• Nov 15th 2007 at 3:19PM
  • 14
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.

[Source: Honda]
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

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      After you take the Co2 out of the equation, exactly how much money will this save me vs just driving a standard gasoline car?

      If the system is not economically viable, it's just a waste of time. After all is said and done, those who install this system are still slaves to fossil fuels.

      Now, how much of my tax money has been or will be “harvested” by the auto manufacturers, big energy, and “green” companies to fund this type of research?

      Why is this important? Green tech is BIG MONEY!

      Peter O'Toole, head of public affairs at GE's Ecomagination initiative, says that it's doing “reasonably” well. "We closed 2006 with $11 billion for Ecomagination, so we're more than halfway on revenue, and we spent $1.2 billion on research." There are now 45 products in the Ecomagination portfolio (up from 17), ranging from hybrid locomotives to wind turbines and clean coal technologies.”


      $1.2 Billion in research = $11 Billion return (anybody got a calculator for R.O.I.) and they are just getting started. General Electric's lobbing budget is more than the top 3 US oil companies combined and they LOVE the Republicrats new energy bill. The rich get richer while the poor and gullible ride their bikes to work while they “save the earth”. Morons!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Chris, the new FCX does not loose all the advantage of running on natural gas with regard to CO2 emissions. In fact, the well to wheels emissions which factor in the reforming process show about a 60% reduction compared to a similarly sized and powered gasoline fueled car. As for the cost of hydrogen at retail in Southern California right now it's about $5/kg compared to almost $4/gallon for gas. Factor in the efficiency improvement and operating costs are actually much lower.
      • 7 Years Ago
      While i applaud Honda for thinking through the entire car/fuel process, this has limited appeal. First, how many people live in apartments? They are effectively out of market for this car, and plug-in cars also. If you only drive within the range of this car a home fueling station makes sense, but what about the rest of us?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Same old anti-h2 fluff from ill informed naysayers. GIve Honda some credit! How about some facts?
      1. FCX Clarity can run on any hydrogen, including solar electrolyzed water. Zero CO2.
      2. Efficiency up significantly, now 270 mile range from just ~ 4kg (gallon equivalent) of Hydrogen. 68 mpg.
      3. Remember last 68 mpg car? Honda Insight. Small, lightweight, 2 passenger / 2 door with little storage and only fair performance. FCX Clarity? Large, 1000+lb heavier, 4 passenger / 4 door with lots of storage and VERY QUICK acceleration. It hauls, and gets... 68 mpg!
      4. Hoonda has shown "Over 50% CO2 reduction compared to similar gasoline car" even with hydrogen from natural gas. Now with FCX Clarity they are showing 60% CO2 reduction... and (just like EV's) goes down to zero as renewable.. including solar is implemented. Why all the misinformation from such sourpusses? Is it too good to acknowledge and admit you are incorrect? 60% is well to wheels, using DOE GREET model.. the same model used to measure all vehicle efficiency.
      5. Not as efficient as an EV? True! EV's are very efficient, and my neighbors tricycle is even more efficient than EV's! Add practicality into the mix.
      6. Home energy station does not fit inside garage, goes outside like A/C unit. Only fill hose goes inside, is seperate and small. Are you folks blind? Or blinded. Duh.
      7. Peak gas? Like in 100+ years, and biogas is now growing. H2 from biomethane is renewable. http://resources.ca.gov/press_documents/CaliforniaSwedenBiofuelsMOU.pdf

      8. Quote from above: "Heck, hydrogen fuel cell cars are just electric cars with a fuel cell replacing the batteries." True! So go to the LA Auto Show to see just how tiny that 100kw fuel cell stack is! It is on display, and for the 1st time ever "cutaway" to see the guts. Much smaller and lighter than equivalent batteries and with a 5 minute H2 refueling, back on the road for another 270 miles.
      9: "Depends on natural gas" No, another error. Depends on Hydrogen, wich IS NOT imported, can be made from many energy sources, can be distributed and or made at gas stations, either from water OR nat gas. Gasoline = NEVER renewable, NEVER 100% domestic, NEVER zero-CO2, NEVER zero emissions. Hydrogen CAN be all four. This is not H2 vs Electric as you make it, it IS H2 vs Oil and status quo.
        • 4 Years Ago
        i agree with you 100%. more power to you. i'm so sick and tired of big oil companies controlling the price of gas like mafias. if i can have a fuel cell car i will produce my own h2 in my backyard through solar and get rid of these mafias. they said that our gas revenue will go down, so what, people can save more money to spend on other things and still keep our economy going even better. also, we can get rid of these arrogant oil supplier like hugo charvez and iran, right now we are actually funding the terrorist by buying their oil.
      • 7 Years Ago
      All other issues aside, and there are many valid issues with this....

      How the hell am I supposed to fit all that crap in my garage? Perhaps I'm supposed to pave over a good portion of my back yard, or just stick it all in my front yard. By the time you get all the contractors in to do the necessary work, how much is this going to cost? It doesn't look cheap, let alone what the car must cost. Especially silly when you consider that much the same benefit can be derived from a simple electrical plug from your car to your garage with a BEV or PHEV. Heck, hydrogen fuel cell cars are just electric cars with a fuel cell replacing the batteries. I'll take the plug and batteries over all this crap thank you very much.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Government has always funded the basic research and infrastructure needed to kick start new industries for better (internet) or worse (interstates and urban sprawl). I fail to see how this is any different.

