|The freewatt system. Click to enlarge.|
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and Climate Energy, LLC have begun retail sales of freewatt, their collaborative Micro-sized Combined Heat and Power (Micro-CHP) cogeneration system for homes.
The freewatt Micro-CHP system consists of an MCHP cogeneration unit developed by Honda paired with a furnace or boiler produced by Climate Energy. The ultra-quiet MCHP unit—based on Honda’s GE160EV natural gas engine—produces 3.26 kW of heat and 1.2 kW of electric power.
In relation to energy costs, Climate Energy test data has shown that when the freewatt Micro-CHP system replaces a typical 80% efficiency home heating system, homeowners can realize an average of 30% in energy cost savings.
The electric power produced displaces electricity that consumers would otherwise purchase from the local electric utility, saving $500 to $1000 per year on their electric bill. An additional financial savings benefit of utilizing the freewatt system is realized through the process of net metering. In states where legislated, net metering allows homeowners to sell unused electric power back to the power grid in their community, providing additional savings.
The system produces 30% less carbon dioxide emissions than a conventional heating system with electricity provided from the grid, according to Honda.
Initial sales of the heat and power units will be targeted at customers living in the Northeastern United States in conjunction with select local utility providers. The geo-targeting is due to the cold climate and high heating demand in the region which allows the system to provide the greatest benefit. The freewatt Micro-CHP systems will only be available through certified, trained, and authorized Climate Energy installation professionals.
Climate Energy and Honda plan to gradually expand production and sales of the freewatt Micro-CHP system and plan to introduce the system to other cold weather climates in the US in the future. The units will be assembled domestically in the United States with components supplied by both companies. Currently, a similar version of an MCHP system is retailed in Japan, with more than 45,000 units sold to date since its introduction in 2003.