Panasonic trims Ene-Farm fuel cell size and price

January 22, 2013 by Nancy Owano, report

(—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, cheaper, and efficient successor to the Ene-Farm products of the past; the new product can operate 20 percent longer than the previous model, for 60,000 hours. The developers, Tokyo Gas and Panasonic, said that this Ene-Farm home fuel cell achieves overall efficiency of 95 percent LHV, as the world's most efficient fuel cell.

LHV is short for Lower Heating Value. This is the value obtained by subtracting the heat of vaporization of the from the total heat generated when the gas fuel is fully combusted.

With the new Ene-Farm's smaller sized equipment, the required installation depth was decreased from 900 mm to 750 mm and the backup was separated from the hot water unit; the product announcement explained how that means the home can be easily installed in a wider variety of places, an important advantage for residents in houses with limited space such as those in the Tokyo . Another key promotion point is price. The new Ene-Farm costs about 760,000 yen less than the recommended retail price of the Ene-Farm model currently on the market. The new design marks the first time that the recommended retail price of an Ene-Farm product in Japan is less than 2 million yen.

The cost cut is attributed to the fact that the new entrant has less components. The price will be 1,995,000 yen with the standard backup heat source; including tax; excluding installation fee.

Another "first" being promoted as part of the Ene-Farm announcement is that the new Ene-Farm marks the first time the product will include a remote control with color display. The screen size is larger and the text and graphics, they said, are easier to see. For those homes with a installed, an Ene-Farm addition would work, in that the can display information on electrical generation for the entire home including power from the dwelling's solar panels.

Panasonic trims Ene-Farm fuel cell size and price

Panasonic is the manufacturer of the fuel cell unit, and the company supplies it to Tokyo Gas, in combination with a unit and backup heat source by Gastar, a subsidiary of Tokyo Gas. The new product will be available to the general public in three models, starting in April.

The world's first 'Ene-Farm' products were put on general sale in May 2009. Panasonic, in efforts to strengthen its position as a leader among green companies, is keen on advancing the development of fuel cell efficiencies. According to the company, "Panasonic is now promoting fuel cells as one of the most important business categories of the Panasonic group in line with its vision, namely to become the No.1 Green Innovation Company in the electronics Industry in 2018, the 100th anniversary of our founding."

Explore further: The 'Ene Pocket' toy car runs on sugar (w/ Video)

More information: Press release

Related Stories

The 'Ene Pocket' toy car runs on sugar (w/ Video)

January 29, 2010

( -- Takara Tomy, the Japanese toy makers have unveiled their "Ene Pocket", a radio-controlled toy car with a Sony bio-battery that is fuelled by sugars like those in fruit drinks and sodas.

Apple says data center will be all green

May 21, 2012

Apple says its $1 billion data center in Maiden, N.C., will include a second large solar farm to help power the site entirely by renewable energy by the end of this year.

Panasonic completes Sanyo acquisition

December 21, 2009

(AP) -- Panasonic Corp. said Monday that it had taken majority control of Sanyo Electric Co., officially forming one of the world's largest electronics makers.

Panasonic plans home-use storage cell

December 23, 2009

Panasonic Corp., which recently made a successful takeover bid for Sanyo Electric Co., plans to market a lithium-ion storage cell for home use around fiscal 2011.

S&P downgrades Panasonic one notch to 'A'

November 2, 2011

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's on Wednesday said it had downgraded Japan's Panasonic one notch to "A" with a negative outlook, citing pressure on its digital products such as flat panel TVs.

Panasonic to build Malaysian solar cell plant

November 25, 2011

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic said Friday it would build a new solar cell factory in Malaysia, as it looks abroad to cut production costs caused by the surging yen.

Recommended for you

Researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected

February 20, 2018

Studying data from Twitter, University of Illinois researchers found that less people tweet per capita from larger cities than in smaller ones, indicating an unexpected trend that has implications in understanding urban pace ...

Augmented reality takes 3-D printing to next level

February 20, 2018

Cornell researchers are taking 3-D printing and 3-D modeling to a new level by using augmented reality (AR) to allow designers to design in physical space while a robotic arm rapidly prints the work.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

2 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2013
So this fuel cell converts natural gas into electricity. With a cost of about $22,000 for a 7 year life (for the fuel cell, not the natural gas or installation costs) this amounts to a yearly cost of $3,143, or $262/month, just to buy the equipment. It'd be interesting to see what the fuel cell electricity costs compared to that from the electric company, with all costs included. But I don't want to dig thru my engineering books to figure it out.
not rated yet Jan 22, 2013
I think you are right ForFreeMinds - this is still an exoctic technology that is not going to get a lot of customers. Perhaps business clients here in the u.s. that can take advantage of the tax breaks for fuel cells - that is what is keeping Bloom afloat at the moment. Definitely an expensive back up system - a small gas (petrol) generator will run you $3 - $5,000.
not rated yet Jan 23, 2013
The fuel cell does have a reliability advantage, along with much faster start up times. To some business models those advantages might justify the higher price tag. I hope so because if such an industry can be supported for long enough these things could become economically viable for general decentralized power production fairly quickly. Doing the same calculation ForFreeMinds did for the old system price @ 50k hours of operation I get ~$450 /month. So the new system represents a 70% decrease in equipment based operating cost.

The thing can produce 750w, so over its life it produces 45mwh. Residential gas is ~40-80 cents per therm. 1 therm = 29.3kwh. 1th * 0.95 = ~27.8kwh. using $0.6/th I get 2.16 cents per kwh. The average cost of electricity varies, but 12 cents is reasonable. So the savings could be $0.1/kwh. ($0.1/kwh)*45,000kwh = $4500.
Or another way to put it;
It's about $0.52/kwh vs $0.12/kwh, not including installation.
So not good for the wallet yet.

phys reader
not rated yet Jan 26, 2013
Decrease in installation space is beneficial aspect of novelty
Also lower price is an advantage.......

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.