ENE-FARM Type S – most efficient residential-use Solid Oxide Fuel Cell
Osaka Gas, Aisin Seiki, Kyocera Corporation, Chofu Seisakusho and Toyota Motor Corporation announced that they have completed co-development of a residential-use solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) co-generation system named ENE-FARM Type S. The system achieves power generation efficiency of 46.5% – currently highest level in the world when it comes to fuel cells for residential use.
ENE-FARM Type S utilizes ceramic electrolyte for the power generating cell stack which generates power through chemical reaction between hydrogen reformed from utility gas and oxygen in the air. The cell stack achieves a high operating temperature of 700°C to 750°C. The increase of power generation efficiency was achieved with improvements of thermal insulation properties of the modules used in the SOFC system. This high temperature heat is therefore more efficiently used in the process where utility gas is reformed to hydrogen. The system can operate continuously and provide roughly 80% of household power consumption.
The SOFC system also solves the needs for hot water, since it uses exhausted heat during the power generation process to heat water to approximately 70°C in a 90-litre water storage tank. It also has a built-in back up high efficiency latent heat recovery type boiler that can kick in if the hot-water storage tank is empty.
The low number of parts and lower need to generated energy enabled a more compact design for both the power generation unit and the hot-water supply and heating unit. Each unit weights 94kg (207 lbs) on its own, and dimensions of the power generating unit are 0.6m × 0.935m × 0.335m (23″ W × 36.8″ H × 13.2″ D), while the dimensions of the hot-water supply & heating unit are 0.74m × 1.76m × 0.31m (29.1″ W × 69.3″ H × 12.2″ D).
The dimensions match some of the larger appliances that can be found in most of the modern homes, making the system easily installable into homes with limited installation space. Required installation space was decreased to approximately 1.9m2 consequently (minimum installation space is approximately 1.6m2 with optional side exhaust gas cover). In the future, the companies plan to expand use of the system to apartment buildings.
The companies submitted 121 units in total to the “Demonstrative Research on Solid Oxide Fuel Cell” project undertaken by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and the New Energy Foundation.
Osaka Gas will commence sales of the system on April 27, 2012 and it will available only to the Japanese market. The price of the standard system without installment costs is going to be around $33,500 (¥2,751,000).