Honda continuously develops a wide range of power products that make work easier and everyday life more comfortable. Based on this goal, Honda began developing technologies to help people use energy in the home more efficiently. High-efficiency household energy products have become an important part of people’s daily lives, helping them cope with the increasing utility costs to power their home. One such product is the Honda Household Gas Engine Cogeneration Unit.
From a single primary energy source—natural gas or LPG—the cogeneration system produces two forms of energy—electricity and heat—with exceptional efficiency. As compared to using electricity generated via thermal power generation and a water heater burning natural gas, a family using the Honda household cogeneration system can significantly reduce their energy expense as well as reduce CO2 emissions.
However, until Honda developed the technology to make cogeneration units compact, they were extremely large and suitable only for factories, hotels and other commercial installations. The technologies Honda derived from decades of developing compact engines and generators made possible the creation of compact cogeneration systems for the home. Honda cogeneration units burn natural gas to generate electricity, at the same time making efficient use of the heat energy produced by combustion. As a result, families can realize significant savings on home power and heating expenses.
Household Gas engine cogeneration system (Japan specification)
After announcing the development of its first-generation household cogeneration unit in 2002, Honda teamed up with water heater manufacturers to launch household gas engine cogeneration systems in Japan in 2003. Since that time, systems have been sold through gas utilities around the country under the ECOWILL brand. Today, more and more households in Japan are adopting cogeneration systems, and a variety of systems, including those based on fuel cell technology, have also entered the market, giving families more options than ever before.
One advantage of Honda’s household gas engine cogeneration unit is its ability to be used in a wide range of regions, climates and homes. For this reason, Honda has begun marketing the new, second-generation unit outside Japan, teaming up with water heater manufacturers to develop cogeneration systems. In the US, Honda partnered with ECR International to develop the freewatt™ system. Sales of this system began in 2007 in the cold Northeastern states. In Germany, Honda partnered with Vaillant to develop the ecoPOWER 1.0 system, which went on sale in 2011.
Honda is continuously enhancing the efficiency of its cogeneration units. The first-generation unit announced in 2002 offered an impressive combined power and heat efficiency of 85 percent. Honda launched the second-generation unit in 2006 and the current, third-generation unit in 2011, which increased the combined power and heat efficiency to 92 percent. In addition, as a result of further parts layout and packaging enhancements, the unit is more compact than ever. The launch of this advanced third-generation unit is underway, with Japan and Germany as the first two markets.