Panasonic Unveils Home-Use Fuel Cell System

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. best known for its Panasonic brand of consumer electronics and digital communications products, has developed a home-use fuel cell cogeneration system featuring 35 percent power generating efficiency, and quiet operation, according to the company. Matsushita aims to commercialize the system by the end of next fiscal year ending March 2005 after field-testing at its research facility.

Osaka, Japan – June 2, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Matsushita has been chosen from among the Japanese fuel cell producers to exhibit this system at the World Gas Conference scheduled June 2 to 5 in Tokyo. Matsushita announced in January 2000 its development of a compact home-use fuel cell generation system that can generate enough electricity and heat to supply the average household. For the past year, an operating prototype has been exhibited at the Panasonic Center situated in Tokyo. Based on data obtained under real-world testing conditions, the present system is designed to offer the following features: (1) membrane-electrode assembly (MEA) structures designed to limit output voltage fluctuation per 1,000 hours to under 3 mV, achieving record durability in the industry; (2) 35 percent power generating efficiency; (3) reliable operation based on the application of combustion and fluid control expertise accumulated over the years; and (4) quiet 44 dB operation, equivalent to an air conditioner’s outdoor unit, to allow its use in densely populated residential areas and at night. The field testing of the home-use fuel cogeneration system will be carried out in Matsushita’s two-story-house research facility in Osaka. Control methods and efficiency will be evaluated under different real-life scenarios. Research and suggestions on new “eco ideas” that employ both fuel cell cogeneration systems and network systems will be tested in this facility, in addition to studies on reducing the energy consumption of individual products. Matsushita aims to contribute to the harmonious coexistence of humankind and the global environment through the technologies brought into being by this project.

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