NGK Spark Plug Co. Ltd. (NTK) and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd. (MHPS) have agreed to establish a joint venture that will manufacture and sell cylindrical cell stacks for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). The companies are currently in discussions about the specifics of the joint business venture.
The newly developed cell stacks are produced using NTK’s mass production technologies for ceramics, and they integrate MHPS’ cylindrical cell stack design technologies, which allow for long life and heat utilization. (See diagram above). Together, the companies commercially developed high-performance cylindrical cell stacks.
Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) produce electricity using oxygen (O₂) from the air, along with hydrogen (H₂) and carbon monoxide (CO) extracted from reformed gas or other sources. The cell stacks that are the core component for power generation are made entirely of ceramic materials.
The companies point out that fuel cells are widely expected to be utilized as clean energy devices for commercial and industrial use, and are considered a solution for future energy and environmental issues.
Since June of 2014, the companies have been working to develop cylindrical cells stacks and have recently started to collaborate on the development.
According to the business arrangement that the companies are currently considering, NTK will own 70% of the venture and MHPS will own 30%. The venture being considered will be capitalized with a total of 300 million yen.
Going forward, NTK will found a preparatory company, with a joint venture company to be established following government approval. The venture is tentatively scheduled to begin operations on October 1, 2019.