      Unless you would like to personally fund the infrastructure upgrades required to move to a low CO2 economy, I also fail to see how making a profit invalidates the necessity of it all. Sure there are companies who green-wash their marketing but that is more an issue of buyer beware.

      Why would those who "ride their bikes to work while they “save the earth”" be gullible and morons? The only morons are those who maintain the status quo of our consumer economy and fund the very corporations you deride.

      Unless of course you are an ignorant libertarian who thinks climate change is an elaborate financial scam...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Unless they are planning on Over-Unity operation, in the Natural Gas to Hydrogen conversion, solar to hydrogen would cost far less than the estimates above and benefit more for the buck.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Kevin: the number that can afford a $50,000 "home energy station or a half million dollar car makes for a mighty small "masses".
        • 4 Years Ago
        by Ross Bonander

        Type: Hydrogen fuel cell
        Class: SUV
        Manufacturer: Kia
        Propulsion system: Fuel cell stack with supercapacitors (110 kW motor)
        Fuel cell output: 115 kW (154 hp)
        Top Speed: 100 mph
        Zero-to-60: 12.8 seconds
        Vehicle range: 426 miles
        MPG: 54 mpg (23 kpl)
        Fuel(s): Hydrogen
        Battery system: 450 volt supercapacitor
        Tailpipe emissions: None
        Price: Starting at $27,000 (MSRP)

        furtheremore, the home station will only cost a couple of thousands after tax deductions. for the sake of our planet, unless you wanna migrate to mars, buy a fuel cell car, it's good for mankind. by the way kia will start mass production of the above by 2012. cheers!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Everybody take a break. This isn't an us against them or H2 against Electric. Facts are this Oil brings in billions of dollars a year and those companies are not going to let any technology put them out of business. Honda knows this and thats why they designed the Home energy station to use natural gas. Oil companies produce Natural gas and so they aren't threatened by this Technology. Trust me within Ten years time there will be a new a renewable way to generate large amounts of H2. Electric car lovers remember where you get that electricity it isn't all nuclear,solar, or Wind generated a large amount of oil is used to generate the electricity at your home that you use to charge your car. H2 meets the initial need and because existing vehicles can be retrofitted to use H2 this Technology is better suited to be adopted quickly by the masses. I applaud Honda for working toward making this technology available to the masses. There is still a lot of work to do.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You know, after all the debates about fuel cell technology there is one reason and one reason only why this should all be applauded. We need alternative fuels, because sooner or later the oil is going to run out.

      Personally I like the way the future looks, I only wish I could get my hands on a hydrogen car now instead of ten years time. I admire Honda for taking the bull by the horns and coming up with great ideas, I just wish America would do the same thing.

      Of all the states in America only one has got its act together and that's California. When the fuel cell cars of this world are more available that state will be ready and laughing at the rest of us.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Rumor has it that this "home energy station" would cost about $50,000 which is a lot for a cogenerating water heater. You could get a really good solar water heater and a set of solar electric panels for a fraction of the cost, and save on natural gas, too! As big as it is, it would be hard to fit into the average home, but then, the average homeowner can't afford it.

      nosmog, the anti-H2 naysayers are not as misinformed as you think. The FCX could run on electrolyzed H2, but a plug-in car would use just 1/3 the amount of electricity to drive the same distance - an important consideration for high cost solar power, and for reducing use of coal generated electricity. If you really want to reduce CO2 emissions, go electric.

      The FCX gets hybrid class mileage because it is a hybrid - it has a battery pack essential for improving both economy and performance.

      Changing any car to run on natural gas instead of gasoline would reduce CO2 emissions, so it isn't suprising that a hybrid running on natural gas could get a "50% CO2 reduction". What wasn't stated is the energy loss due to the natural gas reforming basically cancels out most of the efficiency gain of a H2 fuel cell over an IC engine.

      Yes, practicality is important, which is why I don't see H2 going anywhere. Both automotive fuel cell and automotive H2 storage tanks cost much more than automotive sized LiIon battery packs. Add in the much higher fuel cost and lack of refueling options, and it is quite clear that plug-ins are far more practical than H2 only cars. In fact, both Ford and GM are considering making their H2 cars as plug-ins, to run locally on cheaper electricity, saving that pricy H2 fuel for rare longer trips.

      Yes, the fuel cell itself is "tiny", but the H2 storage tanks are not. At 1/5th the energy per liter compared to gasoline, the tanks take up a considerable amount of space. Batteries could be smaller, and could conform to the available space in ways those high pressure tanks can't.

      Yes, H2 can be made in several different ways, but the cheapest source by far is still natural gas. That is why the biggest manufacturers of H2, who have the cheapest source of H2, and who plan to sell this expensive H2 fuel when the oil runs low is... the oil companies. Do you honestly think the general public will choose the more expensive "renewable resource made H2"? Especially when electricity is soo much less expensive, and always will be?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Peak Gas follows the Peak Oil curve pretty closely. Too bad this idea depends on natural gas suupllies
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