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Honda and Mitsubishi to power data centre using recycled fuel cells

Written by Wed 3 Jan 2024

Honda, Mitsubishi, and chemical company, Tokuyama Corporation, will collaborate on a joint demonstration to power a data centre using by-product hydrogen and a stationary fuel cell power station.

The fuel cell power station is designed to repurpose fuel cell systems from fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV). Honda, Mitsubishi, and Tokuyama will explore the potential of reusing automotive fuel cell systems in stationary applications like a data centre. 

FCEVs are powered by hydrogen. They are more efficient than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles and do not create harmful exhaust pipe emissions.

The objective of the Demonstration Project is to reduce the economic burden on customers installing and operating stationary fuel cell systems. This is intended to contribute to the decarbonisation of electric power. 

The Demonstration Project is set to take place in Shunan City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. It will utilise by-product hydrogen generated through Tokuyama’s saltwater electrolysis business. This hydrogen will supply electricity to a distributed data centre operated by Mitsubishi. Power will be generated from a stationary fuel cell power station, which Honda will develop. 

The companies cited the anticipated surge in power demand for data centres and the evolving technologies necessitating extensive data processing as the cause of the project. The companies attributed this uptick to the rise of Generative AI and the adoption of automated driving systems. 

In response to the current market environment, the collaboration aims to facilitate the decarbonisation of data centres and the digital transformation of municipalities and local businesses. This will be achieved by utilising by-product hydrogen and fuel cells (FCs) to power distributed data centres.

The project members will assess the feasibility of the installation and the expansion of data centres using clean power in the regions, based on the knowledge gained from the Demonstration Project. The collaboration will also explore further business opportunities both inside and outside Japan.

The demonstration period will run from 31 March 2024 until 31 March 2026.

In October 2023, a study by Centrica Business Solutions titled ‘How to tackle risks on the path to net zero’ stated 24% of firms are already working towards implementing hydrogen solutions.

One in 10 businesses have begun developing capabilities to adopt green hydrogen in their business. Over a third of organisations say they are under increasing pressure to address environmental concerns. 

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Written by Wed 3 Jan 2024

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