Jan 31, 2010

Fill 'er up – in your own driveway

Honda has developed a next-generation solar-powered hydrogen fuelling station in the US that can be installed in your home - effectively removing the need for regular retail refilling stations.

The prototype is designed to refill a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in an eight-hour overnight cycle. It produces half a kilo of hydrogen in that time, which is enough to replenish the supply sufficiently enough for the average everyday commute.

One of the biggest benefits of Honda's new system is that it doesn't require the costly and bulky compressor of the previous solar hydrogen refilling station. The compressor with a high differential pressure electrolyser.

The new system can also pump energy back into the grid, allowing the owner to "sell" unused electricity to an energy supplier.

Honda says that the key to getting hydrogen stations into people's homes is to make it convenient, clean and energy efficient - the 48-panel solar powered system runs on off-peak energy and Honda says it wants to push the use of fuel cell vehicles forward.

"The combination of fuel cell electric vehicles and solar hydrogen stations could lead to the establishment of a hydrogen society based on renewable energy, resulting in a major reduction of CO2 emissions and greater energy sustainability."

According to Honda, it's all part of the plan to make hydrogen - in particular, the company's FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle - a mainstream option for the future.

"With fast fill public stations providing 5-minute fuelling time for longer trips, and the opportunity of convenient night-time slow filling at home... the Honda FCX Clarity can cover a wide range of driving demands from the daily commute to weekend trips."

The Honda FCX Clarity is currently only available in America and Japan as a lease vehicle, though it has been reported that Honda plans to offer affordable hydrogen cars to the mass market within ten years.

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