Honda's Hydrogen From The Sun
TORRANCE, CALIFORNIA - Honda Motor Co. this week (January 27, 2010) released details about their prototype home solar hydrogen station for automotive applications (see photo). Honda is currently testing this solar powered home hydrogen generationÂ and vehicle refuelling system at their Torrance, California Americas R&D facility. The prototype Honda solar hydrogen generator can produce enough hydrogen gas for an averageÂ consumer'sÂ daily use requirement of a fuel cell car.
Honda Motor Co. and Daimler AG are two of the leaders in hydrogen fuel cell automotive technology employed in a production car environment, and Honda's limited production hydrogen fuel cell car,Â the 2010 Honda FCX Clarity, has remarkable zero-emissions driving capability. Honda's solar hydrogen station uses 48 solar panels to produce 6.0 kW of nominal power, and it is designed to hydrogen gas charge a car over an eight-hour period of solar availability (sunshine). The solar panels on the station are produced by Honda's wholly owned subsidiary company, Honda Soltec Co., and the panels are thin-film type using a combination of the materials copper, indium, gallium, and selenium (CIGS) to create the solar cell arrangement.
Honda says that this current generation solar hydrogen station for single car home use is about 25% more efficient than their previous multi-car solar hydrogen station prototypes. From the size of the Honda solar unit, it is clear to see that home base hydrogen generation is a distinct possibility for the near-term future and home based energy production has potential to become a consumerÂ sold product. In fact, using a home based solar generation system like this Honda systemÂ for powering a hydrogen fuel cell car creates zeroÂ emissions overall to the environment, and this aligns with future strategies for motive transportation.