Toyota Motor Developing Home Fuel Cells

December 07, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Toyota Motor Corp. is developing home fuel cells following its successful launch of environmentally friendly fuel cell cars in a bid to emphasize its clean technology in both its vehicle and housing divisions, company officials said in a release on Wednesday.

The largest Japanese automaker has tied up with automotive parts maker Aisin Seiki Co. to launch home fuel cells several years from now, they said. It has already been cooperating with Toho Gas Co. to test a fuel cell cogeneration system in some houses in central Japan, according to the company’s release.

The system makes hydrogen gas from natural gas, petroleum gas or kerosene and takes advantage of chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity and provide hot water. Toyota is also planning to take part in government-subsidized fuel cell demonstration tests, in which many gas utilities and fuel cell makers will participate, they said.

In Japan, Tokyo Gas Co. teamed up with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. to initiate a fuel cell system leasing program last February in a bid to sell thousands of units of the system annually in and after fiscal 2008.

If home fuel cell systems were to spread widely in Japan, the price would have to be lowered to around 500,000 yen, with durability being improved, the Toyota officials said. Current systems cost more than 10 times the appropriate price.