With the imminent market release of ENE•FARM, six Japanese firms, Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Toho Gas, Saibu Gas, Nippon Oil (ENEOS) and Astomos Energy, will be the first companies in the world to sell fuel cell systems for residential use.
The fuel cells systems manufactured by Panasonic and ENEOS CELLTECH will be launched in May. This will be followed by the market release of fuel cell systems manufactured by other manufacturers.
These fuel cell systems, sold under the unified brand name ENE•FARM, generate electricity and hot water through a chemical reaction between oxygen in the atmosphere and hydrogen extracted from city gas *1 or LPG.
ENE•FARM fuel cell systems are expected to play a key role in combating global warming by reducing CO2 emissions from the residential sector. These systems were developed through demonstrative research projects implemented by the government,manufacturers and energy companies since FY2002, and have undergone government-sponsored major demonstration tests since FY2005. These fuel cell systems will improve the efficiency of primary energy utilization by 70 - 80%, and cut primary energy consumption by about 33% and CO2 emissions by about 45%, compared to replacing conventional systems that run on electricity and city gas.
On January 28, the six companies organized a ceremony for joint declaration on the extensive marketing of ENE•FARM fuel cell systems for residential use. The joint declaration message, "ENE•FARM - Helping to Establish Japan as an Environmentally Advanced Nation," confirmed the companies' total commitment to extensive marketing of ENE•FARM as an important measure for combating global warming by reducing CO2 emissions from the residential sector.
The joint declaration message also expressed the companies' expectations that ENE•FARM would be widely used as an important instrument for realizing a low-carbon society, and that it would help Japan establish itself as the world's leading environmentally advanced nation.
The six companies will be selling ENE•FARM at prices ranging from 3.2 to 3.465 million yen. To help reduce the burden of initial costs, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to institute a subsidy covering half the cost of equipment and installation, up to 1.4 million yen.
The six companies are now engaged in extensive marketing aimed at selling 2.5 million units *2by 2030 as per the government outlook, endeavoring to make ENE•FARM a standard feature of Japanese homes in the future.
Related article: ENE•FARM Chosen as the Unified Brand Name for Residential Fuel Cells (JGA Newsletter Vol.8, October 2008)
|National Budget for FY2009: 6 Billion Yen for Subsidy on ENE•FARM
On December 20, 2008, the first draft of the national budget for FY2009, produced by the Ministry of Finance, was submitted to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Against the new request for a 7.4 billion yen subsidy on residential fuel cells, the allocation of 6.065 billion yen was proposed. In addition, an upper limit of 1.4 million yen per unit was proposed. The ongoing major demonstration projects for stationary fuel cell systems (2.71 billion yen budgeted for FY2008) will be completed in March 2009, prior to the full-scale market release of ENE•FARM in May 2009.
|COLLABO and JGKA Report Sales of One Million ECO-JOZU Condensing Boiler Systems and Two Million Si-Sensor Protected Gas Cooking Stoves
On December 18, 2008, the Japan Gas Energy Promotion Council (COLLABO) *1 and the Japan Industrial Association of Gas and Kerosene Appliances (JGKA) announced that cumulative sales of ECO-JOZU condensing boiler systems has exceeded one million units, and that of Si-sensor protected gas cooking stoves has exceeded two million units.
ECO-JOZU condensing boiler systems attain thermal efficiency of 95% by recovering waste heat from the boiler and latent heat from vapor. Sales of these systems after their full-scale market release in October 2002 amounted to 1,032,000 units by the end of November 2008.
The term "Si-sensor protected stoves" refers to gas cooking stoves equipped with a full variety of fire prevention measures for all burners, including a cooking-oil overheat prevention device, flame failure device, and auto shutoff timer, as well as a convenient feature for controlling the temperature of the pan bottom without extinguishing the flame. All gas cooking stoves manufactured and sold after April 2008 by Japanese gas appliance manufacturers *2 are equipped with these features as part of their standard specifications, with the aim of complete prevention of kitchen fires. Sales of Si-sensor protected gas cooking stoves amounted to 2,273,000 units by the end of November 2008.
Related article: Kitchen Stoves with Intelligent Si Sensor as an Industrial Standard (JGA Newsletter Vol.8, October 2008)
|Winners of the IGU Gas Efficiency Award Competition for 2008
On September 24, a council meeting of the International Gas Union (IGU) was held in Gyeongju, South Korea. Chairman Nomura, Vice Chairman Ichino, Vice Chairman Takahashi and others attended the meeting as JGA representatives.
