Japanese Prime Minister's New Official Residence to Get Worlds First Home Fuel Cell Units

Japanese Prime Minister's New Official Residence to Get Worlds First Home Fuel Cell Units

The Japanese government plans to install the world's first commercial fuel-cell cogeneration system for residential use at the Prime Minister's new official residence, scheduled to be completed in spring 2005. Home-use fuel-cell cogeneration is expected to play an effective role both to address energy and environmental issues.

This plan was based on Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's policy speech delivered in February 2002. In the speech the prime minister stated that fuel cells are a key to opening a new era of utilizing hydrogen as an energy source and that the government will work toward its practical use for automobiles and houses within three years.

Tokyo Gas Co. aims to be the first in the world to make a market launch of a polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) for home use, by the end of fiscal 2004, and will install the units at Koizumi's residence. One unit each from Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and Ebara Ballard Corp., which have been jointly working since 2003 on research and development with a view to commercialization, are to be installed.

The cogeneration system, to be installed as part of the world's first commercial unit of its kind, will run on city gas with a power generation capacity of 1-kilowatt, a power generation efficiency of 31 percent or over, a heat recovery efficiency of 40 percent or over and a hot water tank capacity of 200 liters.