October 20, 2004—Honda’s small household cogeneration unit was awarded the 2004 Prize for Natural Gas Industry Innovation (Planning, Research and Development Section) by Germany's Association for the Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Use of Energy (ASUE*1) at a ceremony held in Berlin on October 19, 2004. This is the first time the small household cogeneration unit has received an award outside of Japan.
The prize is awarded for the development of original, groundbreaking natural-gas-related technologies with outstanding development possibilities, which have made a valuable contribution to the natural gas industry. In light of the importance of energy and resource conservation and problems related to global warming, the award also recognizes technologies that have made an outstanding contribution to the reduction of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
Honda's small household cogeneration unit combines the GE160V-the world's smallest*2 natural gas engine-with an efficiently laid-out small, lightweight generation system employing Honda's unique sine-wave inverter technology to create a compact unit suitable for home use. (The dual-purpose unit realizes heat output of approximately 3kW and electrical power generation of approximately 1kW.) The unit realizes an overall energy efficiency of 85%. On this occasion, the cogeneration unit has been recognized as the world's first practical cogeneration unit for home use.
Honda small household cogeneration unit
In Japan, the cogeneration unit has been available through natural gas companies since March 2003. It is estimated that it will operate for around ten hours per day in an average Japanese single-family dwelling. Use of the unit is expected to result in approximately a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to 1kWh of electricity and 3kWh of hot water generated using thermal power generation*3and a hot-water heater*4.
|*1||ASUE: Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Sparsamen und umweltfreundlichen Energieverbrauch e. V.
|*2||Reciprocating gas engine
|*3||Estimated thermal energy demand to CO2 emission conversion rate: Interim Report of the Objectives Achievement Scenario Commission, Central Environmental Investigation Committee Global Environment Division (March, 2001)
|*4||Natural gas CO2 emission conversion rate: Natural gas company data|
Other Awards Received by the Household Cogeneration Unit
|Name of Award||Sponsor|
|2004 Grand Award for Best Technology||The Japan Gas Association|
|2003 JSME Kansai Regional Award, Technology Award||The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers|
|14th Energy Conservation Award, Energy Conservation Center President's Award||The Energy Conservation Center|
|2003 Chunichi Industrial Technology Award, Chunichi Shimbun||Chunichi Shimbun|
|Good Design Award 2003, New Territory Design Category||Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization|
Main features of the compact home-use cogeneration unit
- Overall energy efficiency of 85%
On the basis of detailed investigations into energy usage patterns in the average home, the cogeneration unit was set for a thermal output of 3kW per hour (energy efficiency: 65%), while electrical output was set to approx. 1kW per hour (energy efficiency: 20%)-appropriate for an average household. The overall energy efficiency of 85% results in lower primary household energy consumption. Also, CO2 output is expected to be reduced by 30%.
- 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 those of 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%.
|Engine||4-stroke, water-cooled, single-cylinder OHV|
|Generator||Multi-polar sine wave inverter|
|Electrical output||1kW (100/200V AC)|
|Size (W x D x H)||640mm X 380mm X 940mm|