|Honda Begins Monitor Testing of Its Compact Home-use Cogeneration (Heat/Electricity) Unit|
|Tokyo, July 18, 2002 --- Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced today that it has entered the final phase of development of a compact, home-use cogeneration (heat/electricity) unit, scheduled to go on-sale in the current fiscal year ending March, 2003. The final phase, which started this month, involves monitor testing in average homes supplied with test units by the Osaka Gas, Toho Gas, and Saibu Gas companies.
The unit's compact design, which is small enough for home use, was achieved using an efficient layout combining the world's smallest*1 natural gas engine --- the GE160V --- developed especially for use in the cogeneration unit, with a compact, lightweight electrical generation system employing Honda's original sine wave inverter technology. Designed on the premise of ten hours of daily use in a detached, single-family dwelling, the unit has a thermal output of approx. 3kW per hour and an electrical output of 1kW per hour, achieving an overall energy efficiency of 85%.
When used in combination with a hot water and heating system designed in cooperation with city gas companies and water heater makers to utilize waste heat, the system provides the average household with a ¥40,000 annual saving on its heating and lighting expenses. It is also expected to reduce CO2 emissions by around 20%*2.
Also, with a 6,000-hour (approx. 3 years) maintenance interval, a 20,000-hour (approx. 10 years) durability rating, and a redundant electrical failure detection function, the system provides carefree reliability for home use.
Since 1953, Honda has been applying its know-how in small engine technology to develop and market power products that support a wide range of people in their daily activities. Cogeneration systems are known for their high-efficiency energy generation, and Honda has been pressing ahead to adapt the technical knowledge of small engines and generators it has accumulated through power products operations to the development of a cogeneration system that is small enough to be used in the home. The current monitor testing, to be carried out in 75 households based on the results of tests conducted in August 2001, will provide an opportunity for final technical verification, leading toward a planned release of the system through local gas companies for general home use in the current fiscal year ending March 2003.
Main features of the compact home-use cogeneration unit
Overall energy efficiency of 85%
As a result of detailed investigations into energy usage patterns in the average home, the cogeneration unit was set for a thermal output of approx. 3kW per hour (energy efficiency: 65%), while electrical output was set to 1kW per hour (energy efficiency: 20%) --- appropriate for an average household. The overall energy efficiency of 85% results in lower primary household energy consumption. At the same time, CO2 output is expected to be reduced by 20%.
GE160V --- the world's smallest reciprocating gas engine
The GE160V was specially developed for use in the home-use cogeneration unit. A three-way catalyst and oxygen feedback control are employed to reduce the quantity of NOx emissions, resulting in cleaner exhaust gas emissions than conventional domestic water heaters.
Low vibration, low noise
The generator motor doubles as the engine's starter motor, significantly reducing noise and vibration on startup. This is combined with a multi-chamber air intake silencer and high-volume air cleaner, resulting in noise levels comparable to those of the outside unit of a domestic air conditioner.
Compact and lightweight
The vertical layout combining a multi-polar alternator used in Honda inverter generators and a horizontal engine cylinder orientation results in a compact size appropriate for installation in a family dwelling.
High-quality electrical output
The cogeneration unit is equipped with a microprocessor-controlled, multi-polar sine wave inverter to ensure high-quality electrical output on par with a commercial power source, the first time this has been achieved in a unit of this class. It can be safely used even with precision equipment sensitive to fluctuations in frequency or voltage.
High-efficiency heat exchanger with integrated catalyst
In order to attain high heat-exchange efficiency, ventilation in the unit was minimized and a 2-stage construction was employed to suppress heat radiation. The catalyst and the heat exchanger were integrated to maintain the catalyst at a high temperature and facilitate heat exchange. Heat is recovered from throughout the unit to achieve a thermal efficiency of around 65%.
System Outline diagram