Honda reveals home electricity/heat generator

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Alice In TX/MO, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Honda Collaborates On A Hybrid For The Home
    Apr. 26--American Honda Motor Co., which has been working on hybrid cars, is collaborating on a hybrid of sorts for the home: a roughly $8,000 natural gas system that "co-generates" heat and electricity.

    For consumers willing to invest $3,000 to $4,000 more than the cost of a conventional heating system, there's a potential for savings when it comes to paying energy bills down the road, according to Climate Energy LLC of Medfield, one of Honda's partners. With the new system, called a Micro-CHP System, natural gas that homeowners buy to convert to heat creates electricity as a bonus byproduct.

    At an event set for today at the Museum of Science, Climate Energy, and Honda plan to unveil a combined heat-and-power appliance that Climate Energy claims can shave about $600 off a local consumer's annual electricity bill.

    According to the two companies, this is the first time such an appliance will be available at affordable prices to U.S. home owners.

    "This is real," said Eric Guyer, Climate Energy's chief executive.

    A pilot program is set to begin in the fall, and some time next year US consumers should be able to buy these appliances, which combine a customized heating unit with a piece of equipment about the size of a file cabinet that includes a generator powered by a Honda engine, Guyer said.

    Wade Terry, vice president of Honda Power Equipment, noted that Honda has placed roughly 15,000 similar units in Japanese homes over the last two years.

    In theory, a combined heat-and-power system could compete with systems that use solar or wind power to create energy.

    But when it comes to conservation, there is "no silver bullet," said Chad Laurent, coordinator of green energy programs for the Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance, a Boston nonprofit. Many so-called green buildings use more than one energy-saving technology, he noted.

    And anything that lessens the country's dependency on foreign oil is good, added Dick Tinsman, director of green buildings and infrastructure for the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a quasi-public agency.

    "It's a piece of the puzzle, a piece of the solution," he said of co-generation systems.

    The collaborative, which provides rebates for renewable energy systems, estimates that a solar electricity system for a home typically costs between $15,000 and $20,000. In most cases, solar panels are mounted on a home's roof, and a roof needs an unobstructed view of the sun for the system to be feasible. Only about 25 percent of Massachusetts homes are suitable for solar electricity systems, the collaborative estimates.

    But any home heated by natural gas is a potential candidate for a combined heating and power system, Guyer said.

    According to 2000 Census data, 47 percent of Massachusetts homes used either natural gas or propane. In this part of the world, solar electricity systems generate the most energy in the summer when days are long. A co-generation system, in contrast, is expected to produce the most electricity in the winter when consumers heat their homes.

    An affluent consumer who feels strongly about protecting the environment might purchase both systems in a bid to get nearly year-round efficiencies, Guyer said.

    Climate Energy is a joint venture between Yankee Scientific Inc., a research and development company in Medfield, and ECR International Inc., a company in Utica, N.Y., that manufactures home heating systems. Climate Energy assembled components of various companies such as Honda to develop the co-generation system.

    The system is Climate Energy's first product, Guyer said.
     
  2. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have been wondering about this kind of a system for years,

    a typical gasoline motor, (propane, natural gas), wasts some where in the 66% range in heat,
    lest just say you have a auto start engine (and have it attached to the thermostat), and have a good heat exchanger on the exhaust and then on the cooling system, and either store the heat in a tank for hot water or for future heat needs, and have a grid tie generator or a normal generator on the motor, that would produce electricity either back to the grid or in to a battery bank to be ran off an inverter, for no heat needed times,

    also if some thing like this was set up for emergency needs

    as so many times heat is needed at the same time as power is out,

    as far as heat out put a gas engine is almost as efficient as some of the older furnaces,
     

  3. MikeD

    MikeD Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm... I haven't taken a close look at it yet but those of us that have "ample manure supplies" might be able to buckle a system like this up to a biomass system thereby generating at least a portion of the natural gas to power the generators yes/no?

    God I hope the Farm Bill doesn't disappear under this administration until I can get everything up and running.....
     
  4. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Not gaining anything if you still have to hook to gas. My next house will have PV and wood. No gasline or electric. I have a friend who built a home and the inspector told him he wouldn't pass if it wasn't hooked to the grid and he wouldn't inspect again till it was. 4 months later the inspector was having a fit because they were living in the house. 5 years later they are still living there and still not on the grid.


    mikell
     
  5. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Few years back I ran across a book at the library that showed how to take an old car engine and make a genny out of it and how to run the radiator hoses to produce heat for the house. The genny was in an out building. Thought it was a pretty neat idea. Sorry I don't remember the name of the book. It looked like one of those self published books.
     
  6. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    Wouldn't you know it--the press release says the units will be released into the northeastern part of the United States. So much for me in Kansas.

    The unit does put out more electricity than I currently use which is a plus.

    Kind of reminds me of fuel cells becoming available to the general public. How many of you have been able to get ahold of one of those, or have even seen one for a home?
     
  7. MikeD

    MikeD Well-Known Member

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    Windy I'm up here in the northeast. Would've been at the Museum of Science if I had known about the event. I would've loved to see the units demonstrated. Do your research on them and if/when the time comes that you want one and they aren't in your neck of the woods yet give me a holler. Maybe we can work something out for procurement of a unit for you. :)
     
  8. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    Thanks, I'll sure keep that in mind. I wouldn't be surprised if they don't come with a service contract, lease or otherwise stipulation that will keep you tied to a distributor, similar to fuel cells.

    Sure would be nice to have one and I'll certainly keep your offer in mind. Thanks.
     
  9. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    I've seen a set-up written-up where someone has a small stationary steam-engine driving a generator in their home. Basement, I think, to isolate the noise. They used the wood-fire that drove the boiler for the steam-engine to provide heat for the house. Don't know how well it would work in real cold climates, but it would work in Australia. Let the fire (and the electricity) die down when everyone goes to bed.
     
  10. Unregistered

    Unregistered Well-Known Member

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    I work in a co-gen plant. With the cost of propane or natural gas it would be cheaper year round to stay hooked to the grid. If it possible in your area to combine solar or wind power during the summer and the co-gen in winter it could possibly be equal to the cost of elect. We use absorbers to provide cooling year round so have a use for the excess heat. If you do not have a use for all the excess heat the cost is high. We contract our natural gas for a 3 year period and cannot break even when selling the excess electricity to the power company.
    Maintenance is high also and has to be figured into the total cost.
    If there is no power company available it could be a life saver but will not compare in price to elect.
     
  11. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Except those of us with free gas from a gas well :D

    Sounds like this will be worth watching for when we replace our unit sometime in the future-its relatively new now. And by then maybe the price will come down.