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Panasonic's Ene-Farm lowers the price of cogeneration


Ene-Farm and the domestic cogeneration system with fuel cell that produces electricity through a chemical reaction between oxygen in the atmosphere and hydrogen extracted from city gas. In the first version produced in 2009 by Panasonic in partnership with Tokyo Gas, the heat generated as a side effect of the process is used to heat water.

In the new version of Ene-Farm which will be marketed in Japan from 1 April 2013, however, the water is heated entirely by the reserve boiler produced together with the hot water unit from Gastar, a subsidiary of Tokyo Gas. Thanks also to this, the new model reaches an overall efficiency level of 95% (LHV - Lower Heating Value, lower calorific value), the highest in the world.

Ene-Farm it is also an extremely system eco friendly. Since electricity is used in the same place where it is generated, there are no losses due to transport and, at the same time, it is possible to fully exploit the heat released by the electricity generation.

Compared to the conventional method, which consists of using electricity produced by a thermal power plant and water heated with city gas, the new fuel cell system Ene-Farm allows to reduce by 37% the primary energy consumption and 49% le CO emissions.

In the period from May 2009, the month in which the first was put on sale system Ene-FarmAs of December 2012, Panasonic has distributed a total of approximately 21,000 units in Japan. For the fiscal year 2013, however, the company has prepared itself to cope with a production that is 50% higher than the current one, with the forecast of distributing over 15,000 units.

After the simplification of the system, the new Ene-Farm contains 20% fewer components than the previous model. The materials of the power generation stacks, a key element, and the fuel processor have been revised. The hot water tank has also been reduced.

Thanks to these solutions, the new product can be sold for 1,995,000 yen, saving approximately 760,000 yen compared to the recommended retail price for the current model. It is the first time the recommended retail price for a product Ene-Farm, in Japan, it drops below 2 million yen.

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