When it comes to clean alternatives to fuel, much of the conversation is centred around electric vehicles (EVs). Every once in awhile, hydrogen engines come up, but these are usually talked about with regards to cars or larger vehicles. Four Japanese bike makers are looking to change that, as they have announced a research partnership for developing hydrogen-powered combustion engines for motorcycles.
The research group is collectively known as the Hydrogen Small Mobility & Engine Technology (HySE), comprising of Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Yamaha. Beyond the four, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Toyota are also included as special members of the association, which has been granted approval by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Each of the four companies also have their roles within HySE quite clearly defined. As per the press release by Honda, the company will be responsible for “research on the model-based development of hydrogen-powered engines”. Suzuki, on the other hand, will be working on “element study on functionality, performance, and reliability” instead.
Yamaha will be working on the tank and refueling systems, while Kawasaki handles the auxiliary equipment for the tank and fuel supply system, as well as the equipment in between the fuel tank and injector. Both of these companies will also be doing “hands-on research using real hydrogen-powered engines on their functionality, performance and reliability”.
Among the challenges faced by those looking to make hydrogen engines for bikes is due to the fact that they are smaller, and therefore have more limited room for hydrogen fuel cell storage. Japanese online publication Kyodo News also reports that HySE is also considering installing these engines onto boats and even drones, should this research in making hydrogen engines for bikes be successful. The report also notes that while members of the association are working together for the research, the decision to make anything to be sold commercially is up to each company.
(Source: Honda, Kyodo News)
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