Toyota, Aisin to provide improved fuel cells for test project

RP news wires

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and Aisin Seiki Company Ltd. (Aisin) announced that they plan to provide 60 2010-model residential, solid-oxide fuel-cell (SOFC) co-generation systems jointly developed by Osaka Gas Company Ltd. (Osaka Gas), Kyocera Corporation (Kyocera), TMC and Aisin to the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization's (NEDO's) Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Verification Project. Five companies are participating in the project: Hokkaido Gas Company Ltd., Tokyo Gas Company Ltd., Toho Gas Ltd., Osaka Gas Company Ltd. and Saibu Gas Company Ltd.

TMC and Aisin provided equipment for the project's 2009 test program, which confirmed the exceptional performance of SOFCs as energy-saving devices. The 2010 models have overcome the technological development issues identified through earlier test programs to achieve even greater energy savings and CO2 reductions. They feature higher load efficiency of the power-generating unit during low output (referred to as "partial load efficiency") and greater hot water tank capacity, resulting in more effective use of waste heat. In addition, durability and ease-of-maintenance have also been improved to enhance product marketability.

By providing the new models to the project, TMC and Aisin hope to accelerate development of residential SOFC cogeneration systems, completing development within the first half of the 2010s.

Outline of 2010-model SOFC cogeneration systems provided to NEDO project

A higher partial load efficiency was achieved through improved heat insulation of the module (made up of cell stacks and fuel reformers) as well as greater use of waste heat by increasing the capacity of the hot water tank.

  • Insulation material surrounding the module has been increased to reduce radiant heat loss, and the temperature distribution within the module has been optimized. Thus, partial load efficiency has been improved and generating efficiency when generating volume is below the set rating is higher than the 2009 model.
  • The depth of the hot water tank has been increased by 10 mm, raising the tank capacity from 70 liters to 90 liters and achieving more effective use of waste heat. As a result, high generating efficiency can be maintained regardless of the electrical power demand, cutting both running costs and CO2 emissions.

The coating material on the metal current collector material placed between the cells in the cell stack has been modified and the temperature distribution within the module has been optimized, improving durability.

The amount of the desulfurizing agent added to the natural gas as an odorant has been increased, making the desulfurization unit maintenance-free for 10 years. In addition, temperature management of the desulfurizing agent prevents deterioration from water vapor in the gas.

Energy savings have been increased by switching to a latent-heat-recovery boiler from a boiler that did not recover heat from the condensed water in the exhaust gas (latent heat).

Power Generating Unit

Size Height 930 mm
Width 600 mm
Depth 335 mm
Weight 90 kg
Fuel Processed natural gas (13A)
Rated power generation output 700 W
Rated generation efficiency LHV*1 At least 45%
HHV*2 At least 41%
Rated exhaust recovery efficiency LHV At least 40%
HHV At least 36%
*1Lower heating value.  Does not include latent heat of vaporization of water; *2Higher heating value.  Includes latent heat of vaporization of water.

Waste Heat Utilization Hot Water Heating Unit (Detached house specifications)

Size Height 1,760 mm
Width 740 mm
Depth 310 mm
Weight 94 kg
Hot water tank volume 90 liter
Hot water temperature Approx. 70°C

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