The government said Thursday it will make the world’s first purchase of a polymer electrolyte fuel cell to help supply electricity and heated water to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s new residence.
The purchase is part of a three-year state plan formed in 2002 to make hydrogen power a viable source of electricity for homes and cars, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said Thursday.
Construction work on Koizumi’s new quarters is scheduled to end next spring.
The fuel cell, about the size of the outer unit of a home air conditioner, supplies a steady 1 kw of electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen, enough to heat a locker-size tank of water — the amount a family of four would use in a day, said Haruhiko Ando, head of fuel-cell promotion at the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.
Japanese manufacturers plan to start selling fuel cells for home use early next year. They are designed to complement conventional energy sources.
Ando said that in tests, the fuel cell cut energy consumption by 20 percent and that carbon dioxide emissions from households using the devices fell by 30 percent.
The feul cell to be installed at Koizumi’s quarters is the product of joint research by Tokyo Gas Co., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and Ebara Ballard Corp. The price is still being negotiated.
Koizumi’s quarters are being built next to the Prime Minister’s Official Residence in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, where Koizumi conducts his official duties. His current temporary living quarters are in Shinagawa Ward.
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