Honda announced its plans to partner with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for a joint feasibility study on a circulative renewable energy system.
While most car companies focus their efforts on creating a clean and renewable energy source for cars, SUVs, and trucks, Honda and JAXA look to pioneer a renewable energy system that can supply oxygen, hydrogen, and electricity for human outposts and rovers in space.
Both parties have signed a three-fiscal-year joint research agreement to pursue studies in achieving this goal. The results of Honda and JAXA’s combined research will be used on Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (Gateway) and on the surface of the moon.
“Based on the Japanese government's decision to participate in the Artemis program, JAXA has been working on mission development and system studies for realizing full-fledged lunar exploration. Oxygen, hydrogen, and electricity are essential to human activities in space. Realizing a circulative renewable energy system will enable us to obtain these requirements in space without relying on a resupply from Earth. This is expected to dramatically expand our activities in space. We would like to make steady progress in this study by leveraging the respective strengths of Honda and JAXA.,” said JAXA Vice President and Director General for Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate Sasaki Hiroshi.
In this joint project, Honda will be using its high differential pressure water electrolysis and fuel cell technologies. Through solar energy, it can electrolyze water which will then produce oxygen and hydrogen.
The oxygen will be used for the people manning the space outposts while the hydrogen will be used as fuel for spacecraft landing and ascending the moon. Moreover, the hydrogen produced by the high differential pressure water electrolysis system will also be used to generate electricity for the outposts and rovers on the lunar surface.
“Honda is striving to realize an enjoyable and sustainable society and to serve people worldwide with the joy of expanding their life’s potential, on the ground, in the ocean, in the skies, and in space. Through this joint research, we are taking on a challenge to utilize technologies we have amassed to date and expand the sphere of human habitation into outer space, which will expand human potential. Moreover, since the circulative renewable energy system will contribute significantly to carbon neutrality on Earth, we will refine our technologies in the ultimate environment of outer space and then feed our achievements back to earth,” said Honda R&D COO Takeshi Ikuo.
According to Honda, the results of this year's feasibility study will be reflected on and evaluated in 2022.
Many companies are now exploring the benefits of using hydrogen as a clean and renewable power source. Jaguar Land Rover had just announced a Defender-based prototype, Hyundai prepares for the global launch of its hydrogen-powered truck, and Toyota will use hydrogen to power its prototype town.
Photos from Honda