Honda is showcasing a prototype of its next-generation Hydrogen Fuel Cell System Module, jointly developed with GM, at the 2023 European Hydrogen Week as a further demonstration of the steps being taken to achieve carbon neutrality across all global operations by 2050.
On display at the Brussels Expo from 20-24 November, the compact, powerful system has been designed to offer exceptional durability and versatility across a variety of uses—including within fuel cell vehicles (FCEV), commercial vehicles, construction machinery, and in stationary power stations.
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 programs. This is in anticipation of commercial sales of the fuel cell system commencing by the mid-2020s.
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.
The characteristics of our next-generation fuel cell system 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 research and development gives us a perfect foundation to apply our technologies to these new sectors in Europe, and ultimately support the region’s net zero ambitions.—Ingo Nyhues, Deputy General Manager, Europe Business Planning & Development, Honda Motor Europe
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 utilization 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 also 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, Isuzu Motors appointed Honda Motor as a fuel cell system development and supply partner for the commercial launch of heavy-duty trucks. 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 31 March 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 stations. The power requirements of data centers 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 static power generation sector where it can offer a clean and quiet backup power source.
Construction machinery. 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 utilizing 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) has 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.