Honda’s ageing hydrogen gasoline cells get new life in knowledge middle

Honda bailed on the Readability — its solely hydrogen-powered automobile within the U.S. — however the automaker hasn’t give up on gasoline cells.

That’s the message Honda despatched with a peculiar announcement in the present day: It’s placing some previous Readability gasoline cells again to work, combining them right into a backup energy system for its knowledge middle simply south of Los Angeles.

That is only a “proof of idea,” Honda advised, but it surely goals to commercialize the tech and sees potential purposes past serving to knowledge facilities maintain the lights on.

The used gasoline cell techniques 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 effectively 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 explicit knowledge middle to “securely preserve and entry its proprietary knowledge,” as a result of “automotive design is knowledge 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 could possibly be. The corporate advised that it isn’t completely utilizing inexperienced hydrogen within the pilot, which suggests a minimum of a few of it was generated through fossil fuels.

That is the difficulty with utilizing hydrogen to generate electrical energy: Gasoline 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 a complete lot extra inexperienced hydrogen manufacturing, on prime of no matter infrastructure is required to ship the hydrogen. That is why some automakers don’t consider in the way forward for hydrogen-powered automobiles; they argue it’s merely an excessive amount of work to go that route.

However! Honda nonetheless believes in hydrogen-powered automobiles. In actual fact, this demonstration can be form of an advert for Honda’s next-generation gasoline cells, which the corporate developed with Common Motors.

As Honda tells it, the next-gen gasoline cell techniques will energy its upcoming hydrogen-powered automobile, which is “primarily based on the Honda CR-V” and is due in 2024.

Honda additionally plans to make use of these new gasoline cell techniques for backup energy because it scales the tech. Meaning this effort gained’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 models.

Past knowledge facilities, Honda added that it’s contemplating different purposes, together with “peak shaving.” This implies Honda thinks industrial clients might use its mills 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 be a handy manner for the corporate to speak up its new gasoline cells. As battery-electric automobiles permeate the U.S. market, Honda has an curiosity in conserving hydrogen in headlines.

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