The Nikkei reports that major sanitary ceramics manufacturer Toto Ltd. has developed a home-use solid oxide fuel cell that will sell for about ¥1 million (US$10,000) per kW output—less than a third the cost of other models from companies such as Toshiba, Matsushita and Ebara.
The firm applied its production technologies to manufacture a solid oxide fuel cell that uses heat-resistant ceramic materials. Materials costs for the device are low because it does not use expensive catalysts such as platinum. In addition, Toto found a low-cost way to mass-produce the cells.
After starting trials soon, the firm hopes to put a product that generates power and heats water on the market in fiscal 2011. Before selling household models, it plans to provide 75- and 200-watt versions to US power generation equipment manufacturers starting as early as April.