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Kyocera, Osaka Gas, Aisin, Chofu and Toyota Announce Completion of World-Class Efficiency Residential-Use Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) Cogeneration System Co-Development and Commercialization of “ENE-FARM Type S”

ENE-FARM Type S SOFC system generation unit (left) and hot-water supply & heating unit (right)

ENE-FARM Type S SOFC system generation unit (left) and hot-water supply & heating unit (right)

OSAKA, Japan–Kyocera Corporation (herein “Kyocera”), Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. (herein “Osaka Gas”), Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd. (herein “Aisin”), Chofu Seisakusho Co., Ltd. (herein “Chofu”) and Toyota Motor Corporation (herein “Toyota”) announced that they have completed co-development of a residential-use solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) co-generation system (herein “SOFC system”).

The resulting product — “ENE-FARM Type S” — achieves a power generation efficiency of 46.5%*1, the highest level in the world*2 for a residential-use fuel cell. The SOFC system has been developed based upon the companies’ advanced technologies. Within the co-development agreement, Kyocera produces the cell stack; Aisin the generation units with the cell stack incorporated into it; Chofu the hot-water supply and heating unit using exhausted heat; and Osaka Gas will commence sales of the system on April 27, 2012 (only available to the Japanese market). The companies will successively expand their production operations and will strive to promote the widespread use of this SOFC system.

The companies submitted 121 units in total to the “Demonstrative Research on Solid Oxide Fuel Cell” project undertaken by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and the New Energy Foundation.

ENE-FARM Type S utilizes ceramic electrolyte for the power generating cell stack which achieves a high operating temperature of 700 to 750 degrees Celsius. This high temperature heat can be efficiently used as energy to reform utility gas to hydrogen and thus a high power generation efficiency level of 46.5% is achieved — with an overall energy efficiency of 90.0%*1.

The SOFC system includes a hot-water supply and heating unit which uses exhausted heat with a storage tank at a small size of 90 liters to optimally utilize the high temperature heat exhausted during power generation; as well as a high efficiency latent heat recovery type hot-water supply heating unit for the back-up boiler.

Through these measures, the system is environmentally and economically enhanced, and eliminates annual CO2 emissions of about 1.9 tons while also reducing annual energy costs of about JPY76,000 (USD916) compared to ordinary gas-powered hot-water supply and heating units.

Moreover, due to the low number of parts and small quantity of exhaust energy, a compact design was made possible for both the power generation unit and the hot-water supply and heating unit — thus allowing it to be installed even at homes with limited installation space. In the future, the companies also plan to expand use of the system to apartment buildings.

To learn more about specs, features and see additional photos of this SOFC system please see: http://global.kyocera.com/archives/2012/0305_woec.html

NOTE: Results herein are based on verification research undertaken by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

*1 Rate for lower heating value (LHV). Heat value excluding the calorific value of latent heat for condensation of steam generated when fuel gas is completely combusted.
*2 For residential-use fuel cell cogeneration system. As of March 13, 2012; based on research by Osaka Gas.
Yen/US dollar conversion based on March 14, 2012 rate of JPY1=USD83


Kyocera Corporation (NYSE:KYO)(TOKYO:6971) (http://global.kyocera.com/), the parent and global headquarters of the Kyocera Group, was founded in 1959 as a producer of fine ceramics (also known as “advanced ceramics”). By combining these engineered materials with metals and plastics, and integrating them with other technologies, Kyocera has become a leading supplier of industrial ceramics, solar power generating systems, telecommunications equipment, printers, copiers, electronic components, semiconductor packages, and cutting tools. During the year ended March 31, 2011, the company’s net sales totaled 1.27 trillion yen (approx. USD15.3 billion). The company is ranked #604 on Forbes magazine’s 2011 “Global 2000″ listing of the world’s largest publicly traded companies.

March 15, 2012 - 11:55 AM No Comments

Bloom Energy Launches Mission Critical Systems Practice: Hewlett-Packard’s Peter Gross Joins Bloom and Leads New Business Expansion


Sunnyvale, CA— Bloom Energy makes key moves to bring advanced, clean, secure mission critical energy to help improve data security and reduce disruption to mission critical government and business processes.

Bloom Energy today announced the formation of its Mission Critical Practice to be led by Peter Gross, a widely recognized authority in the design and implementation of advanced mission critical IT solutions, including data centers. Gross was a co-founder and CEO of EYP Mission Critical Facilities, Inc., the premier consulting and engineering firm dedicated to the design and operations of data centers.

