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Viessmann and Panasonic Develop New Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell System for European Homes

The Viessmann Group and Panasonic Corporation have developed a new fuel cell cogeneration system, which will become the first polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) system available for homes in Europe. It will be sold by Viessmann in Germany from April 2014.

Offering an integrated solution adapted for European markets, Panasonic and Viessmann have jointly designed the complete fuel cell system. The fuel cell unit has been developed by Panasonic, while the peak load boiler and hot water tank come from Viessmann, which will also handle assembly of the unit.

Both companies agree on the importance of highly efficient systems for the cogeneration of heat and power within an increasingly decentralised energy supply structure. Compared to the separate generation of heat and power, fuel cell based micro combined heat and power systems (mCHP) reduce CO2 emissions by 50 per cent. In doing so, they not only offer excellent perspectives for protecting the environment, but also for increasing energy efficiency - thus playing an important role in bringing about a sustainable energy era.

For that reason, both Panasonic and Viessmann have been heavily involved in research and development of a fuel cell cogeneration system for family homes as a next generation energy supply system, working towards its early introduction into the German market.

Panasonic began selling fuel cell cogeneration systems for Japanese homes in 2009. The combination of the technological expertise of Viessmann and Panasonic has enabled the development of a fuel cell system with outstanding energy efficiency and reliability. The new product is the first fuel cell system for homes in the European market to use the PEFC system (polymer electrolyte fuel cell). By 2020, Panasonic and Viessmann expect a five-digit number of systems to be installed in Europe.

The fuel cell system, which can be installed in the basement or utility room, consists of two units; the integrated DHW cylinder and auxiliary boiler as well as the fuel cell unit. Through the provision of dedicated apps, information about the operating status of the system can be displayed on the customer's Smartphone or tablet. Customers will be able to operate the system remotely, and display data on power generation status, economic and environmental efficiency, as well as receive notifications concerning maintenance information.

This system is a fusion of Viessmann's highly efficient, boiler-based heating technology, and the fuel cell technology of Panasonic, which has built an impressive sales record over more than five years as a pioneer of fuel cells in the Japanese market. The combination of both technologies has led to a high-efficiency, high-quality product perfectly suited to the German market.

Following the introduction of the fuel cell system in H Gas markets, efforts will be made to expand to L Gas regions in Germany, as well as in the UK, France and neighbouring countries of Germany, with the objective of expanding to all regions in Europe in the future.

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