Honda bailed on the Readability — its solely hydrogen-powered automobile within the U.S. — however the automaker hasn’t stop on gasoline cells.
That’s the message Honda despatched with a peculiar announcement at the moment: It’s placing some previous Readability gasoline cells again to work, combining them right into a backup energy system for its information heart simply south of Los Angeles.
That is only a “proof of idea,” Honda advised TechCrunch, but it surely goals to commercialize the tech and sees potential purposes past serving to information facilities preserve the lights on.
The used gasoline cell methods in Honda’s backup-power demonstration as soon as powered leased Clarities (through an electrochemical response that mixes hydrogen and oxygen to generate electrical energy). Honda retired these used gasoline cells for transport, however they apparently nonetheless work nicely sufficient to drive its server farm in case of an influence failure. Beforehand, Honda relied on diesel for backup energy on the facility. (Honda stated it makes use of this specific information heart to “securely preserve and entry its proprietary information,” as a result of “automotive design is information intensive.”)
It’s good to listen to that Honda discovered a use for its previous gasoline cells, however crucially, this demonstration isn’t as environmentally pleasant because it might be. The corporate advised TechCrunch that it isn’t completely utilizing inexperienced hydrogen within the pilot, which implies no less than a few of it was generated through fossil fuels.
That is the difficulty with utilizing hydrogen to generate electrical energy: Gas cells accomplish that whereas spitting out solely water and warmth as exhaust, however they’re nonetheless not directly pollutive if that hydrogen comes from soiled sources (as most hydrogen gasoline does). Correcting this calls for an entire lot extra inexperienced hydrogen manufacturing, on prime of no matter infrastructure is required to ship the hydrogen. Because of this some automakers don’t consider in the way forward for hydrogen-powered vehicles; they argue it’s merely an excessive amount of work to go that route.
However! Honda nonetheless believes in hydrogen-powered vehicles. In actual fact, this demonstration can also be type of an advert for Honda’s next-generation gasoline cells, which the corporate developed with Basic Motors.
As Honda tells it, the next-gen gasoline cell methods will energy its upcoming hydrogen-powered automobile, which is “based mostly on the Honda CR-V” and is due in 2024.
Honda additionally plans to make use of these new gasoline cell methods for backup energy because it scales the tech. Meaning this effort received’t be as round, if in any respect, when it’s commercialized. But, on the upside, Honda stated it intends to completely use inexperienced hydrogen when it commercializes the backup-power items.
Past information facilities, Honda added that it’s contemplating different purposes, together with “peak shaving.” This implies Honda thinks industrial clients might use its turbines at peak instances, when electrical energy is priciest and grids are strained.
Honda stated it goals to develop its proof of idea right into a “new enterprise mannequin.” But, the pilot can also be a handy means for the corporate to speak up its new gasoline cells. As battery-electric vehicles permeate the U.S. market, Honda has an curiosity in retaining hydrogen in headlines.