Honda is showcasing a prototype of its next-generation Hydrogen Fuel Cell Stack Module at the 2023 European Hydrogen Week as the latest demonstration of its pledge to achieving carbon neutrality across all global operations by 2050.
On display at the Brussels Expo from 20-23 November, the compact, yet powerful concept has been designed to offer exceptional durability and versatility across a variety of uses – including within fuel cell electric (FCEV) and commercial vehicles, construction machinery, and in stationary power generation. Honda offers a vision of collaborating with business and technology partners to expand applications of the fuel cell system and encourages all potential collaboration partners to visit stand I90 in Hall 7 during the Hydrogen Week Expo.
Honda is currently working with a number of companies, who are developing products in the outlined application areas, to aide with the packaging phase and integration of the fuel cell system in development programmes. This is in anticipation of commercial sales of the fuel cell system commencing by the mid-2020’s.
“After over 30 years at the forefront of hydrogen fuel cell development, we believe demand for the technology will soon reach the critical mass required for full commercial deployment,” Ingo Nyhues, Deputy General Manager, Europe Business Planning & Development, Honda Motor Europe, said.
“The characteristics of our next-generation fuel cell stack prototype are ideal for meeting the pressing needs of several industries seeking a rapid transition to zero emissions power sources. It is a highly versatile unit thanks to its compact dimensions, powerful output, outstanding durability, and ability to provide quick startup times – even in low temperature environments. The expertise we have garnered over three decades of Hydrogen R&D and commercialization of FCEV’s gives us a perfect foundation to apply our technologies to these new sectors in Europe, and ultimately support the region’s net zero ambitions.”
Considering the unique characteristics of hydrogen, the fuel cell system is expected to be particularly effective as a power source for heavily used large-size mobility products and large-scales infrastructure, as well as for mobility products that require quick refuelling where it is difficult to be powered by batteries. Based on these characteristics, Honda has identified four core domains for the utilisation of its fuel cell system in across both transportation and industry sectors.
FCEVs and commercial vehicles
Honda is planning to begins sales of the all-new CR-V FCEV model in North American and Japan in 2024.
Honda will invest significantly in the development of clean, low-noise, low-vibration fuel cell- solutions for heavy-duty commercial vehicle applications. This expansion is a response to the pressing need of the global haulage, freight, and logistics sectors to find sustainable powertrain technologies capable of transporting heavy cargo over long distances.
In May this year, Honda Motor and Isuzu Motors began the joint testing and development of a next-generation fuel cell system powered commercial heavy duty truck. The two companies are currently planning to start demonstration testing of a prototype model on public roads before the end of the current fiscal year (ending March 31, 2024) and intend to introduce a production model to the market in 2027 by fully leveraging the technology, experience and knowledge gained through the joint research.
Stationary power generation
The power requirements of data centres have grown rapidly with the expansion of cloud computing and large data processing, while the demand for backup power sources has also
increased as companies implement more robust business continuity planning (BCP). To meet these needs, Honda is aiming to apply its fuel cell technology to the stationary power generation sector where it can offer a clean and quiet backup power source.
Honda will work with the construction industry to help develop hydrogen solutions for construction machinery. The company will also contribute to the development of zero emissions construction machinery by applying its fuel cell systems to excavators and wheel loaders, before exploring further opportunities in the sector.
Honda’s fuel cell technology and activities utilising hydrogen
Honda has been conducting research and development of hydrogen technologies and FCEVs for more than 30 years. In 2002 it launched the Honda FCX – the first zero-emission FCEV on lease sale in the US and Japan. Further advancements were made with the Honda FCX Clarity, which was introduced in 2008 and the five-passenger sedan Clarity Fuel Cell in 2016, which could both offer the same performance as conventional vehicles.
The breath of Honda’s hydrogen activities extends beyond its products. In Europe, Honda R&D Europe (Deutschland) have established a green hydrogen production facility at its base in Offenbach, Germany to broadening the scope into the area of energy management. This latest installation will harness surplus solar energy from photovoltaic arrays to make green hydrogen through electrolysis.
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