Tokyo Gas and Panasonic Launch New 'Ene-Farm' Home Fuel Cell Product
More Affordable and Easier to Install
Tokyo, Jan 17, 2013 - (JCN Newswire) - Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and Panasonic
Corporation have jointly developed a new version of their 'Ene-Farm'
home fuel cell(1). Panasonic manufactures the fuel cell unit and supplies it to
Tokyo Gas in combination with a hot water unit(2) and backup heat source(2)
produced by Gastar Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Tokyo Gas. The new model will be
sold by Tokyo Gas from April 1, 2013.
The price of the new product will be 1,995,000 yen (with the standard backup
heat source; including tax; excluding installation fee). This is about 760,000
yen less than the recommended retail price of the "Ene-Farm" model
currently on the market, made possible by a reduction in the number of
components. The new product also achieved an overall efficiency of 95.0%
(LHV)(3) - the world's highest(4). It is the first time that the
recommended retail price of an "Ene-Farm" product in Japan has been
less than 2 million yen.
Due to a reduction in the size of the equipment, the required installation
depth has been decreased from 900 mm to 750 mm. Since the backup heat source(5)
has also been separated from the hot water unit, the product can now be even
more easily installed in a wider variety of places. Moreover, it marks the
first time that an "Ene-Farm" product in Japan includes a remote
control with color display as a standard feature. Since the size of the screen
is also larger, the text and graphics are even easier to view.
The new product will be available to the general public in three models,
jointly developed by Tokyo Gas and Panasonic.
Since the world's first 'Ene-Farm' products were put on general
sale in May 2009, Panasonic has now shipped a total of approx. 21,000 units
throughout Japan as of the end of December 2012, of which approx. 15,000 have
been sold by Tokyo Gas. For FY2013, Panasonic will complete a production setup
to enable an annual production capacity 50% greater than its current annual
production forecast to more than 15,000 units(6), while Tokyo Gas will aim for
annual sales of 7,100 units - 70% more than the FY2012 sales target of 12,000
Through the spread of these "Ene-Farm" products, the two companies
will contribute to cutting peak electrical consumption, while bringing greater
comfort to their customers' lives as well as helping to protect the global
1. Substantial price reduction and the world's best overall efficiency
Through system simplification, the new product contains about 20% fewer
components than the previous model. Materials were revised for the
electricity-generating stacks, a key device, and for the fuel processor, which
produces hydrogen from city gas, while the size of hot water storage tank was
also reduced. Based on these improvements, the new product will be sold for
1,995,000 yen (equipped with standard backup heat source; including tax;
excluding installation fee), which is about 760,000 yen lower than the
recommended retail price of the current model. It is the first time that the
recommended retail price of an "Ene-Farm" product in Japan will be
below 2 million yen. The new product also offers the world's highest
overall efficiency of 95% (LHV). This was achieved by increasing the efficiency
of waste heat recovery, through better insulation of circuits for collection of
heat created during electrical generation.
2. Easier installation
By reducing the depth of the equipment from 480 mm to 400 mm, and by moving
the fuel cell and hot water unit from the rear to the bottom of the equipment,
the depth of the required installation space was reduced from 900 mm to 750 mm.
Also, by separating the backup heat source from the hot water unit, the product
can now be even more easily installed in a wider variety of places. This will
make it even more feasible for installation, especially in houses with limited
space such as those in the Tokyo metropolitan area. In addition to the standard
backup heat source equipped with home heating, bathwater reheating, and hot
water supply functions, there is also a slim-profile model with the same
functions that can be installed in even smaller spaces, and a bathwater model
designed to supply hot water and reheat water for a Japanese bathtub. The
entire lineup consists of four models, enabling customers to choose the optimal
product to meet their installation space and functional needs.
3. First remote control of its kind in the industry (installed in the kitchen
The "Ene-Farm" remote control is the first of its kind in Japan to
feature a color display. The screen size has also been increased from 3.5
inches to 4.3 inches, making it easier to see the text and graphs. In
"double-generating" homes that have installed both
"Ene-Farm" and a solar system, the remote control will display
information on electrical generation for the entire home including power from
the solar panels, and the increase in electricity sold to the power company due
to "Ene-Farm" electrical generation. With a special feature to
display "Today's Performance," information such as power
generated by "Ene-Farm", the self-sufficiency rate for hot water, and
the environmental contribution (CO2 emissions reduction) can be viewed at the
touch of a button. This will encourage customers to save even more electricity
and reduce energy consumption.
