Honda’s Zero Emission Stationary Fuel Cell Backing Up Power to Data Center

Highlights :

  • Honda’s Stationary fuel cell (FC) on the American Honda campus is the first step toward the future commercialization of zero-emission backup power generation
  • Honda is advancing hydrogen fuel cells to provide clean, safe, and secure energy toward its global goal of carbon neutrality for all products and corporate activities by 2050

Honda’s Zero Emission Stationary Fuel Cell Backing Up Power to Data Center

Honda has announced that it has begun the operation of a stationary fuel cell power station – leveraging Honda’s hydrogen fuel cell technology expertise – on its corporate campus in Torrance, California on March 6, 2023. This would mark the beginning of the company’s future commercialization of zero-emission backup power generation. The initiative is a milestone in the company’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality for all products and corporate activities by 2050.

The demonstration program is now providing emergency backup power to the data centre on the campus of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Honda is looking to further leverage the technology in the near future and begin applying a next-generation stationary fuel cell system each to the company’s manufacturing facilities and data centres globally.

“By installing and utilizing our core technology, the fuel cell system, in various applications such as stationary power generation, Honda aims to stimulate hydrogen usage and provide clean energy for potential commercial customers,” said Koji Moriyama, project lead of the stationary fuel cell and principal engineer with American Honda R&D Business Unit.

Next-Gen Fuel Cell System

Honda’s demo stationary fuel cell unit has a capacity of approximately 500 kW and reuses the fuel cell systems of previously leased Honda Clarity Fuel Cell vehicles, with a design that allows the output to increase every 250 kW packaged with four fuel cells.

The future adjustments have also been taken care of. It features the flexibility to change the layout of the fuel cell units to suit the installation environment and to accommodate cubic, L-shaped, Z-shaped, and other packaging configurations.

Honda suggests that the future stationary FC units intended for commercialization will utilize the next-generation FC system jointly developed with General Motors. The system will also power the all-new fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) based on the Honda CR-V coming in 2024.

Resource Circulation

The feature of reusing the fuel cell systems will help Honda realise its goal of a circular/resource-recycling society. It is based on Honda’s Triple Zero approach, which consists of three focus areas – carbon neutrality, clean energy, and resource circulation. Honda aims to create a closed-loop circular economy that maximizes the useful life of materials in Honda products. The development of recovery systems to recapture materials of its products will aid Honda’s desire for a circular economy.

Utility of Hydrogen Fuel Cells as Backup Power

Data centres require high-quality and reliable power, where any disruption in the power supply can lead to downtime or problems such as data corruption and damage to servers. Generally, stationary backup generators rely on diesel fuel, resulting in higher carbon emissions and local air pollutants. Backup power systems utilizing hydrogen fuel cells offer a promising future for clean, yet reliable and high-quality power generation, especially when hydrogen is green hydrogen obtained with the help of renewable energy.

Hydrogen is one of the most sought-after fuels of the future. Honda is hoping to expand on the hydrogen sector and has recently been taking a proactive approach to increasing the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier. The firm also aims to make battery-electric and fuel-cell electric vehicles represent 100 per cent of auto sales in the US and globally by 2040. On this front, the firm announced last year that starting in 2024 it would produce an all-new hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) based on the recently launched, all-new Honda CR-V at its Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio. In addition, the company will continue to focus on business development in the domains of commercial vehicles and construction equipment.

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Junaid Shah

Junaid holds a Master of Engineering degree in Construction & Management. Being a civil engineering postgraduate and using his technical prowess, he has channeled his passion for writing in the environmental niche.