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Honda Introduces Third Generation of Home Heating, Power and Hydrogen System

The more compact HES III

Honda has officially introduced its third generation of a home combined heating, power and hydrogen system, the Home Energy Station III, in the US in conjunction with its partner Plug Power.

Honda had previewed the HES III system at the Tokyo Motor show in October, along with the introduction of its new FCX fuel cell prototype. (Earlier post.)

Located for testing at the company’s North American headquarters in Torrance, California, HES III is 30% more compact and delivers 25% more electrical power than previous Home Energy Station models. (Earlier post.)

HES System

Like its predecessors, HES III uses natural gas as its feedstock, and is designed to work in a home-based refueling environment. It is able to supply a sufficient amount of hydrogen to power a fuel cell vehicle for daily operation while providing 5 kW of electricity for a household.

Hydrogen storage and production capacity are both improved by about 50% percent with the use of a new, higher-performance, natural gas reformer.

The initial version of the HES, shown in October 2003, produced hydrogen at a maximum rate of 2 normal cubic meters per hour (2Nm3/hour) with a purity of 99.99% or higher. The system had a storage capacity of 400 liters @ 420 atmospheres (425.6 bar or 6,172 psi).

The new output rate, approximately 3 normal cubic meters per hour, is about 40% of the rate produced by Plug Power’s larger industrial GenSite 2 Hydrogen fuel reformer.

The Home Energy Station III is also able to function as a backup power generation system during power outages by using the hydrogen in the storage tank to power the internal fuel cell, providing as much as 5 kilowatts of electrical power to the home in normal and emergency conditions.



I love this thing.

The idea of distributing power generation is wise. It will allow early adopters of fuel cell vehicles to fill up, it provides backup and supplementary power, and for somebody like me -- who's electricity power supply tends to come from oil and coal -- the ability to reduce consumption from the grid and instead use natural gas is a nice bonus.

Do we know what the efficiency of the electricity generation is? That is, how many btus make a kW or how many kWs out of a btu? I'm curious if the local power generation is cheaper than buying from the grid...


While they dont get into the details for their claim (i.e. cost of natural gas, cost electricity, cost of gasoline)...Honda claims a 50% reduction in operationg costs for the consumer.

This comes from the "earlier post"...

"The HES can produce 3 Nm3/hr of hydrogen. In addition to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by some 40%, according to Honda’s calculations, the HES system is expected to lower by 50% the total running cost of household electricity, gas and vehicle fuel"

tom deplume

3Nm3/hr?? I thought Nm was a unit of torque.


Normal cubic meters. Nm3


Why wasn't it mentioned what was going to be done with the waste, once the hydrogen is removed?


Natural gas = NH3
Therefore, the only "waste" would be nitrogen which is heavily abundant in atmosphere.


No, natural gas is mostly methane CH4, so if you are stripping hydrogen you would have carbon left over. In combustion this generally becomes CO or CO2, but without knowing how the reforming works, theres no way to know what the byproducts are of this process.


Miguel, you're thinking of ammonia. Some folks are trying to use it as a hydrogen storage medium for use in fuel cells.


What goes in comes out - mass and energy balance rules.
So yes, the carbon (almost always shifted all the way to CO2) comes out somewhere. In a normal furnace, it goes out the stack/chimney so the same would happen here.
CHP units approach 80% overall efficiency if you use all the heat from the reformer and fuel cell. The efficiency of the electric generation part is the same for all low-temperature fuel cells 50% +/-10% depending on design and operating point. In theory, there are much fewer losses moving natural gas than electrons from the source to the end-use. And with local (called Distributed Generation) power you can use the heat so the answer to "is it cheaper to buy from the grid" comes down to the capital cost of the HES. What would one pay for all the features of the HES: furnace/boiler $4k, backup power system $2k, transportation fuel $1k per year(?) and so on...
But there may be a greater motivation - complete control over fuel supply for FCV roll out. Honda can put a ZEV car and hydrogen fuel anywhere it chooses!

Andre Booth

would you please provide me with cost information. who is a local dealer in Georgia.and what kind of deal would go along with the electric car.


God willing single power sources will change the world and send us into space to take the next step.

Sue Kukasky

Could you please send me cost figures for the unit, necessary accesories, and fuel for the Dayton, Ohio area? Thank you.

steve calhoun

dear sir,

I am interested in the cost of this system also. I live in the pittsburgh area of PA. Are there zoning permits needed to own one of these systems?

Thank You, Steve Calhoun

Fred Parker

I would be interested in costs for Northern Virginia area.

Glenn Brigham

I live in Massachusetts and would like more details. Are these available for home installation? What is the cost?

Marc Wagner

I am interested in the availability of the Honda FCX (or it's 2008 production counterpart)and the HES III for my home in Indiana. Also, I am curious about the HES itself. Honda claims the FCX is a ZEV but if the HES III puts out CO2 then, as a system, there is still a net output of CO2. Am I missing something? How much improvement in overall efficiency is there? Especially when compared to electricity provided through the grid, which is generated largely by coal or natural gas fired plants.

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