Japan aims its home fuel cells at Europe  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

With interest in fuel cells being given a big boost by the Bloom Box, the BBC has an article on Japanese efforts to sell cells to Europe - Japan aims its home fuel cells at Europe.

Following the success of a half-price subsidy for CO2-busting fuel-cell heat and energy generators for homes, Japan is now poised to ship its attention to supplying the UK and Germany with this hi-tech next-generation energy source.

With over 5,000 fuel cells providing heat and energy for conventional homes up and down Japan, the BBC has learnt that companies such as electronics giant Panasonic are in talks with EU governments about the possibility of bringing these proven energy and carbon-saving devices to market in Europe and elsewhere.

Panasonic has described the interest in its commercial fuel-cell project from the German, Korean and UK governments as "intense", and is confident that Japan, as the first to start commercial sales for homes last year, will be the forerunner in bringing the technology into common use.

Fuel cells - a technology that has been around for more than 100 years - convert fuels such as hydrogen and natural gas into electricity through an electrochemical reaction. The resultant heat generated also warms buildings in gas-boiler-sized boxes known as cogeneration fuel cells.

The idea is to generate all of the heating and hot water and the majority of the electricity needed by a typical UK home, without the need to be connected to the energy wasteful national grid.

Such efficient use of gas supplies can save the consumer around 25% of total energy costs, and reduce each home's CO2 emissions by up to 2.5 tonnes per annum, according to their makers.

They also claim customers can earn back the system's relatively high cost, running at present into thousands of pounds, within a few years through utility bill savings.

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