Yamaha Motor, Honda Motor, Kawasaki Motors and Suzuki Motor received approval from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to form a technological research association called HySE (Hydrogen Small mobility & Engine technology) for developing hydrogen-powered engines for small mobility.
Small mobility vehicles include motorcycles, Japan-originated mini-vehicles, small marine vessels, construction equipment, drones, and so on.
The partners said that to realize a decarbonized society, a multi-pathway strategy to address various issues in the mobility sector is necessary, rather than focusing on a single energy source. Against this backdrop, research and development targeted at commercialization of mobility with engines powered by hydrogen is gaining momentum.
However, the use of hydrogen poses technical challenges, including fast flame speed and a large region of ignition, which often result in unstable combustion, and the limited fuel tank capacity in case of use in small mobility vehicles.
In addressing these issues, the members of HySE are committed to conducting fundamental research, capitalizing on their wealth of expertise and technologies in developing gasoline-powered engines, and aim to work together with the joint mission of establishing a design standard for small mobility’s hydrogen-powered engine, and of advancing the fundamental research endeavors in this area.
The members of HySE will continue to deepen their collaborative relations in order to provide a variety of small mobility options to users and meet their diverse needs.
Main research and development areas, and the role of each company, include:
Research on hydrogen-powered engines. Honda will be responsible for research on the model-based development of hydrogen-powered engines; Suzuki will perform finite element analysis studying the functionality, performance, and reliability of the hydrogen-powered engines. Yamaha Motor and Kawasaki Motors will perform hands-on research using actual hydrogen-powered engines on their functionality, performance, and reliability.
Hydrogen refueling. Yamaha will study the requirements for a hydrogen refueling system and hydrogen tanks for small mobility.
Fuel supply system. Kawasaki will study the auxiliary equipment required for a fuel supply system and tanks, and the equipment installed between the fuel tank and the injector.
In addition to the full members (the four motorcycle manufacturers), Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Toyota Motor support the association as special members.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, being one of the main organizers of the “CO2-free Hydrogen Energy Supply-chain Technology Research Association” (HySTRA), will drive forward HySE’s activities, based on the knowledge gained from its activities for HySTRA. Toyota, on the other hand, will assume the role of leveraging HySE’s research results to the maximum benefit for the development of hydrogen-powered engines, utilizing its know-how on experiments, analyses, and the designing of large hydrogen-fueled power units for four-wheel vehicles.