Honda has been engaged in numerous activities aiming to realize a low-carbon society. One of these focuses on the efficient use of electricity in the household. Anticipating a consistent increase of household energy use, Honda began to develop high-efficiency household energy supply systems, in particular the household gas engine cogeneration unit.
Conventional cogeneration systems, using gas-powered engines to generate electricity and heat to be used efficiently, were systems that reduced CO2 emissions, but could only be installed in factories and hotels due to their size.
Honda utilized its technologies developed over the years, such as compact engines and generators, to develop a cogeneration unit small enough to be installed for household use.
This enabled gas-powered electric power generation for any home, with the heat generated being used to supply hot water, realizing an eco-friendly home with lower energy costs.
In 2002, Honda announced its first-generation household cogeneration unit in 2002, which was completed as a system by teaming up with water heater manufacturers to launch household gas engine cogeneration systems. The system went on sale in 2003 through gas utility firms nationwide under the ECOWILL brand.
Now, more households in Japan are adopting household cogeneration systems, spurred in part by other systems including fuel cell-powered systems, entering the market.
Household gas engine cogeneration unit
Honda, striving to realize a low-carbon society, continues to evolve its products, including cogeneration units, to meet customer usage.
High primary energy use in the household, means low energy waste.
With thermal power generation in general, energy is lost by the time electricity reaches the household - primary energy use is said to be around 40%.
With household cogeneration, gas can be used to not only generate electricity, but to use the heat generated for hot water.
Primary energy use for first generation units was around 85%, but with third generation units, this figure increases to 92%.
Power outage autonomous operation, and load adaptive optimization control are added features.
Power outages are inconveniences in life. Honda developed autonomous start control, taking advantage of its engine cogenerators, to generate electricity even in power outages, as long as gas is available.
With the fourth generation cogenerators announced in 2015, all models feature load adaptive optimization control.
If household electricity use is between 700 and 1,000W, electric power generation is extended by the engine's load adaptive optimization functionality. This reduces the amount of grid power purchased, reducing energy costs for even households with relatively small energy use.