Smart Hydrogen Station (SHS)
Technology Picture Book
World’s First* Completely-packaged
Smart Hydrogen Station (SHS) 2014 model
To solve car-related environmental issues, Honda has continued to develop environmental technologies as an effective method to reduce CO2 emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. One of these technologies is the fuel cell vehicle (FCV), which only emits water.
FCVs need hydrogen to run. If it is possible to efficiently generate hydrogen using renewable energy, FCVs will become more common, and more convenient.
To this end, Honda has been involved in the research and development of technologies to “generate” hydrogen. Since 2002, Honda has been conducting proof-of-concept experiments for hydrogen generation by compact hydrogen stations, in Los Angeles, USA. Leveraging these experiences, Honda began development of a high-pressure electrolysis system that was not only compact, but more efficient in generating and storing hydrogen. In 2010, Honda began demonstration of a compact hydrogen station prototype equipped with Honda’s unique high-pressure electrolysis system, and in 2012, Honda began proof-of-concept experiments of this compact hydrogen station in Saitama Prefecture’s government office.
In 2014, Honda developed a prototype of the world’s first* completely-packaged Smart Hydrogen Station, and began operation in Saitama city and Kitakyushu city. And, in 2015, Honda’s uniquely developed high-pressure electrolysis system was named “Power Creator,” and installation and operation of the commercially available Smart Hydrogen Station (SHS) began.
The SHS is an extremely compact facility to generate, store and supply hydrogen, using only water and electricity. In the SHS, hydrogen generated by electrolysis is stored in high-pressure tanks, and is supplied to FCVs via filler nozzles.
By using electricity generated by either renewable energy, such as solar- or wind-power, or waste, CO2 emissions can be reduced even in supplying hydrogen.
The SHS allows FCVs to be used even in places without large commercial hydrogen stations.
*Honda internal research.
Power Creator: Generating High-pressure Hydrogen without a Compressor
A vital component of the SHS is the Power Creator, which generates high-pressure hydrogen without using a compressor.
Of its wide-range of original technologies, Honda focused on its electrolysis stack that generates hydrogen by applying electricity to electrolyte film. This method is suited to compact hydrogen stations, and utilizes Honda’s own fuel cell stack technologies.
How the Electrolysis Stack Generates Hydrogen by Applying Electricity to Electrolyte Film
To compress generated hydrogen, Honda first experimented with normal pressure electrolysis with mechanical compressors. In proof-of-concept experiments using solar power, high efficiency in a compact hydrogen station could not be attained, due to mechanical compressor power loss, and low electrolysis efficiency.
In 2010, Honda developed the Power Creator, a high-differential-pressure electrolyzer. By using a unique high-differential-pressure electrolysis stack, it was now possible to generate high-pressure hydrogen without using mechanical compressors, and without the associated losses, hydrogen could be efficiently generated using less energy. Additionally, the lack of a mechanical compressor realizes a more compact design, and quiet operation.
SHS: Effective for Urban and Rural Use
In Japan, commercial hydrogen stations are currently being deployed mainly in the four major metropolitan areas, aiming for 100 stations by the end of the 2016 fiscal year, 160 by 2020, and double, or 320, by 2025.
Honda, with Toyota and Nissan, is supporting hydrogen station infrastructure development by methods such as partially subsidizing operation costs of infrastructure companies.
Honda is also pushing towards the realization of a hydrogen-powered society with its SHS, to enable the use of FCVs in areas without commercial hydrogen stations.
The compact and easily installed SHS can be readily incorporated even in areas without large-scale commercial hydrogen stations, making it ideal for local governments to operate FCVs. Refueling is simple, and safe.
In addition to Honda’s Wako Headquarters, SHS is installed in Saitama City Eastern Area Environmental Center and Kitakyushu city’s Eco Town Center, pioneering the path to hydrogen generation that is locally generated and consumed, by using waste-power generation, and zero-CO2 emission by using renewable energy. A number of municipalities have commenced SHS operation since the 2015 fiscal year.
SHS, by complementing commercial hydrogen stations, can vastly expand the coverage of the hydrogen infrastructure, accelerating the realization of a hydrogen-powered society, which Honda believes is its mission.