Tuesday October 7, 2003 Honda has established an experimental Home Energy Station (HES) that generates hydrogen from natural gas for use in fuel cell vehicles and can also supply electricity and hot water to the home. Part of ongoing research by Honda into hydrogen energy sources, the new system can currently produce enough hydrogen to refill the tank of a Honda FCX hydrogen fuel cell vehicle taking just a few minutes once a day.
Located on the grounds of Honda R&D Americas in Torrance, California, the HES system will undergo experiments in hydrogen production, storage and fuelling. It consists of a reformer to extract hydrogen from natural gas, a refiner to purify the hydrogen, a compressor and a high-pressure tank to store the pressurized hydrogen and a fuel cell unit that provides power for the overall system using some of the extracted hydrogen.
The experimental unit produces hydrogen at a rate of up to 2Nm3/hour (purity of 99.99% or higher) and has a storage capacity 400 litres @ 420 atmospheres.
Honda is also applying newly developed solar panel technology to its hydrogen-refuelling R&D by using the energy generated by the panels mounted on the re-fuelling station to improve its overall efficiency.