Honda R&D Europe (Deutschland) have today confirmed the development of a green hydrogen production facility at its base in Offenbach, Germany. This latest installation will harness surplus solar energy from photovoltaic arrays to make green hydrogen through electrolysis.
This new investment marks the latest stage in the operation’s ‘Smart Company’ concept, a testbed with the purpose to develop and test new technologies aimed at maximising the use of renewable energy.
Overview of ‘Smart Company’ concept
Honda R&D Europe (Deutschland) GmbH and the Honda Research Institute Europe GmbH inaugurated the ‘Smart Company’ concept in 2017. This special facility aims to:
The site combines a total of 749 kilowatts peak (kWp) of self-generated solar energy from multiple photovoltaic arrays, a second life battery storage unit, advanced uni-directional Honda Power Charger S+ (4G), bi-directional Honda Power Manager smart chargers, and several electric and hydrogen powered vehicles. All of which are connected to an Energy Management System developed by Honda R&D Europe (Deutschland) GmbH. The Smart Company will allow for the testing of developing technologies and systems on site.
On site ‘production’ and ‘use’ of green hydrogen
This year, Honda R&D Europe (Deutschland) GmbH and Honda Research Institute Europe GmbH will further enhance its Energy Management System to also include the production and use of green hydrogen1 whenever surplus electricity is produced from photovoltaic arrays. Instead of curtailing the renewable energy, surplus electricity is produced into green hydrogen through electrolysis.
The decentralised generation of renewable hydrogen from surplus electricity is an efficient way to directly use renewable energy in the transport sector. In addition to CO2-neutral operation of the vehicles, it also enables low hydrogen production costs. However, this potential is limited by the fluctuating availability of hydrogen and the high energy costs from the refuelling process. Honda R&D Europe (Deutschland) GmbH has therefore developed a refuelling concept for hydrogen vehicles.
The focus here is on refuelling windows, which allow hydrogen vehicles to be refuelled in a needs-based and energy-efficient manner, depending on the availability of renewable hydrogen. The resulting CO2 and cost reduction potentials ultimately represent an incentive for the use of renewable hydrogen in vehicle fleets. Honda R&D Europe (Deutschland) GmbH’s refuelling concept is funded by Electromobility program of German Federal State of Hesse (HA project no.: 1002/21-04) with a support of HA Hessen Agentur GmbH.
To verify findings and to validate the hydrogen refuelling concept, Honda R&D Europe (Deutschland) GmbH is currently installing necessary hardware including an electrolyser, a low-pressure hydrogen storage unit, compressor equipment, a high-pressure storage unit and an experimental Hydrogen Refuelling Station within its premises.
Honda R&D Europe (Deutschland) GmbH is partnering with ARTELIA, Wenger Engineering GmbH, H-TEC Systems and Noord-tec for installation of hardware allowing for flexible production and use of hydrogen. The Smart Company will be updated within the first half of 2023.
Hydrogen is positioned as a promising energy carrier due to its characteristics. It is possible to store, transport, and can refuel fast. It is globally acknowledged that green hydrogen will play a critical role in mitigating global warming.
While hydrogen has been used in industry for decades, the green hydrogen market is only emerging. Honda R&D Europe (Deutschland) GmbH’s efficient and cost-effective green hydrogen refuelling concept will be a significant development in developing the energy system combining ‘production’ and ‘use’ of green hydrogen using surplus electricity.
Honda continues to place its European business firmly at the forefront of the company’s global electrification ambitions. Honda R&D Europe (Deutschland) GmbH’s activities are positioned as a technical and economical pathway to effectively use renewable energy through its unique Energy Management System to build a new business platform to achieve Honda’s global strategy and contribute to carbon neutrality.
Honda global sustainability commitment
Honda has long recognised the potential of hydrogen and has been included in the research and development of hydrogen technology and fuel cell electric vehicles for over 30 years. The company is committed to addressing global environmental issues by striving for carbon neutrality by 2050 across all of its products and corporate activities with three pillars of initiatives – Carbon neutrality, clean energy and resource circulation. Honda will expand the use of hydrogen to various applications in the future, thereby contributing to stimulate demand for hydrogen.
Learn more about Honda’s initiatives in hydrogen here.