| Tokyo, September
4, 2001 --- Honda R&D Co., Ltd. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Honda Motor
Co., Ltd.) and Stanford University in the United States have succeeded in
creating electricity-producing miniature fuel cells. Details on the results
of this joint research will be made public at the 200th meeting of the Electrochemical
Society (ECS), scheduled for September 2 - 7 in San Francisco.
The present focus of the joint Honda-Stanford research project is the development
of technologies for manufacturing fuel cell components, such as ultra-thin
gas channels created by silicon micro-machining, and electrolytic membranes
made with thin-film processing technology. Honda has not only produced the
miniature fuel cells, but has also succeeded in generating a current with
four cells connected in parallel on the same plane, instead of conventional
vertical stacking. This simplified configuration results in higher output
density and a more simplified manufacturing process than a conventional
stacked layout. It is expected to enhance the potential for mass production
and ensure a more stable product quality in micro-fuel cells.
In continuing research and development, Honda will strive to establish the
foundation of miniature fuel cell technology by 2003. Honda will also examine
the possibility of utilizing the miniature fuel cells as the next generation
of power source for the company's advanced humanoid robots and recently
announced walking assist system.
Honda has long held that the fuel cell will be the ultimate clean next-generation
power plant required to address problems such as developing alternative
fuels, reducing exhaust gas emissions, and reducing the effects of global
warming. Honda has been conducting extensive research into fuel cell vehicles
as well as the infrastructure required to supply hydrogen for these vehicles.
This includes the feasibility of a solar-powered hydrogen production and
fueling station for fuel cell vehicles.
|Miniature fuel cells flow structure
||Cell cross-section (schematic)