Saturday, April 21, 2012

No. 124: Residential use fuel cell is advancing and growing (April 21, 2012)

Business trend of the smart house market (5/8)
Residential use fuel cell
The residential use fuel cell sales were about 16 billion yen in 2010, and they will grow about 85 times to 1,400 billion yen in 2025 in 11 major markets in Asia including Japan, Europe, and North America. The three countries that actively promote residential use fuel cell are Japan, Korea, and Germany, and Japan outpaces other two. It may be hard to establish substantial business in North America because energy cost is not high there. As the special measures to stimulate the spread of renewable energy, the central government allow electricity generated by renewable energy to be sold beginning in July in Japan. Currently, three companies of JX Oil and Energy, Tokyo Gas, and Osaka Gas are very active in the market, but other companies are going to participate in this market.

The large-scale generation inevitably wastes heat energy in time of generation even though generation efficiency is high. If a household is equipped with a residential use fuel cell, it can generate electricity for such applications as lights, hot water supply, and heating without waste. Depending on the materials to be used, the residential use fuel cell can roughly be divided into (1) Solid oxygen fuel cell (SOFC) and (2) Polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC). The residential use fuel cell is still expensive, and most consumers need to rely on the subsidy for introduction. It is urgent task for the industry to reduce production cost, establish a mass production system, and increase generation efficiency. 

Ene-Farm (residential use fuel cell) from JX Oil and Energy 

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