In the last few days, we have talked about autonomous hydrogen fuel cells powering underwater jellyfish robots and we have harped about advanced biofuel cells driving an army of insect cyborgs. However, this time, I daresay, we have something more practical in its conception. Developed as a collaborative effort from Japanese industrial giants such as Osaka Gas, Aisin Seiki, Kyocera Corporation, Chofu Seisakusho and Toyota Motor Corporation; the designers have contrived the so named ENE-FARM Type S fuel cell. The product was envisaged as a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) co generation system, which would cater exclusively to residential purposes.
Coming to the working of its basic circuitry, the contraption utilizes heat for ultimate generation of power. In regard to this, the system is mainly divided into five separate components. The first of which is a cell stack; the primary section used for generation of power through chemical reaction of hydrogen derived from utility gas and oxygen in the air. The next priority component is the thermally insulated main module which houses the cell stack and the fuel deriving mechanism. All of these are complimented by a hot water tank that stores the heat from power generator as hot water. Other user defined components include the inverter for converting DC into AC ,thus, eschewing the requirement of batteries, and a back up boiler to supply hot water in cases of emergency.
Finally, coming to its enhanced technology, the fuel cell is equipped with ceramic electrolyte for the power generating cell stack, which in itself can generate up to whopping temperatures of 700 to 750 degrees Celsius. This means, a greater level of conversion rate can be achieved, which in figures is translated to 46.5 percent efficiency, the highest for any residential use fuel cell.
Moreover, the device is also imbibed with energy effective attributes that leads to annual reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 1.9 tons, along with yearly savings of around $920 in cost. However, the sole predicament regarding its commercialization is its availability being limited to only Japan.