Toshiba Corp and Toshiba Fuel Cell Power Systems Corp announced that it will release a new product of the "Ene Farm" residential fuel cell for gas companies in March 2012 in Japan.
The power generation efficiency of the new product is 38.5%, which is 3.5% higher than that of the former model released in 2009. And the efficiency of collecting heat generated by power generation was improved from 45 to 55.5%.
As a result, the total efficiency, which is calculated by combining the two kinds of efficiencies, reached 94%, which Toshiba and Toshiba Fuel Cell Power Systems claim is "one of the highest in the world" (based on the low heating value (LHV) standard of city gas). Also, the companies improved the durability of the fuel cell.
For general consumers, Osaka Gas Co Ltd will start selling the new Ene Farm April 2, 2012, for a price of ¥2,604,000 (approx US$33,363), which is about ¥650,000 lower than the price of the former model. Osaka Gas will use Toshiba's fuel cell unit but employ a 200L waste heat-powered hot-water supply/air heating unit manufactured by Chofu Seisakusho Co Ltd.
The Ene Farm has been attracting an increasing amount of attention since the Tohoku Earthquake, which hit Japan March 11, 2011.
"In fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2010, slightly more than 4,000 units of the Ene Farm were sold," said Osamu Maekawa, chief technology executive, Power Systems Company, Toshiba. "But in 2011, we installed about 6,500 units by the end of November. So, we saw a remarkable increase in sales volume, compared with sales volumes in past years."
Toshiba aimed to sell 5,000 units of the Ene Farm in fiscal 2011. And it is now planning to sell 15,000 units in fiscal 2012. In fiscal 2015, the company aims to sell 50,000 units by improving the competitiveness of the product and reducing its costs.
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