Honda’s aging hydrogen fuel cells are given new life in a data center

Honda’s aging hydrogen fuel cells are given new life in a data center

Honda's aging hydrogen fuel cells are given new life in a data center

>>> DOWNLOAD MP3 <<<

Honda has ditched the Clarity – its only hydrogen car in the United States – but the automaker hasn’t given up on fuel cells.


That’s the message Honda sent with a particular announcement today: It’s putting some old Clarity fuel cells back to work, combining them into a backup power system for its data center just south of Los Angeles. .

It’s just a “proof of concept,” Honda told TechCrunch, but it aims to commercialize the technology and sees potential applications beyond helping data centers keep the lights on.

The fuel cell systems used in Honda’s emergency power demonstration once powered leased Clarities (via an electrochemical reaction that combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity). Honda retired these used fuel cells for transportation, but they apparently still work well enough to power its server farm in the event of a power outage. Previously, Honda relied on diesel for factory backup power. (Honda said it uses this particular data center to “securely maintain and access its proprietary data” because “automotive design is data-intensive.”)

It’s nice to hear that Honda has found a use for its old fuel cells, but more importantly, this demo isn’t as environmentally friendly as it could be. The company told TechCrunch that it didn’t exclusively use green hydrogen in the pilot, meaning at least some of it was generated via fossil fuels.

This is the problem with using hydrogen to generate electricity: fuel cells do this by only spitting out water and heat as the exhaust gas, but they are still indirectly polluting. if that hydrogen comes from dirty sources (like most hydrogen fuels do). To correct this, much more production of green hydrogen is needed, in addition to the infrastructure needed to supply the hydrogen. This is why some car manufacturers do not believe in the future of hydrogen cars; they argue that it’s just too much work to go that route.

But! Honda still believes in hydrogen cars. In fact, this demonstration is also a sort of advertisement for Honda’s next-generation fuel cells, which the company has developed with General Motors.

As Honda puts it, next-generation fuel cell systems will power its next hydrogen vehicle, which is “based on the Honda CR-V” and slated for release in 2024.

Honda also plans to use these new fuel cell systems for backup power as the technology scales up. That means this effort won’t be as circular, if at all, when it hits the market. Still, on the upside, Honda has said it intends to use green hydrogen exclusively when marketing backup power units.

Beyond data centers, Honda added that it is considering other applications, including “peak reduction”. This means Honda thinks industrial customers could use its generators at peak times, when electricity is most expensive and grids are stretched.

Honda said it aimed to develop its proof of concept into a “new business model”. Yet the pilot is also a convenient way for the company to talk about its new fuel cells. As battery-electric cars permeate the US market, Honda has an interest in keeping hydrogen in the headlines.


Do you find AfroNaija useful? Click here to give us five stars rating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button