Panasonic opens German micro-CHP R&D centre

Panasonic has launched the Panasonic Fuel Cell Development Office Europe (PFCOE) in Langen, Germany, which will focus on developing residential fuel cells micro-CHP systems for the European market in close collaboration with leading European utilities.

Panasonic has been developing micro-CHP since 1999 and now plans to extend its operations into Europe.

The main work at the new centre in Langen will involve developing and adapting the fuel cells to reflect the different operational conditions between Europe and Japan. As the operation of fuel cells depends on the composition of natural gas, it is necessary for it to be adapted to European gas conditions.

The fuel cell micro-CHP generates electricity through a chemical reaction between oxygen in the atmosphere and hydrogen extracted from natural gas. The heat generated as a by-product of this process is also used for home heating and hot water supplies.

In Japan, a house powered by an ENE FARM fuel cell can expect to save in the region of 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year compared with a house powered by electricity from thermal power station and a gas heating system, says Panasonic.

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