In 2002, Honda developed the world’s first*1 household gas engine cogeneration unit with the objective of improving the quality of living. This household gas cogeneration unit utilizes compact engine technology nurtured over the years and unique sine wave inverter power generation technology to generate electricity with the gas engine and simultaneously recover waste heat, providing homes with hot water and heat. The household cogeneration system released in 2003, combined with hot water and heating unit has been sold under the ECOWILL brand by various gas companies and installed in a total of 131,000 homes*2.
The generation unit provided with an autonomous operation function can be used to supply electricity in the event of a power failure or emergency to power TVs and PCs so that information can be collected and shared, power lights during the night, as well as provide hot water for bathing and floor heating. The EXlink engine and unique generator technology have achieved power generation efficiency of 26.3%*3 In addition, exhaustive efforts to recover heat with the high-efficiency heat recovery system have achieved primary energy usage efficiency of 92.0%*4. This superior energy efficiency reduces yearly heating and electricity expenses by approximately \50,000*5 compared to conventional thermal power generation with hot water and heating system provided by city gas. In addition to superior economy, this compact household gas engine cogeneration system reduces CO2 emissions by 39%*6, minimizing the impact on the environment.
In the summer of 2011, sales of the ecoPOWER 1.0 household compact cogeneration system began. This system was jointly developed with Vaillant, a company in Germany that specializes in the manufacture of boilers and heating systems.The ecoPOWER 1.0 system uses the MCHP1.0K2 as the core unit and combines it with a heating/hot water unit made by Vaillant. It generates 1kW of electricity and 2.5kW of heat, and can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as approximately 50% *7 The German government is promoting the popularization of cogeneration systems based on the CHP *8 (cogeneration) Act that was enacted in January 2009. When customers purchase a cogeneration system, they get an exemption for tax on electricity, support in the form of power purchased by the power company, and other types of assistance. Currently, compact cogeneration systems are mainly used by small scale commercial facilities such as restaurants and hotels. It is expected that a compact system smaller than the 1kW class will be sold to ordinary households in the future.
The household gas engine cogeneration unit incorporates the EXlink *9 multi-link type high expansion ratio engine which has an expansion process that is longer than the intake process, and this generates output. Engine displacement is 163cm3, whereas the intake volume is only 110cm3. A small volume of fuel and air is compressed and burned, and this expands into a much larger volume, maximizing combustion energy, and achieves fuel consumption that is approximately 15% lower than a conventional unit.Furthermore, parts in the intake system can be made smaller in this high expansion ratio engine, and a vertical layout has been adopted, enabling the unit to be made lighter and more compact.