Condo dwellers to get energy-wise fuel cell system

Oct 23, 2013 by Nancy Owano weblog

(Phys.org) —Tokyo Gas and Panasonic are to start selling a unique home fuel-cell system for condos in Japan starting April 2014. This system involves a fuel-cell unit, hot-water storage unit and heat source equipment for backup purposes installed in the pipe shaft of a condominium. At the press conference where the system was announced, there was no manufacturer's suggested retail price offered, but the talk was about the system's features and benefits. This is the condo version of the now-famous Ene-Farm fuel cell that first went on sale in 2009. The design was modified in order to accommodate the requirements unique to installing such systems in condominiums. As such, this is another first in Japan's effort toward commercial fuel cell systems targeted at household heating and power generation. The unit now can be installed in the pipe shaft in the corridor of a condominium.

The reason for the effort is clear when examining multifamily building trends. According to The Japan News, condos and other multifamily housing account for 70 percent of Tokyo Gas' 10 million household customers.

Questions unique to condo environments had to be resolved. This time around, the system consists of a fuel cell unit, hot-water unit, and backup unit that are all stored in the pipe shaft of the condominium. A pipe shaft is a space to store water and gas pipes; the shaft runs vertically through condominium floors. In comparison to detached houses, said the announcement, "condominiums have more restrictions on the conditions for installations." The designers increased the air-tightness of the unit, and it was possible to install the new fuel cell in the pipe shaft in the open hallway. They also worked on the unit to meet quake-resistance standards. Thirdly, the engineers had to consider fashioning the air supply and exhaust system to work under high wind conditions on a building's higher floors.

At the press conference, Tokyo Gas showed an example of the product installed in a pipe shaft. In a model case, it was said that the system can reduce utility costs by $306 to $420 on a user's annual utility bill. They are emphasizing, in the introduction of this condo system, the Ene-Farm advantage of reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions, as well. "Compared to using electricity from thermal power plants and heating water using city gas, the new Ene-Farm fuel cell for condominiums reduces primary by approximately 37 percent and CO2 emissions by approximately 49 percent when operating at the rated electricity generation," said the news release.

Stepping forth to show interest in the new system for condos, according to the release, are Tokyu Land Corporation and Sogoh Real Estate. They expressed "their will to adopt the new in condominiums they will sell." This would involve two properties, 456 units.

Explore further: Electromobility, efficient and safe: Visio.M consortium presents new electric car

More information: techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/… _EN/20131022/310280/
the-japan-news.com/news/article/0000738668
panasonic.co.jp/corp/news/offi… 21-5/en131021-5.html

Related Stories

Panasonic trims Ene-Farm fuel cell size and price

Jan 22, 2013

(Phys.org)—This month, Panasonic and Tokyo Gas announced the launch of their newest Ene-Farm home fuel cell, a product that residents can use to generate energy right from their homes. This is a smaller, ...

Technology enables system use in a power outage

Sep 25, 2012

Honda Motor announced it will begin sales of a new model for its household MCHP (Micro Combined Heat and Power) gas engine cogeneration unit in November 2012, through gas utilities across Japan. Building ...

Can a greenhouse grow energy savings, too?

Jun 15, 2011

A grocery store, greenhouse, hotel and community college will be among a diverse group of West Coast organizations testing the next generation of fuel cells that produce both electric power and heat while ...

Qatar unveils low-emission hybrid car

Nov 28, 2012

A Qatari research centre unveiled a low-emission and low-fuel-consumption hybrid car Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN climate talks taking place in the gas-rich country, it said in a statement.

Recommended for you

First-of-a-kind supercritical CO2 turbine

Oct 20, 2014

Toshiba Corporation today announced that it will supply a first-of-a-kind supercritical CO2 turbine to a demonstration plant being built in Texas, USA. The plant will be developed by NET Power, LLC, a U.S. venture, together w ...

Drive system saves space and weight in electric cars

Oct 17, 2014

Siemens has developed a solution for integrating an electric car's motor and inverter in a single housing. Until now, the motor and the inverter, which converts the battery's direct current into alternating ...

Dispelling a misconception about Mg-ion batteries

Oct 16, 2014

Lithium (Li)-ion batteries serve us well, powering our laptops, tablets, cell phones and a host of other gadgets and devices. However, for future automotive applications, we will need rechargeable batteries ...

Turning humble seaweed into biofuel

Oct 16, 2014

The sea has long been a source of Norway's riches, whether from cod, farmed salmon or oil. Now one researcher from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) researcher hopes to add seaweed ...

User comments : 0