Honda Develops New Cogeneration Unit

Sales begin in US of energy-saving compact household cogeneration unit developed by Honda.

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Overview

Honda household cogeneration units enjoy international popularity and acclaim

A household gas cogeneration system is a high-efficiency, environmentally responsible heat/electricity supply system that generates electricity with a gas engine and utilizes the exhaust heat to provide hot water. Before Honda’s innovations, cogeneration systems had been implemented only in factories, hospitals and other large-scale buildings. Honda developed the world’s first cogeneration system for household use by leveraging the compact generator and engine technologies that it had been developing since its foundation.

In March 2003, Honda launched a compact household cogeneration unit that combined the world’s smallest gas engine with Honda’s original sine wave inverter technology.  The unit, paired with a water heater that uses waste heat, has been marketed by gas utilities across Japan under the ECOWILL brand and installed, as of March 31, 2011, in some 108,000 households1.

Seeking further efficiency in its popular cogeneration units, Honda launched an all-new unit, the MCHP1.0K2, in May 2011. This micro combined heat and power (MCHP) unit features Honda’s multi-link type EXlink2 engine, which has an expansion stroke that is longer than its intake stroke, resulting in a high expansion ratio for greatly increased thermal and fuel efficiency. EXlink, together with Honda's original power generation technologies, offers a power generation efficiency of 26.3%3, as compared to 22.5% for the previous model, as well as a combined power and heat generation efficiency of 92.0%4, as compared to 85.5% for the previous model, thanks to its high-efficiency heat circulation system, which thoroughly recovers the heat the engine generates.

Honda thus has been expanding its household cogeneration unit business in Japan, but has also been making efforts to establish a market presence in the U.S. and Europe.

In March 2007, Honda began retail sales of the freewatt™ household cogeneration system—which combines Honda's cogeneration units with heating units produced by ECR International, Inc.—in Massachusetts, since then expanding sales to Rhode Island and New York.

In summer 2011, Honda and Vaillant of Germany began installing their co-developed micro-cogeneration system, ecoPOWER 1.0, in Germany. In November of the same year, ecoPOWER 1.0 won first place in the "Germany's most sustainable products/services" category of the German Sustainability Award of 2011. The award recognized ecoPOWER 1.0, which produces heat and electricity with extreme efficiency, for its high economic value and environmental performance.

Through its home power generation business, which supplies such alternative and renewable energy technologies as micro-cogeneration units and thin-film solar panels, Honda strives to make low-carbon future a reality by providing the technologies to support ecologically responsible home energy generation and use.

1. Honda research
2. Short for Extended Expansion Linkage Engine and a trademark of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
3. Lower heating value (LHV) calculation
4. LHV figure calculated with MCHP1.0K2 long-life coolant temperature at 75Cº. LHV calculation.

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