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Apr 14, 2008

Panasonic Develops New Fuel Cell Cogeneration System for Home Use

World's highest* power-generation capability, durability and environmental benefits
Mass-production planned and commercialization targeted by March 2010

Osaka, Japan - Panasonic, the leading brand by which Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is known, today announced it has developed a home-use polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) cogeneration system. The cogeneration system features the world's highest power-generating efficiency of up to 39% Lower Heating Value(LHV), durability of 40,000 operation hours and 4,000 start-stop times, and a predicted lifetime of over 10 years.

Panasonic has strived to achieve its vision of "living in harmony with the environment." With this goal as a motivator, the company has now developed a home-use fuel cell cogeneration system that is planned for early commercialization as a next-generation energy supply system. Based on the results of large-scale field testing conducted between fiscal 2006 and fiscal 2008**, a new system has been developed with upgraded energy-saving features and enhanced reliability. Further field testing is scheduled in fiscal 2009 ending March 31, 2009.

When installed in an ordinary household, the new system can reduce primary energy consumption by 22% (about 1.4 times more than the conventional system) and can cut CO2 emissions by 12% based on the basic unit for all power sources. With year-round operation, it can save 3,262 kWh of primary energy and reduce CO2 emissions by 330 kg. The new system can reduce CO2 emissions by 37% based on the basic unit for thermal power source. With year-round operation, it can cut CO2 emissions by 1,175 kg.

The three-year field tests also found that the system was often operated in a power output range between 500 W and 1 kW in ordinary households. Within this practical use range, the new system has achieved drastically improved power-generating efficiency compared to conventional systems. The Panasonic system has achieved the world's highest power-generating efficiencies 39% (LHV) at 750 W; 38% or higher in the 500 W-1 kW range and 34% at 300 W. The system has also satisfied durability requirements for home-use equipment.

In the conventional system, the fuel processing device is not as efficient and inverter efficiency drops toward its lower output ranges. As a result, the power-generating efficiency of the conventional system is the highest at its higher ratings, and falls with decreasing output.

Panasonic has made the system feasible by using cell stack technology that employs highly-durable Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEA), fuel processing technology that allows stable operation in a wide range at high efficiency and low-loss boost inverter technology.

Panasonic will install production equipment for the new system in its plant in Kusatsu City, Shiga Prefecture, and will start manufacturing from June this year. In fiscal 2010, further investments will be made to start a full-scale commercialization of this system as a new environmental business that creates a new energy source.

* As of April 14, 2008.
** Fiscal 2008 began April 1, 2007 and ended March 31, 2008. Rule applied to all other indicated fiscal years in this release.

[Outline of the new PEFC cogeneration system]

Fuel type City gas (13A)
Fuel cell unit Power
output
Type Single-phase three-wire system
100/200 V AC 50Hz/60Hz
Power 1000 W
Output range 300 - 1000 W
Power-generating efficiency
100% output:
38 %LHV
75% output:
39 %LHV
Heat recovery rate
100% output:
55 %LHV
75% output:
50 %LHV
Dimensions 780 (W) x 400 (D) x 860(H)
Weight 125 kg
Noise level 43 dB max. (on starting and stopping)
41 dB max. (while generating power)
Hot water storage unit Hot water storage capacity 200L
Standard performance
(Hot water supply)
41.9 - 4.7 kW (Type 24 - Type 3)
Air heating and additional water heating feasible
Dimensions 486 (W) x 750 (D) x 1883 (H)
Weight 125 kg
[Patents]
Panasonic has filed 165 patent applications in Japan and 38 patent applications abroad.

About Panasonic

Best known for its Panasonic brand name, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronic products for a wide range of consumer, business, and industrial needs. Based in Osaka, Japan, the company recorded consolidated net sales of US$77.19 billion for the year ended March 31, 2007. The company's shares are listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York (NYSE:MC) stock exchanges. For more information on the company and the Panasonic brand, visit the company's website at http://panasonic.net/.

Media Contacts:

Akira Kadota, International PR
Tel: 03-3578-1237 Fax: 03-3436-6766
Panasonic News Bureau
Tel: 03-3542-6205 Fax: 03-3542-9018
*The content in the following news releases is accurate at the time of publication but may be subject to change without notice. Please note therefore that these documents may not always contain the most up-to-date information.

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