The administration of Fukuoka Prefecture in Japan, has developed a new project using hydrogen fuel cell to power up 150 homes in the housing communities in Maebaru City. The “Fukuoka Hydrogen Town” project could be the beginning of what organizers say will be the largest hydrogen-powered city in the world.
Since October 2008, Nippon Oil Corporation and Seibu Gas Energy Co. started to install 1KW-class ENE FARM power generation units in houses across Maebaru. They installed 150 residential fuel cells which use hydrogen from liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The system covers around 60% of a home’s power consumption and about 80% of its hot water supply.
Total costs for energy will be highly reduced considering the fact that energy consumption will be lowered with 30%. As well CO2 emissions will be decreased up to 30%, decreasing in this way greenhouse gas emissions.
Nippon Oil hopes to lower the cost for the household fuel cell systems by 2015 to around $5,500 and estimates sales of 40,000 units per year.
Known as the Hy-Life Project, this investment is subsidized by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).
Residential fuel cells with hydrogen reformed from natural gas can be very efficient and models made by Tokyo Gas have a combined efficiency of 87%.
Below you can see how this fuel cell works:
There are still many questions about the residential fuel cells to be answered and lots of new discoveries to be made to have them improved, but this really seems to be the future(even if the actual high costs does not make this implementation very attractive today).