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American Honda Introduces New Micro CHP Deluxe System; More Electric Power

American Honda Motor Company, Inc. introduced its all-new Micro-sized Combined Heat and Power (MCHP) Deluxe cogeneration unit last week at the US Green Building Council’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Honda MCHP, introduced in Japan in 2003 and in the US in 2007, is a heat transfer and power generation device that provides home heating or water heating as well as electrical power for a variety of home applications. (Earlier post.)

The new Honda MCHP Deluxe system features advanced energy management technologies for home heating and power combined with a new automatic back-up power feature (a residential stand-by generator) that can provide back-up electricity in the event of a power failure.

The ultra-quiet MCHP Deluxe unit produces 3.26 kW of heat and a maximum of 1.8 kW of electric power, an improvement over Honda’s Standard MCHP system that produces a maximum of 1.2 kW of power.

When the Honda MCHP Deluxe module is paired with a furnace system such as the ECR International freewatt, the total system provides heat for the home with the added benefit of electricity production. ECR is a full-service provider of American engineered-and-manufactured hydronic and forced air products.

The freewatt system produces electric power as a byproduct of its heating function. In the freewatt application, the Honda MCHP module has provided as much as 75% of a home’s heating demand plus enough electricity to power lights, small appliances and security systems. The electric power produced by the system displaces electricity that consumers would otherwise purchase from the local electric utilities, helping homeowners save $500 to $1,000 per year on their electric bills.

In states where a net metering policy is legislated, homeowners can sell unused electric power generated by the MCHP to the public utilities in their communities, providing savings on electricity costs.

The new Honda MCHP Deluxe system incorporates a battery-back up system that includes a long-life, five-year NiMH battery for dependable starts in back-up power mode during utility power outages. The MCHP system also includes a Honda residential stand-by generator that provides back-up electricity in the event of a power failure. The generator:

  • Operates on natural gas or propane;

  • Features a DC/DC converter that detects utility power outages and provides maximum power output of 1.8 kilowatts in back up and boost modes; and

  • Incorporates sensor technology to enhance engine performance.

In relation to energy costs, test data has shown that when a Honda MCHP system is paired with a product such as ECR’s freewatt to replace a typical 80% efficiency home heating system, homeowners can realize an average of 30% in energy cost savings.

In addition, the system produces 30% less carbon dioxide to produce a given amount of heat and electricity than a conventional heating system with electricity provided from the local utility company. This allows homeowners to take an active role in the effort to reduce greenhouse gases.

The basic MCHP operation is based on early large, expensive Combined Heat & Power (CHP) technology systems designed for commercial and industrial applications. In the MCHP and MCHP Deluxe, Honda has scaled down the original footprint and refined the technology for smaller applications such as single-family residences.

The Honda MCHP Deluxe units will be sold in the United States only and will be marketed via Honda’s Power Equipment Division in Alpharetta, Georgia. More than 60,000 MCHP units have been sold globally since its introduction in 2003.


Max Reid

Natgas is meant for heating and automobiles, why should we use this for power generation.

However in countries like Japan, Korea, Russia where oil is used for power gen, they can use natgas to replace Oil.

Bike Commuter Dude

@ Max Reid

"Natgas is meant for heating and automobiles, why should we use this for power generation[?]"

I am pretty sure that the Combined Heat and Power unit produces heat (as indicated by the Heat in its name). BUT, better than just a natural gas furnace, you get free electricity whist the "furnace" runs.


I have a new jacuzzi. I was thinking of heating it with a $500 natural gas heater, which is much lower operating cost than an electric heater.

This sounds like a great alternative. I can get paid for the electrity. How much does it cost?


After flat screen TV these CHP units should be the next big thing. What surprises me is that these Honda units supply only 1.8Kw of electrical power. And that for a single family home ! Well perhaps OK for Florida, but here in the true north we are going to be needing at least 6Kw minimum unless laundry dryers and electric stoves are going to be redesigned. I will concede that at present the average continuous electrical load for a single family home is around 1kw which includes domestic hot water.... but 1.8Kw max ?

Make no mistake, this will be a heavy and politically charged issue. In another sphere, to the "authorities" this is akin to growing pot in order to bypass sanctioned drugs, the government's drugs that is, such as nicotine and alcohol.

