Solid oxide fuel cells for residential use are made up of two units: a generating unit to produce electricity and a hot-water supply unit which uses the heat produced when electricity is generated. They are highly energy efficient, produce an extremely low amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur oxide (SOx), and emit very little carbon dioxide (CO2), a leading cause of climate change. As an environmentally friendly system for the home, their use is expected to increase in the future.
Various types of fuel cells are made by using different materials for the cells at the heart of the system. Polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFC) using polymer electrolyte membranes are already available for residential use. However, one company has proceeded with the development of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), which generate electricity even more efficiently than PEFCs. For the cell materials Kyocera uses Fine Ceramics, with their superior heat resistance and durability, and they have achieved the highest levels of generating efficiency in the world.*
* For residential fuel cells with output less than 1kW (As of February 24th, 2016 based on study by Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.)
Types of fuel cells for residential use
|Polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs)||Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs)|
|Cell (electrolyte)||Polymer||Fine Ceramics|
|Operating temperature||Room temperature – 90℃||700℃ and above|
|Generating efficiency||35 – 40%||50% and above|
|Main uses||Cogeneration for residential use
|Cogeneration for residential use
Cogeneration for business use
The term "Fine Ceramics" is interchangeable with "advanced ceramics," "technical ceramics" and "engineered ceramics." Use varies by region and industry.