Toto is a Japanese company best known for their high tech toilets
. If you haven't seen them, they're pretty amazing doing everything except the actual pushing for you. Toto has been applying their expertise in working with ceramic materials to other endeavors as well. The latest is solid oxide fuel cells
. These fuel cells operate at temperatures of 500C
which is why they need ceramic materials to keep from breaking down. Toto has reportedly developed a home use co-generation fuel cell that will initially sell for about $10,000/kW. That makes it about 1/3 of the cost of fuel cells from other manufacturers. The fuel cell could operate on fuels such as butane and propane to both provide electricity and heat water. They will have prototypes running this spring in test applications and hope to have the fuel cells on the market by their fiscal 2011. Now if they could just get one to run on what goes in their toilets, we'd really be set.
[Source: Green Car Congress