Torrance, California – Honda has begun operation of a next-generation solar hydrogen station prototype at the Los Angeles Center of Honda R&D Americas, intended for ultimate use as a home refuelling appliance capable of an overnight refill of fuel cell electric vehicles.
Designed as a single, integrated unit to fit in a garage, the station reduces the size of the system, while producing 0.5 kilograms of hydrogen in an eight-hour overnight fill. This is enough for daily commuting with a fuel cell electric vehicle, assuming 16,000 kilometres per year.
The previous solar hydrogen station system required both an electrolyzer and a separate compressor unit to create high-pressure hydrogen. The compressor was the largest and most expensive component, and reduced the system’s efficiency. By creating a new, high differential pressure electrolyzer, Honda’s engineers were able to eliminate the compressor entirely, a world’s first for a home use system.
The 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 per cent, based on simulation calculations, compared to the solar hydrogen station system it replaces.
Compatible with a “Smart Grid” energy system, the station would enable users to refill vehicles overnight without the requirement of hydrogen storage, which would lower CO2 emissions by using less-expensive, off-peak electrical power. During daytime peak power times, the station can export renewable electricity to the grid, providing a cost benefit to the customer while remaining energy-neutral.
The home station is designed to support the needs of future owners of fuel cell electric vehicles, and also complement a public network of fast-fill hydrogen stations.