Honda R&D Americas and Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) today announced that they have begun successful operation of the second-generation Home Energy Station (HES II) located at Plug Powers corporate headquarters in Latham, New York.
HES II is the further evolution of a joint development effort by Honda and Plug Power to produce a home refueling unit that provides hydrogen from natural gas for vehicle refueling, heat for domestic hot water use and electricity for the home. Testing of the HES II system will be done in conjunction with demonstration of Hondas 2005 FCX fuel cell car on public roads in the Northeastern U.S.
The development of this new, more compact, HES II, along with the operation of the Honda FCX and Honda FC Stack in sub-zero temperatures, represent significant advancements in this industry-leading program to develop advanced, real world, fuel cell vehicle and hydrogen refueling solutions.
“Honda is taking a comprehensive approach that includes the development of both fuel cell and refueling technologies, ” said Ben Knight, Vice President Honda R&D Americas. “We feel that home refueling could play a significant role in the introduction of fuel cell technology and the development of a hydrogen refueling infrastructure.”
“We have enormous respect for Honda’s technical capabilities and are excited to be part of this collaboration,” said Dr. Roger Saillant, President and Chief Executive Officer of Plug Power. “The development of a Home Energy Station represents a significant milestone towards a hydrogen infrastructure and sustainable energy future.”
In a continuation of earlier research efforts with the first-generation HES station – located on the campus of Honda R&D Americas in Torrance, California, the HES II incorporates several subsystems which utilize Plug Powers proprietary technology. By optimizing production and storage of hydrogen for home use, the space needed for natural gas reformation and hydrogen compression is significantly reduced. Previously housed in two separate unit’s, it has now been internalized into one, a significantly smaller package that includes the natural gas reformer, hydrogen purifier, fuel cell stack, compressor, fuel storage and delivery system. This fully integrated system now provides improvements in overall operation and efficiency.
By testing the HES II in conjunction with the 2005 Honda FCX, Honda is taking another step forward in its comprehensive approach to the advancement of both the vehicle and refueling infrastructure components of a hydrogen-based transportation system. Honda began the demonstration of its 2005 FCX with the Honda FC Stack on public roads in the Northeast in September of this year.
The 2005 FCX, the world’s most advanced fuel cell vehicle, is the first production fuel cell vehicle to be powered by Hondas own unique fuel cell stack (Honda FC Stack) with the ability to start and operate in below-freezing temperatures, a significant breakthrough in fuel cell vehicle technology.
The FCX is the first and only fuel cell vehicle to receive certification from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) and in December 2002 became the first fuel cell car leased for everyday commercial use.