Honda fires up next-gen solar hydrogen station

  • 05-Feb-2010 04:08 EST
Honda solar hydrogen station - MCM size.jpg

Honda's new solar hydrogen station employs the 48-panel, 6.0-kW solar array featured on the previous-generation unit.

Ultimately intended for use as a single, integrated unit fitting in the user’s garage, Honda’s next-generation solar hydrogen station produces enough hydrogen for an 8-h overnight fill to accommodate daily commuting—based on 10,000 mi/year (16,000 km/year)—for a fuel-cell-electric vehicle. In that time the station produces 0.5 kg (1.1 lb) of hydrogen. The company put a prototype of the station into operation Jan. 27 at the Honda R&D center in Torrance, CA. The previous solar hydrogen station required both an electrolyzer and a separate compressor to create high-pressure hydrogen. The compressor was the largest and most expensive component and reduced system efficiency. By creating a new high-differential-pressure electrolyzer, Honda engineers were able to eliminate the compressor entirely—a world’s first for a home-use system, the company claims. This innovation also reduces the size of other key components to make the new station the world’s most compact system while improving system efficiency by more than 25% (value calculated based on simulations). As with the previous-generation system, hydrogen purity from the new station meets the SAE J2719 and ISO 14687 specifications.

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