4. Better durability and output optimization
Thanks to the improved durability of the electrolyte membrane, which forms the
core of electrical generation, the new product can operate for 60,000 hours, or
20% longer than the previous model. Also, by reducing the lower limit of the
power output from 250 watts to 200 watts, it is even more suitable for
customers with minimal power needs.
Differences with previous model
1. System configuration - New product configuration with separation of the
backup heat source from the hot water unit
2. Easier installation - Reduction of installation space depth (from 900 mm to
3. Remote control (installed in the kitchen and bathroom) - Large and colored
LCD screen for easier viewing of text and graphs
For product specifications and images, please see
The "Ene-Farm" fuel cell co-generation systems generate electricity
through a chemical reaction between oxygen in the atmosphere and hydrogen
extracted from city gas. The heat generated as a byproduct of this process is
also used for hot water supply(7). This system is extremely eco-friendly. Since
the electricity is generated and used at the same place, there are no losses in
transmission. Also, all heat produced during electricity generation can be used
without waste. Compared to conventional method of using electricity from
thermal power plant and hot water supply using city gas(8), the fuel cell
system allows primary energy consumption to be reduced by approximately 37%(9)
and CO2 emissions by approximately 49%. Users can cut around 60,000 yen from
annual utility bills, and CO2 emissions by approximately 1.3 tons a year(10).
(1) Development was partially based on results obtained from a project
commissioned by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development
(2) The hot water unit and the backup heat source were developed jointly by
Tokyo Gas, Gastar Co., Ltd., and Rinnai Corporation.
(3) LHV is short for Lower Heating Value. Value obtained by subtracting the
heat of vaporization of the water vapor from the total heat generated when the
gas fuel is fully combusted. (Compared with HHV = Higher Heating Value ~ 0.903
(4) For a home fuel cell co-generation system. (As of January 17, 2013,
according to Panasonic survey.)
(5) This equipment operates as needed to increase the temperature of hot water
for home heating, and to supply hot water when there is no water left in the
hot water storage tank
(6) In addition to Tokyo Gas, Panasonic will also supply this product to other
major city gas companies across Japan, to be launched no earlier than April 1,
(7) The previous model uses a portion of the exhaust heat from electrical
generation to heat hot water for home heating. With the new product however, it
is entirely heated by the backup heat source.
(8) Method where electricity is supplied from a thermal power station, and
city gas supplied by Tokyo Gas is used for heating.
(9) Compared with the method(8) at a rated operation of electricity generation
of 0.75 kWh and heat recovery volume of 1.08 kWh / approximately 37 liters at
40 degrees Celsius.
(10) Conditions used in estimation are as follows:
- 4-person family in single, detached house (total floor area: 120 m2).
- Annual burden - Hot water supply: 14.7 GJ; Warming bath water: 1.6 GJ;
Cooking: 2.2 GJ; Coolers: 8.3 GJ; Floor heaters: 9.0 GJ; Air-conditioner
heating: 4.6 GJ; Lighting and others: 17.9 GJ
- CO2 equivalent - City gas: 2.29 kg-CO2/m3; Electricity: 0.69 kg-CO2/kWh
- Primary energy equivalent - Electricity: 9.76 MJ/kWh; Gas: 45 MJ/m3; Hot
water/heating efficiency: 80%
- Gas charges - Conventional system: Using 'Danran Plan'; Ene-Farm:
Using 'Eco Plan with Ene-Farm'
- Electricity charges - Using 'Meter Rate Lighting B' with 40A
contract for both conventional system and Ene-Farm.
Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture
of electronic products in three business fields, consumer, components &
devices, and solutions. Based in Osaka, Japan, the company recorded
consolidated net sales of 7.85 trillion yen for the year ended March 31, 2012.
Panasonic's stock is listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York
(NYSE:PC) Stock Exchanges. The company has the vision of becoming the No. 1
Green Innovation Company in the Electronics Industry by the 100th year of its
founding in 2018. For more information on Panasonic, its brand and commitment
to sustainability, visit the company's website at http://panasonic.net/.
Tokyo Public Relations Office
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