Tokyo Gas Company will be installing the very first home-based Hyrdrogen Fuel Cell co-generation system in the Japanese Prime Ministers official residence in early 2004.
Looks like the Japanese will be the first to bring hydrogen fuel systems into a consumer application. In this case it is acting as an electrical power and heating system for a house using natural gas as the source of hydrogen.
Matsushita and Ballard Power (of Vancouver/Burnaby, Canada) have been working on the system for some time.
While this isn’t obviously the start of the “hydrogen economy”, it is certainly a very important proof of concept and hopefully a sign that, like hybrid engines in cars… this technology is on the verge of breaking into the mainstream.
Ballard Power was really a darling of the alternative fuel “industry” a few years back but has since gone through some major restructuring. Luckily, it has percevered and continues to develop and innovate in their field.
I will look for more information on this specific house application as I’m really interested to see what exactly it “saves”. It’s using Natural gas as its’ ultimate source of hydrogen energy, so I want to know what that really means in terms of overal savings on gas consumption and emissions.