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Panasonic opens fuel cell R&D center

Posted: 05 Jul 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:fuel cell? research? green energy?

Panasonic Corp. has opened the Panasonic Fuel Cell Development Office Europe (PFCOE) in Langen, Germany. The facility, in collaboration with other European utilities, will concentrate on developing household fuel cells for the European market.

Panasonic has been developing residential fuel cellsmicro 'combined heat and power system' (CHP)since 1999 and launched the world's first system, the ENE FARM, in May 2009 in Japan. Following its success in the Japanese market, it plans to extend its operations into Europe and the R&D center will be a key part of realizing this aim.

The PFCOE will focus on developing and adapting the fuel cells to reflect the different operational conditions between Europe and Japan. As the operation of fuel cells depends on the composition of natural gas, it is necessary for the fuel cell to be adapted to European gas conditions. The fuel cell micro CHP generates electricity through a chemical reaction between oxygen in the atmosphere and hydrogen extracted from natural gas (methane). The heat generated as a by-product of this process is also used for home heating and hot water supply. In Japan, a house powered by an ENE FARM fuel cell can expect to save about 1.5tons of CO2 emissions per year compared with a house powered by electricity from thermal power station and a gas heating system.

"We have a global goal to become the 'number one green innovation company in the consumer electronics industry' by 2018. As part of this goal, we in Europe are committed to providing products to the market that enable our customers, around the world, to live in a more sustainable way," said Laurent Abadie, chair and CEO of Panasonic Europe.

"Our fuel cell micro CHP is already used in our "eco ideas house" in Japan, which is a concept house that shows howwith the right technologywe can all have homes that store, create and save energy with virtually zero CO2 emissions. We haven't brought the fuel cells to the European market before but with our new R&D center dedicated to the advancement of fuel cell technology in Europe, we are one step closer to realizing our goal for 2018 and ensuring that our customers have access to green technologies globally while building on Panasonic's green energy business and sales."

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