Matsushita Electrical Industrial to sell home cogeneration system

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. announced Monday that in 2004 it will begin marketing a small home-use cogeneration system that uses a solid fuel cell.

The prototype system has a maximum output of 1.3kw and will extract hydrogen from city gas. It will sell for 1 to 1.2 million yen ($8,319 to $9,982) and reportedly save about 50,000 yen annually in energy costs.

The fuel cell creates electricity and uses waste heat to warm water to 70 degrees for use in the kitchen or bathroom. The central unit measures 86 x 85 x 32cm.

Matsushita Electric Industrial developed a special cogeneration-use catalyst. As a result, the company created an efficient system in which operation can be suspended at night when power consumption is low, and begun again in the morning. In addition, the system does not require a nitrogen canister needed in systems to date, and therefore it is relatively easy to introduce into a home.

Household cogeneration systems utilizing energy-efficient fuel cells are acclaimed as an efficient and eco-friendly alternative to currently available commercial power supply. Since 1999, Matsushita has been carrying out rigorous testing of polymer electrolyte fuel cells and has been researching and developing more compact units with higher energy-efficiency rates.

Matsushita achieved promising energy conservation results by developing and installing equipment that uses networked energy control systems to measure and analyze power consumption in its buildings and factories. The Company applied this technology to develop a new energy control system for the home linking air conditioners and other home appliances via such means as a network of standard power lines.

With further research, Matsushita anticipates not only energy conservation but also energy creation through optimum control of household solar power and cogeneration systems.

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