Panasonic to Launch Fuel Cell R&D Centre in Wales

10 Apr 2012

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Japanese electronics giant Panasonic is to set up a fuel cell research and development centre in Cardiff as part of a £2 million investment. The announcement comes as part of a tour of Japan by British Prime Minister David Cameron.

According to a Welsh Government spokesperson, the Welsh Government has been working closely with Panasonic for some time to help secure a fuel cell research and development programme at the company’s Cardiff facility.

Panasonic had previously announced in July 2011 that it was to locate its first European Fuel Cell Development Office in Langen, Germany. It is unclear whether the new facility, which the Welsh Government has also agreed to provide funding for, is a relocation of the planned Langen office or a supplement to it. Panasonic’s work in fuel cells focuses primarily on micro combined heat and power systems (micro-CHP), which it has successfully commercialised under the Ene-Farm brand in Japan. The Langen office was announced with the aim of developing fuel cell micro-CHP for the European market; it would be logical to assume the Cardiff office will serve the same purpose.

Fuel cell micro-CHP is gaining traction in the UK: Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited’s BlueGen system is approved for the UK Feed-In Tariff and British Gas and E.ON both have domestic fuel cell demonstrations planned with Ceres Power and Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited, respectively.

References: BBC News; Wales Online

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