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Panasonic broadens reach of fuel cells

Fri, 11/16/2012 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

3-13aJapanese electronics maker Panasonic has opened a UK research and development centre for fuel cells in Cardiff, Wales.

The centre opened in September to make fuel cells for the UK market. Panasonic has been supplying the Japanese market with fuel cells for many years and now hopes to extend its reach to Europe. 

The cells will generate heat and power simultaneously to reduce fuel consumption and lower energy costs. The units would create electricity from converted hydrogen and other natural gases.

The Welsh Assembly worked closely with Panasonic to secure the deal and invested more than US$700 000 from its Research, Development and Innovation Scheme. It is unclear how many jobs will be created in Cardiff by the opening, but following redundancies earlier in the year at another of Panasonic’s South Wales sites it will be welcome news.

Meanwhile, Proton Motor Fuel Cell, a subsidiary of Proton Power, announced it has signed a cooperation agreement with Modl to address the need for interruption-free and energy efficient storage for the stationary power supply market.

Modl, Proton Motor’s sales partner in southern Germany, has many years’ experience in the market and a large customer base for stationary power supply. They deliver complete cabinet solutions, including peripherals, while Proton Motor contributes its expertise by supplying the stationary fuel cell system.

Thomas Melczer, Proton’s Director of Business Development, said: “Partnering with Modl, the leading supplier of intelligent power system solutions, we aim to be a key supplier of hydrogen-based fuel cell technology in Germany.”

Both partners will offer complete solutions for UPS and grid shaving applications based on Proton Motors’ hydrogen fuel cell technology and Modl’s product portfolio.

The products are engineered to provide a long period of back-up power of over five hours. They are eco-friendly and compactly designed, offering an alternative to noisy and high-emission diesel generators or pure battery applications. The products will range from 5 to 120 kW.