On the agenda of this IGU council meeting was the announcement of the winners of the IGU Gas Efficiency Award competition. One of the two projects that were chosen as the best entries was Japan's "An Economical Thermal Network Cogeneration System for Apartment Buildings (Neighboring Cogeneration System)," reported by Hideki Yamaguchi and Yoshinori Hisazumi of the Energy Technology Laboratories of Osaka Gas.
The IGU Gas Efficiency Award is given for exemplary projects aimed at increasing energy efficiency. In addition to Japan's project mentioned above, a Dutch-German project was recognized as being the best among the 40 projects from various membership countries reviewed by IGU in 2008. The most outstanding project will be chosen from among four nominated projects, including these two for 2008 and another two for 2009, and the final winner will be invited to the award presentation at the World Gas Conference in Argentina in October 2009.
>>> An Economical Thermal Network Cogeneration System for Apartment Buildings (Neighboring Cogeneration System)
|City Gas Sales in December
Gas sales recorded by general gas utilities (211 gas companies) in Japan in December 2008 was 2,953 million m3 (41.8605 MJ/m3), which was 6.9% down from the same month of the previous year.
Monthly gas sales have fallen from the same month of the previous year for three consecutive months since October 2008.
The total number of supply contracts was 28,493,000, which was 0.9% up from the same month of the previous year.
See also: Gas Facts in Japan 2008
GASEX 2008, a three-day conference of the Gas Information Exchange in the Western Pacific, was held from November 12 (Wednesday) to 14 (Friday) in Hanoi, Vietnam. Since the first GASEX of 1990 in Tokyo, the conference has been held every two years for 15 Western Pacific countries/regions dedicated to supporting the sound development of gas industries by promoting information exchange and discussion among member countries/regions. Under the theme of Sustaining Integration and Development, participants of GASEX 2008 discussed the current status of natural gas industries (both upstream and downstream) in the respective countries and regions, trends of pipeline and LNG projects in the Western Pacific region and elsewhere, and the latest topics on technological development, environmental issues, etc. The conference drew 686 participants from 24 countries/regions.
On the first day, Mr. Nomura, Chairman of JGA, presented a keynote speech, in which he described the present state of the city gas industry in Japan and talked about Gas Vision 2030.
On the second day, during the exchange of member economy reports, Vice Chairman Takahashi took the podium and spoke about Japan's national energy policy, the situation around the city gas industry, and efforts made by the gas industry in Japan. Mr. Kakehashi, Managing Director of Osaka Gas, participated in a panel discussion, and ten Japanese participants held discussions with international participants during breakout sessions. Including those who gave presentations and others such as the members of a delegation organized by the Kanto-Koshinetsu Region Gas Utilities' Cooperation, 71 of the 686 conference participants were from Japan. Links to reports presented by JGA participants are provided below.
The next GASEX conference will be held in 2010 in Taipei, Taiwan.
>>> Gas Vision 2030 - Outlook and Challenges for Japanese Gas Industry (PPT)
>>> City Gas Industry in Japan
>>> Initiatives of the City Gas Industry to Combat Global Warming in Japan
>>> High Level Safety Measures for Customers' Gas Equipment
>>> Maintaining High-Level Safety in City Gas Production in Japan
>>> The Gas Utilities's and The Japan Gas Association's Efforts to Improve Safety
IGRC 2008 was held in Paris, France from October 8 (Wednesday) to 10 (Friday). IGRC (International Gas Union (IGU) Research Conference) is the world's largest research-oriented conference of the gas industry, organized by the IGU to promote discussion and information exchange among all those people in the world who are involved in the development of gas technologies. Since the first conference in 1980, IGRC has usually been held every three years.
IGRC 2008 attracted about 880 participants from 42 countries, including about 70 participants from Japan.
Mr. Takahide Haneda of the Tokyo Gas Technology Research Institute was honored with the Dan A. Dolenc Award for his poster presentation, "The Development of Gasification System for Sewage Sludge." This award was started at IGRC 2004 in honor of Dan A. Dolenc, the well-known organizer and promoter of previous IGRC conferences. Mr. Haneda was selected as one of the two winners among about 300 papers selected for the poster sessions for IGRC 2008.
JGA prepared seven poster presentations for the conference. Links to some of the reports presented by JGA participants are provided below.
The next IGRC will be held in 2011 in Seoul, South Korea.
>>> High Efficiency Gas Distribution System
>>> Advanced Natural Gas Storage(ANGAS) Project and Verification Tests of Experimental Lined Rock Cavern in Japan
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