On the way to climate neutrality, the Japanese car manufacturer Honda is relying on the extended use of hydrogen. Fuel cell technology is not just limited to use in cars.
Honda aims to achieve carbon neutrality for all products and corporate activities in which Honda is involved by 2050. Not only should the environmental impact of all products be reduced to zero, but that of the entire product life cycle, including corporate activities. In addition to electricity, the Japanese also see hydrogen as one of the energy carriers with great potential - especially green hydrogen, which is produced sustainably. ,
Fuel cells for everyone
Honda has chosen fuel cell technology as the heart of hydrogen use. This can be used in electric cars, but also in stationary applications, in construction machinery and in commercial vehicles. Honda has been working with General Motors on a next-generation fuel cell system since 2013. The first fuel cell model from this development is expected to be launched on the Japanese and North American markets as early as 2024.
With partner Isuzu, the first tests of a heavy-duty truck with a fuel cell drive on public roads are planned for early 2024. As early as January 2023, test drives with fuel cell commercial vehicles began together with partner Dongfeng. A 500 kW fuel cell power plant is about to start as an emergency power supply for the computer center at Honda's American headquarters in California.
In the long term, the Japanese want to reduce the cost of fuel cell technology to the level of conventional diesel engines. Already the leap from the first to the second generation reduced the costs by two thirds. Honda plans to increase sales of fuel cells to 60,000 units a year by 2030. From 2035, sales are then expected to increase to several hundred thousand units per year.
Honda is also driving research and development of hydrogen technologies for use in space. The aim is to develop a water-electrolysis cycle system that uses solar energy and water electrolysis to generate oxygen and hydrogen. There is also a fuel cell system that generates electricity and water from oxygen and hydrogen.
To improve the hydrogen infrastructure on earth, Honda is involved in numerous infrastructure projects worldwide. However, hydrogen as a fuel for combustion engines is currently not an issue at Honda.
When it comes to clean energy, Honda relies heavily on green hydrogen, which is to be used in combination with fuel cells in cars, commercial vehicles, construction machinery or stationary applications. Hydrogen as a fuel alternative for internal combustion engines is not included in Honda's plans.