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Despite Honda's decision to discontinue the Clarity, its only hydrogen-powered car in the U.S., the automaker has not given up on fuel cells.
Honda has announced that it will repurpose some of its old Clarity fuel cells by combining them into a backup power system for its data center located in Southern California. While Honda views this as a proof of concept, it intends to commercialize the technology and explore other potential applications. The fuel cells, which were previously used to power leased Clarities, generate electricity through an electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen.
Though Honda retired these fuel cells for transport, they are still functional enough to power the server farm in the event of a power failure. Prior to this, the company had relied on diesel for backup power. Honda plans to use the data center to securely access and maintain its proprietary data, which is critical to automotive design.
However, the company has acknowledged that the demonstration is not entirely environmentally friendly as it is not exclusively using green hydrogen. This highlights the challenges of using hydrogen to generate electricity, as fuel cells only emit water and heat as exhaust but are still indirectly pollutive if hydrogen comes from dirty sources. Nonetheless, Honda believes in hydrogen-powered cars and intends for this demonstration to also serve as an advertisement for its next-generation fuel cells, which were developed in partnership with General Motors.
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