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Osaka Gas, Kyocera, Toyota and
Aisin Announce Agreement on Co-Development of
Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC)
Cogeneration System for Residential Use

March 25, 2009
Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.
Kyocera Corporation
Toyota Motor Corporation
Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd.
Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Osaka; President: Hiroshi Ozaki; herein "Osaka Gas"), Kyocera Corporation (headquartered in Kyoto; President: Makoto Kawamura; herein "Kyocera"), Toyota Motor Corporation (headquartered in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture; President: Katsuaki Watanabe; herein "Toyota") and Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Kariya, Aichi Prefecture; President: Yasuhito Yamauchi; herein "Aisin") have agreed to co-develop a residential-use Solid Oxide Fuel Cell*1 (SOFC) cogeneration system.

The residential-use SOFC cogeneration system, with its high efficiency electric power-generating capability, demonstrates environmental and cost-saving advantages even in residential applications where heat demand is relatively low. Also, the small-sized power-generation unit, featuring low exhaust heat and hot water storage at high temperature - which can be designed as a compact exhaust gas hot-water supply and heating unit using exhausted heat, and as a residential-use cogeneration system - is ideal for detached and collective housing with limited installation space.

With the goal of contributing to a sustainable society and promoting the popularization of environmentally friendly residential-use SOFC cogeneration systems, Osaka Gas and Kyocera began co-development in 2004 and have pursued research in improving system life and decreasing unit size for practical usage. Starting in 2007, the companies began SOFC experimental studies*2, and conducted trials in 45 households in the Osaka Gas service area to demonstrate the high energy-conservation features.

Moreover, with a strong belief in contributing to the preservation of the global environment and undertaking corporate social responsibility activities, Toyota and Aisin have been co-developing a 1 kW-class power output residential-use Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell*3 (PEFC) cogeneration system since 2001. Starting in fiscal year 2006, the companies commenced a large-scale demonstration project for fixed-location fuel cells*4 and have provided 76 systems to verify the lowered consumption of primary energy and system reliability within actual households.

With the establishment of this agreement, Osaka Gas will be responsible for the hot-water supply and heating unit using exhausted heat, while Kyocera, Toyota and Aisin will be responsible for the power-generation unit (with Kyocera responsible for the SOFC cells and stacks*5). The four companies will cooperate in assessing the residential-use SOFC cogeneration system. From here forward, the companies will integrate the co-generation technology of Osaka Gas, such as waste heat-recovery, Kyocera's fine ceramics expertise, and Toyota and Aisin's systemization - using the four companies' range of technologies and accumulated experience to accelerate the development of a residential-use SOFC cogeneration system. The target for completion of development is in the early 2010s.

*1   A fuel cell that uses ceramics as its electrolyte. Electric current is generated when oxygen is ionized and reacts chemically with hydrogen and carbon monoxide as it passes through the electrolyte. The ability to use carbon monoxide is a significant feature.
*2 An experimental research project undertaken by the New Energy Foundation, with grants provided by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization. The studies install household-use SOFC systems in ordinary homes and obtain substantive data under actual operating load conditions to identify future technical development issues.
*3 A fuel cell that uses a polymer membrane as its electrolyte. Hydrogen is ionized and passes through the polymer membrane as a hydrogen ion. The chemical reaction with oxygen generates electricity.
*4 An experimental project undertaken by the New Energy Foundation, with grants provided by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization in FY2005-2008. The project installed residential-use PEFC systems in large numbers of ordinary homes to obtain substantive running data under actual operating load conditions to identify future technical development issues.
*5 A cell is a single power-generating unit comprised of a fuel electrode, electrolyte and air electrode. A stack is a collection of cells. The electromotive force of a single cell is below 1V, and the output is only a few watts. They are connected in a series and into a stack to increase voltage and output.

Target Specifications of Household-use SOFC Cogeneration System

Power Generating Unit
Size (H × W × D) 900 mm × 560 mm × 300 mm
Weight 80 kg
Fuel City gas 13A
Rated Output of Power Generation 700 W
Rated Power Generation Efficiency
LHV*1 (HHV*2)
45% (41%)
Rated Exhausted Heat Recovery Efficiency
LHV*1 (HHV*2)
40% (36%)

*1   LHV: LowerHeating Value - heat value excluding the calorific value of latent heat for condensation of steam generated when fuel gas is completely combusted.
*2   HHV: Higher Heating Value - heat value including the calorific value of latent heat for condensation of steam generated when fuel gas is completely combusted.

Hot-Water Supply and Heating Unit Using Exhausted Heat
  Specifications for Detached Housing Specifications for Collective Housing
Size (H × W × D) 1,700 mm × 700 mm × 300 mm 1,300 mm × 650 mm × 350 mm
Weight 89 kg 70 kg
Capacity of Hot Water Storage Tank 70litre 50litre
Hot Water Storage Temperature Approx. 70 deg. C Approx. 70 deg. C