If older posters might bear me some slack here, I think supplying some back story might be in order for younger readers who may have been inadvertantly indoctrinated by the energy companies : -

The Central Electricity Generating Boards were originally set up when coal was the main fuel. Had coal remained the only fuel there would be no story here since coal handling in the domestic scene would involve delivery/storage and preparation which is not easily automated on the small scale. Those are the reasons that precipitated the introduction of the natural gas home heating furnace around forty years ago.
However this was still the era before microprocessors, inexpensive power electronics, and the metallurgy to produce reliable reciprocating gas engines with 35% efficiency existed.

Of course if you happen to be in the power business needing to supply 5MW or more, none of these modern reciprocators will scale up well, hence the popularity of 650MW steam turbine sets. However these sets cannot average more than 31-33% efficiency since they are limited by the Rankine Steam Cycle rules. And for most of these plants, the operators have no commercial use for the 70% of low grade heat that must be dumped into cooling towers or even the local river to make the system work.

On the other hand the natural gas engines Honda has created for this domestic application have provision to use this discarded heat for residence space heating.
Take a look at the big picture. For every three units of gas purchased, the homeowner gets one unit of electricity and two units of heat energy which is usable. For every three units of gas purchased the powerplant operator gets one unit of electricity and two units of heat energy which to him is unusable.

Naturally for the operator the cost of all three units of gas must be built into the final price for which the electricity is sold. You can see the huge financial incentive for homeowners to " roll their own" and come off the grid.

It is a huge threat to the existing order since residences typically use one third of the total power consumed but are asked to bear (extorted ?) about two thirds of the total cost.

Notice that no-one minds you paying $20k to put a PV array on your roof (what I refer to as boutique energy) but this liquid cooled advanced 150cc lawnmower style of engine that Honda intends to hawk - well perhaps $2k may be at the high end. These are a whole new ball game. Install one of these and suddenly you have no electricity bill !

John Taylor

This system works and has since 2003.
Our media has been keeping it a secret for the past 5 years.

I think it about time that we all began to demand access to these technologies, and at a reasonable cost.


Not needed in in warm areas, but logically something along these lines with some form wood? of external heat engine may work in the colder climes.

In the warmer areas power up from concentrated solar thermal - the higher? electrical ouput from machines so targeted may run refrigeration or more grid.whist still leaving the hot water option viable. ala capstone, stirling or cyclone?


The old one was about $8000 according to this article:

If the new one is the same price then an electrical savings of $500 to $1000 is only worth it for the higher range of savings, and only if you're installing a new system.

Great system for off-grid to complement solar (it can run on propane) if you need the heat.


What happens to the heat in summer? Does this thing only work when you are generating winter heat and you buy electric from the grid in the summer? If so it makes the perfect complement to solar in the north.


This validates the Japanese business model that opposes the American "planned obsolescence" model. Because we trust Honda cars, we will buy anything Honda sells. Because we know GM cars are designed to break down at 80,000 miles, we would never buy a home heating system from them.

Henry Gibson

It is interesting that the Self-Powered-Furnace that has been needed for decades is finally here at a price that is rather expensive. There are many other efforts to do this or a simpler CHP unit that just only runs when the grid is running. The German steam free-piston "lion" is notable. Infinia designed sterling units are years behind schedule.

This unit cannot supply enough power to run a house hold because of its low horsepower but it can supply energy over a whole day that can equal the average use of a house; two or more units should be installed instead of a furnace and the excess power delivered to the grid could be considered in the same class as renewable or solar because the power company wastes the lost heat when it generates electricity.

Consider that you pay for the electricity, but that the heat is free because it is otherwise wasted. If there were a real concern about saving energy and keeping CO2 low these machines would be required for every new house and several of them for large houses. There will never be enough of them in the next ten years to worry about the effect on the grid, but there should be a way to pay for the power delivered to the grid to make up for the fuel and a little bit over, so that people will generate heat AND electricity with them instead of using a furnace.

For warm climates, heat can be used to cool, even solar heat. Larger Capstone turbine units sold by UTC combine heating, cooling and electricity. During peak demand periods it would good to run the machines and waste the heat to the air or a large hot water tank; this is what the power companies do anyway. A special gas price, for the machine operation only, related to the price of gas to power companies could be a good incentive. Circuits should always be arranged that if the grid fails, a limited number of circuits for some lights, furnances, refrigerators and freezers remain active. The combination of an inverter with a high speed alternator makes higher power bursts available from a smaller engine; and it may also allow time for additional machines to be brought into operation.

The electric grid may become obsolete with these and similar machines that can supply higher quality power than grid power and there is a natural gas grid. Nuclear reactors can supply energy to make liquid and gaseous fuels even from recycled CO2, But it may be best to have a buried Direct Current grid and DC to DC or AC converters. ..HG..

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