Alongside the debut of the 2009 FCX Clarity, Honda also showed off the latest fourth generation version of their Home Energy Station (HES). The concept of the HES is to provide a self-contained unit to use a home's natural gas supply to heat the house, heat water, produce electricity and fuel a hydrogen car. The HES unit includes a steam reformer system to produce hydrogen from the gas, and a fuel cell of its own to provide electricity for the home. According to Honda's Stephen Ellis, using this system to generate hydrogen and fuel an FCX can reduce total well-to-wheel CO2 emissions by sixty percent compared to an equivalent gasoline-fueled car. Such a system is unlikely to be ready for home use before the middle of the next decade at the earliest, but if and when it does become practical it could provide a viable way to mitigate the problem of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure.
11/14/2007 - TORRANCE, Calif., -
Honda today announced that it has begun using the Home Energy Station IV at its Honda R&D Americas, Inc. facility in Torrance, California. This fourth-generation experimental unit is designed to provide fuel for a hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle, as well as heat and electricity for a home. The new system is more compact and efficient, with a lower operating cost than previous models. The announcement coincides with the world debut of the all-new FCX Clarity hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Honda's Home Energy Station technology is designed to facilitate the broader adoption of zero-emissions fuel cell vehicles, like the FCX Clarity, by developing a home refueling solution that makes efficient use of a home's existing natural gas supply for production of hydrogen, while providing heat and electricity to an average-size home.
The Home Energy Station IV can reduce both cost and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for the consumer. Compared to the average U.S. consumer's home with grid-supplied electricity and a gasoline-powered car, a home using Home Energy Station IV to help produce heat and electricity and also to refuel an FCX Clarity can reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 30 percent and energy costs by an estimated 50 percent.
"Honda is striving to address the need for a refueling infrastructure for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles," said Ben Knight, vice president of Honda R&D Americas. "The Home Energy Station represents one promising solution to this issue, while offering the added benefit of heating and powering the home more efficiently."
Working with technology partner, Plug Power, Inc., Honda began operation of a Home Energy Station in October, 2003. Home Energy Station IV represents the latest evolution of the technology with a 70 percent reduction in size compared to the first unit, making it even more suitable for household installation. By combining gas purification and power generation components, overall size reduction and efficiency gains are achieved, while enabling it to switch from hydrogen refining to power generation when needed