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May 18, 2009

Household Fuel Cell “ENE-FARM” on Sale from July

Iwatani Corporation

 

Iwatani Corporation (Head office: Tokyo and Osaka, President: Akiji MAKINO, Paid-in Capital: 20,000 million yen) will start the full scale promotion of sales of its improved LPG household fuel cells, “ENE-FARM,” in July. The company further hopes to give momentum towards the growth of the “ENE-FARM” by linking it to residential sales in the LPG area in conjunction with Sekisui House, Ltd. (Head Office: Osaka; President: Toshinori Abe; Capital: 186.5 billion yen).

 

“ENE-FARM” is a household cogeneration facility that utilizes hydrogen taken from LPG, city gas or kerosene to generate power with its fuel cells while simultaneously collecting hot water from the waste heat generated. Several manufacturers(※1) have announced that they will begin full sales of “ENE-FARM” during FY2009.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has praised this product’s contributions to environmental improvement and energy saving due to its high overall energy efficiency, and planed its wide use up to 2.5 million units in FY 2030 as the ministry’s long-run demand estimation—maximum 1.4 million yen will be granted per unit as a subsidy (6.1 billion yen in total) in the first year of FY 2009. Thus “ENE-FARM” is drawing attention as a master card for the realization of a low-carbon society.

 

In addition to installation of 83 test units in total to collect data in large-scale demonstrative tests since FY 2005, Iwatani has conducted training and educational sessions at its group companies jointly with fuel cell manufacturers and prepared for construction, servicing and sales expansion systems to start full-swing sales in FY 2009.

In the first year, FY 2009, Iwatani will mainly use fuel cells made by Toshiba Fuel Cell Power Systems Corporation (Head office: Tokyo, President: Yoshiyuki Kimura, Paid-in-Capital: 4 billion yen) to inaugurate its full-swing sales in July, expecting total sales of up to 200 units or more including sales from coordination with Sekisui House. Iwatani also expects the sales of “ENE-FARM” up to 1,000 units or more per year in FY 2011 when the price of the unit is expected to be lower.

 

[Advance sales to start at LPG dealerships]

Iwatani Corporation has more than 3.1 million households of LPG customers throughout Japan via its unique LPG sales network, Marui-Kai. In addition to this, in September, 2008, the company established the Marui Gas Supply Chain Shops Association (MGSC shops association), engaged in joint businesses mainly with major dealers and Iwatani’s LPG sales subsidiaries to reinforce its sales channel strategy. The company plans to sell the fuel cells through the MGSC shops association — advance sales have already started from April.

 

[Collaboration with Sekisui House]

After examining the possibilities of gaining new sales routes in collaboration with a house manufacturer while utilizing our sales, construction and maintenance systems, we have decided to form a partnership with Sekisui House, Ltd. in the area of LPG supply for the sale of “ENE-FARM.”

The partnership will work through the 20 LPG sales subsidiaries2 of Iwatani throughout Japan making proposals to buyers or prospective buyers of Sekisui House products, handling equipment sales, installation and after maintenance services.
The sales will be further promoted by the creation of an LPG price list exclusive to fuel cells and uniform nationwide, ensuring that both Sekisui House and its customers can participate easily in this scheme.

 

The consumer market for LPG in Japan has cooled down, and the future is expected to bring increasingly severe competition over energy with the rise of all-electric households and city gas. In contrast to this, new energies such as fuel cells and solar power cells are expected to be one of the few growth areas in the shrinking energy business pie.
Iwatani Corporation intends to continue developing its general energy business through strengthening downstream retailers and increasing demand for its products. At the same time, the company is determined to build a firm business foundation through the concentrated investment of its management resources, strategically increasing the number of its specialist staff for environment-related products such as “ENE-FARM” and providing subsidies for its use while also investing in new products and opening new markets.

 

※1: Fuel Cell Manufacturers

In FY2009 the four companies noted below plan to sell “ENE-FARM” as one unified product brand: Toshiba Fuel Cell Power Systems Corporation, ENEOS Celltech Co., Ltd., Panasonic Corporation, Ebara Ballard Corporation.

 

※2: The 20 LPG sales subsidiaries of Iwatani are as follows:

Iwatani Hokkaido Co., Ltd.,

Iwatani Tohoku Co., Ltd.,

Iwatani Fukushima Co., Ltd.,

Iwatani Kanto Co., Ltd.,

Kashima Maruigas Co., Ltd.,

Iwatani Shutoken Co., Ltd.,

Iwatani Yamanashi Co., Ltd.,

Iwatani Nagano Co., Ltd.,

Iwatani Shizuoka Co., Ltd.,

Iwatani Tokai Co., Ltd.,

Iwatani Mie Co., Ltd.,

Iwatani Hokuriku Co., Ltd.,

Iwatani Kinki Co., Ltd.,

Shikoku Iwatani Co., Ltd.,

Iwatani Sanyo Co., Ltd.,

Iwatani Sanin Co., Ltd.,

Iwatani Kyushu Co., Ltd.,

Minami-Kyushu Marui Co., Ltd.,

Iwatani Kagoshima Co., Ltd.,

Marui Sangyo Co., Ltd. (Okinawa)