We've written about ITM Power and their plans to build a home hydrogen generating station several times before. The British company now has a prototype unit running in a Sheffield along with a Ford Focus that has been converted to run on hydrogen. The hydrogen generator includes an electrolyzer to produce H2 from water, and the hydrogen in the demonstration house is being used as a vehicle fuel, as well as for heating, cooling and other functions. Powering the generator is possible through the use renewable sources such as wind and solar energy. Honda is developing something along the same lines that it calls the Home Energy station
. The HES however, reforms natural gas to produce hydrogen and then uses the hydrogen both to fuel a vehicle as well as a fuel cell that provides electricity and heat to the home. ITM, for some reason, has chosen to use a hydrogen fueled internal combustion engine to drive a generator to provide electricity to the home. The losses going from renewable electricty to hydrogen and back would greatly outweigh any benefits. At least the Honda system skips the electricity-hydrogen-electricity loop. On the plus side, ITM believes it can sell its hydrogen generator for about $4,000 and hopes to produce it by the end of this year. You can check out the video report at the BBC site.