More on the new Honda hydrogen-fueled vehicle
So: they’re using natural gas as the hydrogen source:
Business Week provides some new – and exciting – information about Home Energy Station that Honda is going to market alongside its new 2008 Honda FCX Clarity, a market-ready car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. BW reports the that Home Energy Station, designed to be installed outside the Clarity owner’s home and which reforms natural gas to produce hydrogen will actually produce enough hydrogen “to power both the car and the home’s energy needs at around 50% of the normal cost and with a 30% emissions reduction.”
As we wrote about recently, Honda’s Clarity is not some exotic-looking techmobile, but rather a stylish sedan that just happens to not run on a single drip of fossil fuel. I believe the Honda FCX Clarity may be a game-changer in the automotive industry.
The Honda Home Energy Station uses solar-powered though, presumably, you also connect it to the grid for cloudy days.
Initially only a limited number of these groundbreaking vehicles will be leased to Southern Californians starting during the summer of 2008, but Business Week says Honda is clearly aiming to take the Clarity to other markets too.
The Home Energy Station is part of that effort. With it, Honda is hoping to “break the catch-22 dilemma stopping motor companies from producing cars because there’s no hydrogen distribution, and stopping fuel companies from distributing hydrogen because there’s no cars that use it. To nurse consumers through the infancy of the hydrogen economy, Honda’s also attempting to decentralize the production of hydrogen.”
This is a brilliant move on Honda’s part. And it’s got a payoff beyond making it possible to operate a hydrogen fuel cell-powered Clarity. The Home Energy Station “has evolved into an energy-saving power station for the whole home,” says Business Week.
Running on a home’s existing natural gas supply, the Home Energy Station IV produces and stores hydrogen, while providing heat, hot water 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.”
The natural gas is reformed to produce hydrogen, which is then run directly through to a fuel cell stack to generate electricity for the home and enough heat to run the hot water supply. When immediate consumption is not needed, the hydrogen is refined, compressed and stored in a large tank for later use, or to fill a hydrogen car like the FCX Clarity.
BW also reveals some Clarity performance specs:
- Fuel economy that is to the approximate equivalent of 68 mpg, about 2-3 times the fuel economy of a gasoline-powered car, and about 1.5 times that of a gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle of comparable size and performance.
- Vehicle range of 270 miles.
- Powertrain nearly equivalent, in terms of volume, to a modern gas-electric hybrid powertrain.