3 times power density ratio and reduced 75% cost of 2005 model. Gen..3 FC stack with high current density and low Pt catalyst loading, system simplifying, using mass production parts had been adopted at the FC system for cost reductions. Nissan had started the codevelopment of Common FC system with Daimler AG and Ford to speed up availability of zero-emission technology and significantly reduce investment costs.
As for fuel cell electric vehicles, which Honda considers to be the ultimate environmentally-responsible vehicle, and therefore has been leading the industry in R&D and sales, Honda will launch an all-new fuel cell electric model sequentially starting in 2015. The other hand, hydrogen and electricity havevery good complementary relationshiptoeach other. Honda introduces one concept of sustainable system using high differential water electrolysis.