Gross, formerly Vice President and Managing Partner Global Consulting, Hewlett-Packard Company joined Bloom Energy on March 12, 2012 as Vice President, Mission Critical Systems. “Bloom Energy will now fill a critical need in the data center industry,” says Gross. “By providing a reliable, clean and stable energy source that is immune to disruptions to the grid, Bloom will help its customers reduce their security risks considerably, while at the same time improving efficiency and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Bloom Energy Server is based on revolutionary solid oxide fuel cell technology that converts fuel to electricity through an electro-chemical reaction, without any combustion, at the world’s highest level of efficiency. As a result the electricity produced by a Bloom Energy Server is 50% cleaner than that produced by the electrical grid with no harmful Sulfur Dioxide or Nitrogen Oxide emissions.

Because Bloom Energy Servers are located on- site with the customer, they are not vulnerable to disruptions to the power grid caused by human intervention or natural disaster.

With its expansion into data center security, Bloom Energy is addressing an issue of growing national and international concern. Data centers have the same relationship to information as banks do to money—this is where the new “treasure” of information lives and is served from to power our 21st century information age. Speaking before Congress recently, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) described rising threats to the national information infrastructure as “Nothing less than a matter of national security,” noting that “The Secretary of Defense has warned that the next Pearl Harbor could be a cyber attack.”

Sabotage is only one threat. In October, 2011, an early snowstorm knocked out power in Connecticut for nearly a week, threatening and often disrupting business. More than 18 major grid outages resulting from extreme weather have occurred in the United States over the last 10 years alone. Outages have been estimated to cost from $330,000 an hour up to $2,800,000 an hour depending upon the industry sector, according to a study by Network Computing.

Adding to the threat of disruption by either nature or sabotage is the growing concern over the cost to the climate of powering data centers. Greenpeace last year released “How Dirty is Your Data?,” a report criticizing leading companies for relying on highly polluting energy sources, which has mobilized significant pressure on industry to consider other, cleaner ways of meeting data center energy demands.

Bloom Energy believes these forces will result in a major change in the information age is powered and secured. With the formation of its Mission Critical Systems practice, Bloom Energy is taking a leadership position in ensuring that our economy and our society are made secure and are powered by clean, reliable and affordable 21st century technology.

March 15, 2012 - 6:01 AM No Comments

Research in Motion Receives U.S. Fuel Cell Patent


On the heels of some recent fuel cell patents awarded to Apple, RIM was recently awarded a patent entitled “Location of a fuel cell on a mobile device“.

The patent describes “A mobile device having: a keyboard; a printed circuit board having at least one contact responsive to the keyboard; and a fuel cell assembly having: a fuel cell located between the keyboard and the printed circuit board, the fuel cell having a membrane and at least one aperture corresponding with the at least one contact; a tank adapted to store a fuel for the fuel cell; and piping connecting the tank with the fuel cell, where the fuel cell ventilates through the keyboard. Alternatively, the fuel cell acts as the printed circuit board and at least one contact for the keyboard is printed onto the fuel cell.”

We shall see if any of these recent patents come to fruition.

Readers may remember that companies such as MTI Micro, Manhattan Scientifics and the now defunct Medis Technologies were all major players in the past without any real commercial success.

March 15, 2012 - 5:12 AM No Comments

Plug Power completes formulation of Hypulsion JV with Axane

On February 29, Plug Power completed the formation of Hypulsion S.A.S., the “JV”, a joint venture with Axane, S.A. to develop and sell hydrogen fuel cell systems for the European material handling market. As previously disclosed, on January 24, the company and Axane entered into a Master and Shareholders’ Agreement providing for the terms of the JV. As part of the formation of the JV, the Company and the JV entered into a License Agreement dated as of February 29.

The Company now has more than 2,000 GenDrive fuel cell units deployed at live customer sites. Units shipped during the fourth quarter include its next-generation GenDrive architecture products. The new offering is designed to increase reliability and improve lift and towing capacity. The simplified GenDrive features 30 percent fewer components; GenDrive product options now provide customers with a flexible, more cost-effective solution to meet fleet requirements.

In 2011 Plug Power announced the formation of a joint venture with Axane, an Air Liquide subsidiary to develop the European market for fuel cell powered forklift trucks.  The JV formation was finalized in February 2012 and is formally known as HyPulsion.  Plug Power projects that the market opportunity in Europe is larger than North America.

“The sales momentum that the Company experienced in 2011 is continuing in 2012,” said Andy Marsh, CEO at Plug Power. “The fuel cell industry is going through a full-fledged renaissance, as applications from lift trucks to automobiles to on-site power generation become more broadly deployed. Our technology provides sustainability and measurable operational benefits to our distribution and manufacturing customers, driving GenDrive unit adoption and contributing to the overall success of the fuel cell market.”

March 15, 2012 - 5:00 AM No Comments