Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

June 26, 2005


Fuel Cell Being Tested for World's First Application in Agriculture

Keywords: Manufacturing industry Reduce / Reuse / Recycle Renewable Energy 

GS Yuasa Corp., a major Japanese manufacturer of batteries and power supply systems, has been conducting a field test of a new fuel cell in the greenhouse of a strawberry grower in Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture, since December 2004. The project, subsidized by the city and prefecture and scheduled to be completed in October 2005, is the world's first attempt to use fuel cells in agriculture.

In the project, a direct methanol fuel cell that runs on methanol is installed inside a vinyl structure (about 990 square meters in floor space) owned by a local strawberry grower. The aim of the project is to develop a futuristic energy system for application in agriculture (in this case, to enhance the growth of strawberry plants).

The total system is designed to use all the byproducts of electricity production: carbon dioxide emitted from the fuel cell unit (100 ppm/h) is used by the plants for photosynthesis; water from the unit is for plant growth; heat from the unit (2,000 kilocalories/day) is for space heating; and the electricity generated is for lighting and other uses in the greenhouse.

During the trial, the strawberry plants grew well even in the middle of winter. Based on the test results, GS Yuasa will continue to improve the fuel cell system and develop new applications in agriculture, with the aim of commercialization in 2007.

Posted: 2005/06/26 04:45:25 PM
Japanese version