Ebara Ballard has unveiled an engineering prototype 1 kW proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell cogeneration unit for the Japanese residential market. It runs on natural gas and is the product of a collaboration involving Ballard Generation Systems (BGS), Ebara Ballard, Ebara Corp and Tokyo Gas.

The unit comprises a Ballard fuel cell, Tokyo Gas technology in a reformer made by Ebara Ballard, and a water tank warmed with heat from the fuel cell. Four prototype units built at Ebara Ballard´s plant in Fujisawa, Japan, have been shipped to Tokyo Gas and others in Japan for testing and demonstration.

The prototype generator reached DC gross electrical efficiency of 42 per cent LHV, and heat recovery efficiency of 43 per cent (LHV) in in-house testing. Ebara Ballard is continuing to work to improve performance, reliability and to reduce costs.

Ballard Generation Systems’ shareholders include GPU Inc, Alstom and Ebara Corp, as well as fuel cell pioneer Ballard Power.